We have a complicated relationship with creators and the things they create. I supposed that’s an obvious statement, but it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Mostly in terms of my own enjoyment Doctor Who and BBC’s Sherlock at a time when it seems everyone I know has abandoned them over a dislike of Stephen Moffat. Defending the positive aspects of something known for its negative is a tricky business at the best of times, but I seem to have made a habit of it. When its something a group can agree on, like the strange magnetic appeal of Twilight, then everything is fine. Going against the grain however, I find that I usually end up just holding my tongue in conversations because I don’t want to be know as that fan, or to derail the evening with an arguments and bad feelings. Sometimes its better to live and let live, even if it hurts to have opinions dismissed.
Our culture has become very ‘I am right, so you are wrong,’ and that black and white mentality seems to do nothing but harm. Being wrong is framed as a negative, and a zero-sum game. If something is ‘bad’ then you are a ‘bad’ person for enjoying it – see fast food, trashy novels, etc. But I believe you can’t be wrong about what you enjoyed. Enjoyment is separate from the quality of a thing. And to steer clear of everything problematic in media is pretty much impossible, and why would we really want to? Twilight has revolutionized the young adult genre, brought new blood to vampire fiction, and has sparked endless discussion about narrative, and about abusive relationships – a subject its audience dearly needs to learn about yet wasn’t being taught about. The world is better for Twilight existing.
An important thing I think is to know that you don’t have to defend what you don’t like. Just has having an element you like does not devalue the creator either. Orson Scott Card being an asshole does not devalue Ender’s Game and the good it has done for the individual, and Nintendo’s extensive use of the Damsel in Distress trope doesn’t make their games not-fun or lacking in other good messages.
I feel like I’m rambling now, maybe my thoughts haven’t quite come together yet? I think… I think I know what it felt like know, to be a Twilight fan back in the day. I’m sorry gals – you didn’t deserve to be shut down and devalued like that. Things could have been so much better.