I went to see "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the theater the other night. It was a pretty amazing experience. Such a quiet film, but every image resonates loudly long after you've watched. It was a respectful crowd at a major-chain theater, which is a rare and delightful thing to behold.
It also happened to be the night of the new Twilight movie premier. I arrive at the theater about 6:40 and there were already plenty of young women camped out in front. They were in pastel hoodies with mittens and Starbucks and they looked miserably gleeful. This was their night, and as I stood out front finishing my cigarette I smiled inwardly and got a little sad that I never got to experience anything like that when I was their age. That would have been a monumental event for me - nerding out with my friends (of which I had few at that age), camping out, laughing and talking about our favorite moments from books and movies. How is that not heaven?
So I stood there, and out of nowhere got very self conscious. I became very worried that someone would mistake me for a Twi-Hard. I am an almost middle aged chubby little goth girl, and after a bit of soul searching have reconciled that it was more about the combination of my age and lack of companion than a fandom association that had me staring at the concrete. But in hindsight I am still pretty ashamed of myself for being embarrassed. And one particular female is the reason why.
She walked in with a plainly handsome young man. She was old enough to know better. They walked back out immediately, and she began screeching as they walk back to a car. "OH MY GOD LOOK AT THEM! THEY ARE SO PATHETIC!" And on and on, she couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry, wondered if they had boyfriends*, and kept turning around and laughing. I totally gave her the stink eye, you guys, and immediately held my head high again. This woman was howling with laughter because a group of people enjoy something. Gross.
Twi-Hards catch an awful lot of shit. It is becoming more and more en vogue to be a nerd these days. Star Wars fans are no longer estimated to be basement dwelling virgins. Ringers are calm, languid linguists and Potterheads are just flat out awesome. But Twi-Hards are still the black sheep. Why?
I read all four Twilight books a couple years ago. I did not love them. I barely liked them, and I did not think they were well written. But I will never, as long as I live, fault someone for reading and enjoying a book. Do you know how many people I've met that literally hadn't picked up reading material that wasn't held together by staples until the Twilight Saga came along? Do you know how many girls felt like they had no one to talk to because they felt their interests were too geeky? Do you know how many adults I know who now devour books because Twilight reminded them how much they love to read? How, in the name of Jean Luc Picard, are these bad things?
I love you, Twi-Hards. I embrace you. Your cosplay may not be as ostentatious as some but you attack it with a zest equal to the dude in the full Wookie costume on a 90 degree day. Your protagonist might be a poor role model for women, but not every heroine has to be Ellen Ripley. Sometimes you just need the fairy tale, and there isn't a damn thing wrong with that.
Some of you might be calling me out here, recalling a previous entry where I had a little bit of fun at the expense of the Twilight saga. I did. But not once did I make fun of its fans. And I never will.
*Tips From Auntie Kat: Attention young nerdling boys: Ah, my sweet little awkward puppies. You wanna meet girls? Read some YA lit that features a supernatural romance or a dystopian future. When the inevitable movie is released, go with at least one of and no more than two of your friends. Ask the girl sitting next to you what part she is most excited to see on the big screen, or who her favorite character is. After the movie, ask her if she and her friends want to go to Steak and Shake. I promise, even if she says no, she will be glad you asked.