I didn't actually know about Twilight until I heard about it from the other girls in my school. I was kind of a misfit - on one hand, I had friends who were social/somewhat normal/etc. (and who told me about Twilight) and on the other, a group of friends who were self-dubbed "the art freaks." They definitely would not see Twilight. Because I worked at a pizza parlor with unpredictable hours, I couldn't go to Twilight with my "socially normal" friends. So reading Twilight became this secretive thing I would have to do on my own.
And I liked Twilight, when I got to it. I reread some scenes. I went to the bookstore as quickly as possible to get the sequels.
When I was in high school, Twilight didn't bother me. In fact, I'm pretty sure I liked the book for the same reason that many other girls did. Because I was somewhat like Bella. I was clumsy and awkward and caring and waiting for someone to see me (though I'm definitely not selfless, let's be honest. I think that made her into more of a heroic figure for me, at the time. Or at least represented an ideal for me to achieve. Because if I was more selfless, I would have let this guy go... *see below for more details*).
(Of course this doesn't mean that being like Bella is the only way to like Twilight. I mostly point this out because Bella and Edward are the reasons why I don't like Twilight as much now.)
I liked Edward. (Let's not get into the Jacob debacle, because this post is going to be long enough as it is.) It was more of what he represented that made me like him than his personality. The idea that a guy would like me no matter what I did. That he loved me for me (at the time: did not think of co-dependency etc.) -- it is romantic, and it stuck with me. I'd had an on/off relationship with a guy for almost my entirety of high school. Maybe a month before I had read Twilight, we got into a huge fight--the type that makes you not want to ever speak with that person again. And in this fight, he more or less had said that no other guy would ever like me.
No, he did not apologize. We both said some seriously ugly things to each other, but neither of us took back our words. Reading this book a month afterwards? It was a balm to those sores. And it was exciting. And it gave me hope again. Because I'd always taken it for granted that this guy who had liked me--maybe even loved me--would always do that. When he didn't, well, it broke my faith in myself. Edward and Bella--the hope of their relationship, that he could see her faults and still love--that got to me and made me hurry to finish each book.
Now that I'm in the college. Now that I've grown so much in four years. Now that I've read so, so many other books. (Before Twilight, I mostly read YA contemporary, or just novels for school. I definitely did not read as much as I do now.)
You can tell how I feel about those gender expectations. And about Edward and Bella. And about high school me, who was a lot less self-confident than I am now. And about the book, in general, as summed by another wise Christina ;). I can recognize that Stephenie Meyer did a good thing by making the stakes high in Twilight, by making their forbidden romance exciting. I can recognize that without her, YA literature wouldn't be what it is today. I can recognize the good of the novel without feeling like it's a novel that I would enjoy 100%. Because I wouldn't read it with the same enthusiasm anymore. But that doesn't mean I don't understand why others might still enjoy it.
Anyways, I wanted to put this post up because I think Twilight sometimes gets a bad rep. I think we're all afraid to discuss it in public - that talking about this book has become taboo! Which is terrible! We're censoring it, and we're bloggers! I don't know how you feel about censorship, but I don't like it. And I don't like what we've done in regards to this book, so please... Feel free to discuss it here.
I would like to open this post up for discussion about Twilight. Whether you hate it, like it, love it... what it's done for you or what you wish it had done. What you think of it. etc. etc. Your experiences.