You know what meme I could stand to never see again? The idea that people hate on Twilight because the fans are “overwhelmingly girls”.
I love me some good girl-oriented series. My manga shelf contains the entire eighteen-volume run of Peach Girl, a high school drama with a much-harassed heroine and a pair of prospective suitors that isn’t afraid of diving into soaring heights of melodrama. I’ve devoured Jane Austen and Kaoru Mori, I’m still keeping up with Desperate Housewives, I will sing the praises of Madeline and Dorothy and Utena, and you will take my Sailor Moon from my cold dead sparkle-strewn hands.
And there’s no question that any hint of female focus in media gets looked down on in general. The basic imbalance highlighted by the Bechdel Test shows that up in a heartbeat. Female writers routinely use, if not male pseudonyms, initials that don’t betray their gender (think K.A. Applegate, J.K. Rowling, and, yes, D.B. Ferguson). After being disappointed by the performance of The Princess and the Frog, Disney thinks part of the solution is to give their next princess movie, Tangled (a.k.a. Rapunzel), a male protagonist. I still remember that time in elementary school when my little brother made the mistake of letting his classmates know that he owned a couple of Barbies.
But here’s why I don’t like Twilight: Because it presents emotional abuse and stalking as a romantic ideal. Because of that time the clerk at the DMV asked “Hey, do you read Twilight?” after seeing that I had a completely unrelated book in my hand, as if it was the be-all and end-all of reading choices. Because I am a fan of classic vampires, and while I don’t mind reinterpreting vampires in new and overly pretty ways, this pretty sparkly version is fast becoming the first one people think of. Because the actual text of the book is so mind-numbingly boring that I couldn’t get through the first two chapters.
I recognize that a couple of these are products of hype backlash rather than flaws in the books themselves. But you will note that not one of them is even remotely similar to “girls like it, therefore it must be bad.”
…and now that’s out of my system, I think it’s about time I reread Vampire Game. It’s a shoujo manga, about a princess, with a love triangle, including a vampire. There’s also a complicated system of magic, and plenty of political intrigue among the heavily interbred ruling families of the bordering countries, and everyone has their own motives and missions to perform, and the vampire in question is currently incarnated in the body of a kitten. If that isn’t enough to entice you, I don’t know what is.