Saturday, December 1, 2012

Twilight is to Women in Fiction as Leela is to Women in Blernsball

I adore the ladies over at The Mary Sue. A couple years ago, it quickly became my first stop for geek news, as they got all the newest info on stuff I was interested in without falling into the, er, let's say "sticky pit" of poor-man's-Kevin-Smith-style editorializing. If you get what I mean. The Mary Sue keeps it classy without losing any fun. Also: they cover basically any time a smart lady person does good. And that's always a happy thing!

This week, one of their contributors posted an essay on Twilight hate. And... had a rather valid, sensible, and good argument against hating Twilight. Yes: reasoning skills do exist on the internet!

Because I know I need to be reminded every so often that we don't need every story by a woman and with a woman lead to be a masterpiece. It would be nice- and we do need MORE masterpieces by women and about women- but we don't need Twilight to be that. As screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg pointed out, Twilight is like Transformers. Twilight is Independence Day. Twilight is Top Gun. Those films all had male leads but don't represent all men and their behaviors. Those were all very popular but were also clearly not art or masterpieces. Twilight is the same.

And, most importantly, it's popular and by a woman with a woman as the main character. Which shows naysayers that stories by women and about women are wanted and are giant cash cows- and money speaks. Which makes it so more stories of diverse quality about women by women can be made. Which is a win for everyone.

Actually, you know what the greatest analogy is? The Futurama episode called "A Leela of Her Own".

The Same. Really.

Where cyclops lady Leela becomes the first professional female Blernsball (futuristic baseball) player- not because she's good at the sport but because she's actually so terrible that she's a novelty that will bring in more money. In the end, Leela inspired other women to fight to also play professional blernsball... so that they could show that they weren't all as horrible at the game as Leela. It's a great and complicated episode. Go watch it!

At the very least, instead of wasting energy hating Twilight, we should be using that energy to create and promote books and movies that can follow in its footsteps as The Hunger Games already has done. And using our energy to make sure that all the future hits are of a quality we can be extra proud of. Creating strong and vocal fanbases so stories we DO like get sequels and films and television shows made about them.

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