Friday, November 9, 2012

Vampires and the Women Who Love Them

Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love it by Tanya Erzen

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Summary: Twilight, Stephenie Meyer’s young-adult vampire romance series, has captivated women of all ages, from teenagers who swoon over the film adaptations to college-educated women who devour the novels as a guilty pleasure. All told, over 110 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide, with translations into 37 languages, and the movies are some of the highest-grossing of all time. Twilight is a bona fide cultural phenomenon that has inspired a vast and unimaginably fertile fan subculture—the “fanpire,” as the members describe it.
Just what is it about Twilight that has enchanted so many women? Tanya Erzen—herself no stranger to the allure of the series—sets out to explore the irresistible pull of Twilight by immersing herself in the vibrant and diverse world of “Twi-hards,” from Edward-addition groups and “Twi-rock” music to Cullenism, a religion based on the values of Edward’s family of vegetarian vampires. Erzen interviews hundreds of fans online and in person, attends thousand-strong conventions, and watches the film premiere of New Moon with Twilight moms in Utah. Along the way, she joins a tour bus on a pilgrimage to Twilight-inspired sites, struggles through a Bella self-defense class, and surveys the sub-universe of Twilight fan-fiction (including E. L. James’s enormously popular “Master of the Universe” story, the basis for her erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey).
Erzen also takes a deeper look at the appeal of traditional gender roles in a postfeminist era saturated with narratives of girl power. If Twilight’s fantasies of romance and power reflect the fears, insecurities, and longings of the women who love it, the fanpire itself, Erzen shows, offers a space for meaningful bonding, mutual understanding, and friendship.
Part journalistic investigation and part cultural analysis, Fanpire will appeal to obsessed fans, Twilight haters, and bemused onlookers alike.

Review: An interesting and fascinating look at the fandom of Twilight and how passion can easily turn into obsession. 

I am not a fanpire nor a plain old Twilight fan. I read the first book and thought it was ok. I am always interested in fandoms and how fans participate in their respective fandoms. There are always people who will take their fandoms too far and turn them into obsessions. Judging by the reactions of the people in this book, it seems to me that Twilight is a very slippery slope. I was glad that some people were able to recognize a potential addiction. Fandoms are supposed to be fun, not take over your entire life.

What was most fascinating about this book were the reactions to the characters, especially Bella and Edward. So many people wanted a relationship like Bella and Edward even though a lot of people acknowledge that their relationship is obsessive, abusive, and downright creepy. I personally found Bella to be a spineless Mary Sue and Edward a creepy, obsessive person. I do not want to be like Bella nor do I want a boyfriend/husband like Edward and I personally do not understand the desire. I also highly disagree with the idea of post-feminism. Women still suffer from the glass ceiling, unequal wages, and plenty of discrimination. We still are fighting for equality.


I would recommend this book to fans of Twilight, those interested in popular culture and fandoms, or for people who just want to see what all the fuss is about without reading the Twilight books.

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