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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Goth vs. Twilight

Source: Google
Brooding, gorgeous vampires. Pale, moody girls. A quiet, rainy little town. Red-eyed, evil, predatory vampires (the bad guys, of course). And motorbike riding-werewolves. Sound like the stuff of Gothy dreams? Sure. Why, then, do so many Goths loathe Stephanie Meyer's Twilight?

Twilightmania has currently got a firm hold on schoolgirls almost worldwide, with teenieboppers everywhere idolising tousle-haired Robert Pattinson and over-gelled Taylor Lautner. But Goths, for the most part, seem immune to the allure of the sparkling vampires. A friend from my old site was in fact so disgusted by the books that she burned them (a waste of money and paper, if you ask me, but heigh-ho).

I think that part of the reason that a lot of Goths are anti-Twilight - despite the cameo from Bauhaus's very own Peter Murphy in the movie Eclipse, and the supernatural romance subject matter - is the sheer media hype and the fact that Twilight has, by and large, taken over the market. Almost overnight, vampires are EVERYwhere. And Goth culture, by association, is currently 'enjoying' new status as media darling, marketing tool, and pre-teen fad.

Not to mention that, for devoted readers of Goth doyennes Poppy Z. Brite, Anne Rice and Tanith Lee (to name but three Vampire Lit Queens of the Goth subculture), the whole Twilight thing seems a little, well, sad. Vegetarian vampires that double as disco balls? Honestly, Ms. Meyer, Lestat (and Louis, my one and only fictional vampire crush *swoons* - he may be almost vegetarian, but he damn sure doesn't sparkle) would be ashamed...

Basically, the Twilight Saga has taken some of the things Goths enjoy most about vampire romance and vamp fiction in general, and trodden them underfoot. Then, to add insult to injury, a series of novels that are at best cheesy fun and at worst mediocre, have gained sudden superstardom and forced Goth into the limelight.

Incidentally, the Harry Potter series is actually reasonably popular amongst Goths (witchcraft and wizardry being ever-popular themes in dark culture) and never garnered the same level of loathing as Twilight; possibly because Potter geeks, unlike Twi-hards, have never been associated with Goth culture.

However, there are some Goths who do enjoy Twilight - me being one of them. Sure, they're not the best-written series in the world and I don't think they deserve the level of obsession and attention they have received, but I wouldn't rate them any worse than my previously-reviewed paranormal romance Vamps and the City (for example). Why so much hatred (or conversely, so much adoration) for what is basically an average vampire romance?

Whilst sparkly vampires make me wince, and I'm never going to drool over Pattinson's caveman mug, I've read the books, seen two of the movies, and have an Eclipse poster in my bedroom. I'm not obsessive about the series, but I don't despise it either, and I'm sure I'm not the only Goth who remains reasonably neutral.

Goths who like (or snarkily tolerate) the Twilight series seem generally quite amused about the whole thing; I have never met, online or otherwise, a Goth affected by Twilightmania, and Twilight tends to be treated as ironic entertainment. For example, Jillian Venters of Gothic Charm School (who falls distinctly into the 'snarkily tolerate' category) and some of her Gothy friends went on a sparkly-vampires road trip (to Forks, I am assuming), accompanied by a car full of cupcakes with bats and vampires iced on them.

So, NO to new babybats who think that Twilight is the epitome of Gothy vampire fiction. But otherwise, like it or hate it - it's just another vampire book, why all the fuss?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the fuss is over the fact that the book is quite sexist. Not that all goths are necessarily feminist, but I'm sure a lot of them probably are and therefore find it offensive.

Megan said...

I'm the same - I like the books, but don't think they're the best in the world (although definitely not the worst as well). I personally found them very enjoyable reads. I have to laugh whenever someone says they're the "worst books I've ever read!" because then I wonder, how much do they read?

Anyway, I can definitely understand why lots of people hate the books. I think a lot of it is the screaming fangirls going crazy about them. For me, I think it's fine to like anything as long as someone isn't being obnoxious/annoying about it.

OpiateVampire said...

The fact that my brother looks like Robert Pattinson (so much so that I often confuse the two in photographs), is pretty much all I immediately think of in regards to Twilight xD
I read the first and second books about 4-5 years ago before they were movies. I liked them alright, they were okay for romantic teenage fluff even if the vampires felt like an afterthought.
But then I started working at Hot Topic as the movies came out, and was constantly beset by hordes of teenage girls attacking our merch displays.
I appreciate that other, better book series have been franchised in the wake of Twilight, like TrueBlood. But, I think that people in general would have a better opinion of Twilight if the fanbase wasn't primarily irritating preteen girls.
Also, Peter Murphy's cameo wasn't even 30 seconds. I saw through 2 hours of shitty, shitty acting for that D:<

Vince said...

And it was such a good post up till the middle where you were making fun of them...why did you have to go and be neutral in the end? :P
Just kidding...
Well I totally agree that the source of the hatred lies on all those fan-girlies out there who came out of nowhere to tell us and the world that they "always" loved vampires and stuff...
I hate the fact that right now a whole new section with Vampire-wannabe books exists in a megastore at the mall,and I hate it because Vampires became popular through some half-naked-full-of-glitter-and-sensitivity hollywood stars...
I'm sure most of the true vampire fans believe Vampires are something far more "dark" and deep than that.So in the end I think it's not that vamps became popular all of a sudden but it's about the way they became popular and that the no 1 "vamp" idol out there doesn't represent what we've always thought as Vampires...
(Oh man,I wrote a whole chapter again didn't I? :P
Btw,I've only recently started to read your blog and I like it a lot, keep it up :) )

Laurel said...

I actually don't have an opinion on the books or movies, as I've never had any desire to check either one out. But the Twilightmania seems to have coincided with "edgy" fashion. And while it's frustrating from the perspective of seeing people jumping on the spooky train because it's "in"--I'm actually enjoying being able to find gothy goodies in my hometown. Not being able to see all those signs advertising the vampire craze very well has it's good side--I can totally miss it altogether, or just pretend I did. I don't think "edginess" is very popular as a fad around here, though--outside of the tweens, teens, and early twenties. Which means more goodies for me, even if it is marketed in reference to sparkly vegetarian creatures of the night. Oooh, sorry if none of that made sense. I think I need sleep.

Unlacing the Victorians said...

I think a good deal of Goth distaste for Twilight rests in this statement of yours:

"...Goth culture, by association, is currently 'enjoying' new status as media darling, marketing tool, and pre-teen fad."

I noticed this when I went home this weekend and saw the plethora of "Goth" merchandise in my 17-year-old sister's room, most of it in there with my ultra-conservative mother's blessing. This is the same woman who made distasteful faces at seeing a black rose and a painting of the creepy girl from "The Ring" adorning the walls of my twin sister's relatively preppy room.

It's actually rather grating on my nerves to see this 180 on my mother's attitude, and all because Goth now seems to be "in." It makes me want to scream: "What was wrong with it before?!" It makes me want to burn the local Twilight-merchandise-laden Hot Topic much like the Goth kids did in an episode of South Park.

But it's not unusual that preteens would latch to the Twilight idea as they have.

When I was a pre-teen (sheesh, now I sound like someone's grandmother), we were obsessed with boy bands like NSync and Backstreet Boys, probably to the chagrin of the rest of the world. Pre-teens also cause stampedes at Justin Bieber PR events. Generally speaking, pre-teens, especially the girls, get easily obsessed with certain things. Usually cute/hot guys who seem to be speaking directly to them (like a boy band singing about loving "you", the fan currently listening to this song. What pre-teen, indoctrinated with the idea of Prince Charming coming to save the princess, wouldn't latch on to the idea of hot guys, who just also happen to be supernatural creatures, are fighting over this girl, who could really be any girl out there, and would do anything to protect her at the same time?

At least, that's my philosophical two cents on the topic. Mostly Twilight annoys me because my mother is okay with Goth stye now. That's not so mature for me, but whatever.

I think the acceptance of Harry Potter over Twilight was best summed up by Stephen King:

"Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good."

Ashlee said...

I love that King quote.

There are so many things wrong with Twilight... silly preteen fangirls are the least of it's problems.

Julietslace said...

Terrible writing and terrible movie, one of the reasons I hate it is because I feel it doesn't deserve the mass fans or the fame.

ultimategothguide said...

@ Juliet - what, you don't just love the way they forget to blend Pattinson's whiteface at the neck?? >.<

ultimategothguide said...

What about THIS: http://www.drbloodsvideovault.com/2010/08/vampires-suck-2010.html

Stefanie said...

I'm like you Amy, I like the books, they're not the worst and not the best I've read but they're not bad. The storyline is reasonably interesting (although Bella obsessing over Edward gets a bit annoying at times), characters are fairly solid if not over well developed. They're just good books I like reading on occasion.

I just hate that people seem to have to either love or hate them. It doesn't seem to be acceptable to just like them.

Casting in the films could be better. Robert Pattinson while a decent actor suits geeky roles better than 'sex god' prime example being his role as Daniel in Bad Mother's Handbook http://www.katelong.co.uk/filming/daniel.jpg

I'll end the ramble now XD

Anonymous said...

If you like to read there is a good set called The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike, and a series of book (The Morganvill Vampires) and that series even hase a Goth girl called Eve in it :D xxx

ultimategothguide said...

@ Anonymous - I am not keen on Christopher Pike's books but I love the Morganvilles, I have the whole series so far XD

Maeam said...

Well, I do like Twilight...the books, that is. However, I cannot stand the movies, they have scarred me for life (and my mom seriously thinks so, too). The movies are just...horribly made, a bastardization of the books. The books, especially the last two, are VERY good. Not the "best" books in the world, nor worthy of their...frightening fangirl base, in my opinion, but still good!

I only bash the Twilight movies. Sure, even I don't like the idea of vampires...sparkling...glittering...but I still like the (last two) books and the characters. I wish the vampires were more like the vampires we all love, but...they're alright.

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

I have many, many problems with this series. It's not only badly-written, it's written so girls would be dangerously obsessed (hey, what does Bella in the book look like? You don't know? yeah). It's also the amount of emotional and mental abuse Edward hands out. "I watch you sleep" is not romantic. It really just teaches girls that if a boy obsesses over you, tries to keep you from your friends, tells you who you can and can't see, and breaks into your room while you're asleep it's not abuse, it's TrUe LoVe!!!!11111!1! Truly disgusting. the amount of times I have literally heard a thirteen-year-old say things like "he did that because he loves her! and it's true love!" No, no, that's not it at all. I had a boyfriend who did all of those above things, and do you know what? I nearly died after that. Don't confuse "true love" with abuse.

On a cheerier note, my kitten is in my lap, and he has hiccups. Oh, and his name's Archancellor M. Ridcully. That might amuse you.

Kaitllyn said...

I actually can counter your argument, at least with myself as the prime example. When these books came out, I was twelve years old. I did not start reading them until I heard about the movie and then my already vamp-obsessed friend made me read twilight and I fell insanely in love with Edward (though I'm team Jasper now, I will never agree with sparkly vamps, whilst the "fae" example in my family)and I got in actual fist-fights (which I always won of course haha you thought I didn't!) with a girl named Amy in my school about who would marry Edward. God Damned girl can have him now.

Anonymous said...

When you think about, the twilight "vampires" aren't really vampires. No blood drinking, they don't burst into flames in sunlight, they don't need to sleep in the day. Hell, going by most vampiric rules, the cullens should be long dead (again) from the sunlight and lack of bloody sustenance. They are more like vague dangerous fairies. Not dangerous enough to be scary, but enough to be sexy. Edward is just the standard "outcast, but sensitive and misunderstood" archetype, but using the already well established mythology of the vampire to stop it being more than cheap chick lit.
I apoligise for my rant, but I am at the age (13) where I still have many friends who adore the twilight saga, so I have a lot of time to grow resentment for it.

MoonfacedAsh said...

The only two characters I found interesting were Alice and Jasper. Bella however, is such a boring character. Some people I've talk to said she's such a Mary Sue.

Amanda J said...

I read the Twilight series, and honestly found it pretty dull, especially given all the hype surrounding it. Anyone checked out the 2 'Twishite' parodies? I found them to be the perfect antidote!

SodaVampire said...

I'm pretty much the same.
I think it's a poorly written and cheesy series to read for fun, but not really something to take seriously get all obsessed over.

Jessie Aaker said...

I will admit to actually liking the first Twilight book. Yes, it's as cheesy and stupid as previously stated but some part I thought were actually cute.

I just have a big, fat problem with Bella and the way she's written. I could careless if she has zero personality, is sought after by hot boys for no reason, or bland in every aspect. It's the message her character is sending that a girl isn't worth anything unless she is desirable. That unless you have a hot boyfriend to obsess over and vice versa you have no worth as a person. Meyer couldn't have described this more accurately than the beginning of the second book where Bella was practically comatose from a break up. A break up. She literally could not function without the guy. So basically girls can't of shouldn't be capable of caring on with their lives without a man? That they need a man to survive? I don't care if it was "true love" or whatever. That is unhealthy and one of the worst possible messages to send to young girls.

Missgothstarkittykat said...

I actually like twilight. A lot. I read a lot of books, ad yes, their are better books out there. [personally Morganville vampires is my fave]. I really like the films though, to an almost obssesion, and my friend, who is REALLy obsessed with vampires, worships twilight. [literally]. The sparkling bit is, of course, ridiculously awfull, but as a teen romance movie, it's pretty good. The only problem with the movies is that the acting of all bella's school friends is really crap and seems fake.

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