It's the love that dare not speak its name: middle-aged women who are obsessed with Twilight.
Since Cougars and New Moon are the biggest stories of the year, it's no shock that there are two - count 'em, two - stories about the older Twi-hard phenom today. Cue plenty of easy cracks about hot flashes and vampire-level body temps, but really, why shouldn't they? Any phenom worth its salt by definition has cross-appeal, right? Yeah, they're tween books. But no phenomenon can run on Teen Spirit alone. That's no shock, but the shame element is new. After all, whereas Harry Potter love just involves a certain amount of geeking out, there's the whole sexual element to Twilight.
Since so many of "Twilight" fan sites were overrun with teenagers, adult women have erected their own digital havens for fans who could take only so much of the "OMG Edward's so hot!!!" reaction to "Twilight." There's Hansen's Twilight Moms Web site, which she started for married women and mothers who want to revel in their "Twilight" fandom, and sites like 49-year-old Patricia Kopicki's, which is for any adult "Twilight" fan, parent or not.
And, after all, Edward Cullen is, like, 108, anyway, right? Plus, a vampire. Plus, a fictional character. If it weren't escapism, it wouldn't work. (As one commenter sagely noted during a discussion of Star Trek, "we're not talking about Zachary Quinto. We are talking about Spock. Remember this distinction.") It's oft been said that the books appeal because they capture that feverish teen love so accurately. As this week's New York Magazine puts it, "Twilight taps into a time when passion is as much about fantasy as reality, before drunken college hookups, before booty calls, before scheduling sex into a marriage. Twilight reinvents sex for women who might have placed it at the bottom of a to-do list." And as one older fan tells CNN, "I wouldn't go back to dealing with teenage love in a million years. I'm happily married and I have a great relationship, so it's not that I feel that 'Twilight' is filling a void...the appeal is that it's very simple and pure and it outlines this love story of someone who's average and normal with this stellar, amazing person who has eyes for no one but her and could save her from anything."
It kind of makes me sad that these women have to justify loving the books, or having fantasies. I thought that was the point of fantasies. The judgey poster who New York quotes as saying "The only people obsessed with Twilight are teens and fat suburban moms from the Midwest," probably explains why a lot of people want to keep their fixation in the closet. I'm more curious about how the Twi-hard daughters feel about their crush being co-opted, but morally I don't see why anyone should care. Okay, within reason, as CNN makes clear:
But when the actors are under 18, like Taylor Lautner, the 17-year-old who plays Jacob, is, all of the women agree that a line has to be drawn on the swooning."We're very careful about that, because even to me that would feel creepy," Hansen said. "And then we have the mothers who say, 'oh my gosh he's the same age as my son!'"