Thursday, July 4, 2013

37 Reasons why Twilight Is Better Than 50 Shades

  Yes, this is happening. The book(s) that everyone bashed for it's plotlessness, abusive relationship, one-dimensional characters, unrealized antagonist and Mary Sue-ish main characters, stupidity etc. I am now going to defend as being better than something. Oh, don't get me wrong, those are still incredibly bad books, but at least they are not 50 Shades.  Brace yourselves.

1. Twilight is unintentionally hilarious. 50 shades is either dull or aggravating.
Yes, there are boring parts in Twilight and loads and loads to get angry about, but mostly you just revel in the stupidity. 50 shades is either a snore or so bad it makes our head hurt, for trying not to explode with anger.
    ("Aren't you hungry?" he asked.
      "No," I didn't want to mention that my stomach was already full - full of butterflies." See - hilarious! It's gems like this that make Twilight worth it.

2. Twilight doesn't slut-shame.
    Bella has many problems (that Ana copies), like being a selfish, superficial, bitchy, elitist and just overall unpleasant, but at least she doesn't slut-shame -herself or others.
     Ana (and her subconscious) on the other hand is constantly blaming herself or other women for enjoying sex.

4. Ok, this one is going to hurt, but... Twilight has a somewhat, coherent, sensible, sort of threatening plot, which actually affects the characters and their relationship.
     Yes, all the plotlines in Twilight are stupid and they go away almost as quickly as they show up, but they... kind of affect the characters and their relationships.
       50 Shades on the other hand is just filled with over-the-top drama and villains that in the end don't affect Ana and Christian's relationship or affect it too little. And while some people may argue that in a romance novel the plot is the relationship; this arc is mostly filled with Christian being an abusive douchebag and Ana loathing and doubting herself. And even with all that the inner-conflict is pretty much finished by the middle of book 2, so book 3 is just over-the-top drama.

5. Stephenie Meyer doesn't hate her (good) characters.
    While Meyer may a misogynist and a racist and what-not, she's those things only subconsciously. Not that this excuses her, but she does not openly hate The Native American characters. Jacob in particular is pretty nice and likable character, when he starts out (until Meyer realized that he was much cooler than Edward and performed a character-assassination). 
    James on the other hand goes out of her way to make sure that José is stereotypically brown Hispanic, and then has him almost date-rape Ana in chapter 3, to make sure that we don't like him and he is no competition for Grey.

6. Twilight is at least based on something cool.
    Vampires and werewolves and vampire-turf wars? Awesome! Dull-ly written, but awesome.
     I am not saying that erotic romances can't be interesting, but... the way that 50 shades makes us follow every - single - little - thought that Ana has, weather it's important or not... grrrrrgh, just shoot me already!

7. Twilight has a, er... philosophy?!
     Ok, that's a stretch, but the part where Bella says 'You can't always be Superman and I - Louis Lane.' was kind of smart. Also the souls thing, that was ok, I guess.
     50 shades has 'BDSM is bad for your relationship', and that's just stupid.

8. Twilight doesn't gloss over scenes without Edward in them.
    Ok, maybe the first book does. It's a romance, they've just met, it's normal... but later on we get some really cool scenes with the werewolves and the other vampires and even a few "human" scenes. We even get Jacob as a narrator for a while and we learn more about the werewolf-pack dynamics, this was pretty cool.
      50 Shades on the other hand, feels that if Christian isn't in the picture, it's not interesting or we don't care. But actually, I spend every moment wishing he would go away.

9. Super awesome intended characterisation - Twilight haz it.
    Jacob, Carlisle, Rosalie, Aro, Jane, Leah, Sam, Renesmee, Riley, Allistair -  all these characters have either amazing backstory, or amazing character traits, or/and are forced with actual mortality or life choices. Pretty much every one of them (especially Carlisle) could've had a book written all about them - Bree actually does - and in the hands of a skilled writer... oh, the possibilities are endless. And I am hoping that if someone does do something Twilight-connected now, they'll tell us more about any of those characters (and hopefully, it won't be written by Smeyer).
    Who does 50 shades have? Tayler, I guess, but... not enough!

10 . Actual morality.
       Twilight may handle everything it talks about badly, but at least tries to actually pick up morality and teach kids a thing-or-two. I'm talking about the consciously written-in parts of the books - the ones about souls and equality and "Don't have sex or the first time, unless you really love that person" and learning to love and accept yourself and forgiveness...  Sure, it fails miserably, but at least it tries.
       What does 50 Shades teach us? BDSM is bad an abnormal, and only "vanilla" couples are ok? I am sorry, but.. no.

11. Actual tension and conflict in the relationship.
      Yeah, yeah, everyone knew that Bella will end up with Edward. But Jacob was still a very viable option, what he offered was tempting, even for her. Even she thought (though for a very short moment) that she may go for the guy that genuinely makes her happy. And the whole human/vampire thing kind of presented a problem for Bella and Edward.
       There was no such thing for Ana and Christian, being together was the only choice. He had no competition whatsoever (well, who could compete with the Alpha-est of Alpha males?!), despite the emotional connection Ana may have been sharing with José or Kate (yes, I believe Ana is lesbian-in-denial (for Kate), and Kate is at least bi-curious). It doesn't matter. Grey has looks, brains (supposedly, I never really got that impression) money and has Ana under his black-magic spell.

12. Twilight can be intentionally funny too.
      Occasionally, the books will have a joke that really works. For instance, I enjoyed the bit in book 4, where Rosalie and Jacob had the bitch-dog argument and she bent a bowl to look like a dog's bowl, but he didn't care and ate the food like a dog, even licking the bowl, just to infuriate her. That bit was funny. There were others too. Now, of course, even the ones that work are not as nearly as good  as say the intentional humor in Harry Potter, but the are not too bad.
      50 shades tries to write intentional humor, but is all either clumsy, annoying or inappropriate. Like when Ana jokes with Christian that he needs more therapy. Really, Ana? Really? Ana's inner goddess does a bunch of stuff, yey! (sounds of drowning kittens). The only good humor from those books, comes from the ridiculous writing or the re-caps other people do.

13. The Author.
      It's just so easy to make fun of Stephenie Meyer, she acts like a twelve year-old writing fan-fiction. Her refusing to accept or respond to criticism; her brother checking her email and deleting every email that doesn't praise her... and my favorite - her proudly claiming that she's done NO RESEARCH WHATSOEVER and that she DOESN'T EVEN THINK about what she's writing. :DDD
       James on the other hand claims to have done a ton of research, including people who are actually INTO BDSM telling her about it, yet she so blatantly misses the point. And with her bullshity premise (that I've already talked about)... I just pity her, honestly, I do.

14. All the jokes.
      Twilight has so much to offer us to joke about: sparkly vampires, whiny teens, the protagonist that sits back and lets her boyfriend save the day, all the "Still better love story than Twilight" jokes all the "shirtless werewolves" jokes, clumsy purple prose, Kristen Stewart's acting - it's just an endless source of humor. 50 shades, despite maybe it's hilariously misguided sex-scenes and awful writing, it only really gives us topics to rant about.

15. Villains/antagonists
      Twilight has them and they almost affect the plot and characters. 50 shades doesn't and they affect almost nothing.

16. Semi-feminism in secondary characters.
      Twilight has Rosalie, Jessica, Leah, Kate, and Jane. People hate Leah, because Smeyer presents her as  a bitch, but her only real fault is that she doesn't bent her head to the men. Anyway, all these women are interesting and a little feminist. The all face and have faced hard lives and try to overcome that. They are interesting, cool, crazy, funny and every single one would e much better protagonists than Bella.
      50 shades has Mia (Alice) who acts more like 11, than 21 and Kate who is so incredibly inconsistent, she might as well have a Multiple Personalities Disorder. All the other women in the series are either antagonists; not mentioned enough or trying to "steal" Christian from Ana.

17. Edward has other companions. Christian doesn't.
      Edward has Jasper and Emmett. True, they are more brothers than friends, but he spends time with them and seems to enjoy their company. It also makes sense for him to be kind of a loner, because - vampire - duh!
      Christian has one brother Elliot (Emmett) and he isn't very close to him at all. He has no other friends guys or girls, besides his molester Mrs. Robinson and that doesn't count. Every guy needs guy-friends and every girl needs girlfriends.

18. The dad.
      Charlie was awesome - at least in the movies.
      Ray was... in two scenes and then in a coma. Umm... relative to something, I guess?

19. The mom.
       In the movies at least, Renee might have been absent-minded and flighty, but she was also sweet and caring and sort of a hippie-bohemian, which was awesome.
       Carla is just sort of... not all there. She is also super misogynistic and when Christian shows up in Georgia, she basically tells Ana to go f*ck him, while they were spending time together (conversations that will never happen) instead of  "He followed you to Georgia without your invitation or knowledge, after you specifically told him you want time away?! Ana, honey, call the cops, call them now!"

20. No tedious email-exchanges with unnecessary subjects and long signatures in Twilight. 
     Twilight may have felt like it was happening more in the early 90s than the beginning of the 21st century, but at least it didn't treat us to incredibly long and dull email-exchanges with TO: FROM: DATE: SUBJECT:, unlike those other books.

21.  Twilight has hilarious made-up science.
      Oh, Twilight, you fail at so many things, so miserably and yet so epically... One of those things (and in my top 10) - instead of just explaining away the vampires with "It's magic!" Meyer tries to bring in biology, chemistry and physics in it, and... oh, it's glorious! Nothing like that in 50 shades!

23. "This is the skin of a killer, Bella!" *sparkles*
        Nothing, absolutely nothing in the entire universe can ever top this moment. I watched the movie again with a friend of mine sometime ago, and we both burst out in such fits of laughter on that line, we almost choked.

24. 50 shades is extremely homophobic, Twilight just pretends gays don't exist. 
      Now, I am not saying the pretending an issue doesn't exist in the grand scheme of things is ok, but a lot of YA fiction never addresses this, as if teens or tweens don't know about it, or as if they are not supposed to read about it (I'll talk about this bullshit another time, though if you want to hear my opinion, you can watch this video. It basically sums it up). Not having gays in your work is certainly better than what 50 shades does, which is:
       Addresses the fact that homosexuality and bisexuality exist, but acts like this is the worst thing you can be. "Elliot has slept with men?!Well, it's a good thing Kate doesn't know, cause that'll be a  huge deal-breaker." Or my favorite: "Christian may be a self-loathing abusive asshole, but at least he's not gay! Bleh!"

25. The end.
       Yes, Bella and Edward pretty much get a Happily Ever After, but there are a lot of other unfinished stories, other characters to care about and the treat of the Volturi in the future isn't completely eliminated. So you know Happily Ever After... until one day. :D
       50 Shades is pretty much Happily Ever After... in your abusive relationship. Pray for a zombie apocalypse, Ana - pray for it. God punishes abusers during a zombie apocalypse, as we all know. :D

26. Stephanie Meyer was passionate about her story until the end. James hated it by the time the third book came around.
       Yes, everyone agrees that Breaking Dawn was a huge epic fail, even by Twilight standards, but hey, at least Smeyer still liked the story and the characters. James hated 50 shades and everything about it at that point. Do you know what happens when you start to hate whatever you are writing? You get lazy about it and your writing starts to suck (if hers didn't before).

27. Twilight inspired literacy.
      Twilight came in the perfect time after the Harry Potter phenomenon was over and after reading so many words, teens and tweens discovered the wonder of books.
       True, after reading 50 Shades many people discovered the wonders of erotica, and that's awesome, but it can't compare to having an entire generation of literate girls (sort of).

28. Bella doesn't feel the compulsive need to always be the prettiest girl in the room.
      She may often feel bad that she isn't as pretty as the vampires, but she isn't constantly obsessed with it. Ana on the other hand has almost compulsive need to compare herself to any other woman in the room, even in a situation where people are worried/grieving and looking good isn't the first thing on their minds.

29. The play baseball in Twilight.
      This is just an incredibly hilarious scene, both in the book and the movie, not to mention that awesome Muse song "Supermassive"! And the hilarious explanation of why vampires can only play baseball in a storm. Because everybody knows how high-contact sport baseball is. :DD
      I know that's not being entirely fair to 50 shades, because there are no movies yet, but I doubt there will be a sport-related scene in there that will top the baseball scene in Twilight. Unless they added an incredibly hilarious scene of Christian playing golf with his business partners in his white-rich-man-country-club (which you just know he has a membership to) and Ana just stands aside bored. .

30. The beta-couples in Twilight are established and make sense (by Twilight-standards).
       The only reason certain characters are together in 50 Shades is because they were together in Twilight (and 50 shades was fan-fiction). We never get any insight into Mia and Ethan's relationship, for instance.

31. Edward isn't entirely unrealistic. Christian is.
     What I mean is, yeah, Edward is quite dull for someone who's spent 107 entirely in his own company - you'd think he would've developed a personality for all that time.  Yet, he is somewhat realistic - he often acts and talks out of his time; he knows a lot more than an actual 17-year-old; his reaction to his feelings for Bella make sense etc.
      Christian on the other hand left college to start a business; manages to become a billionaire in 6 years or less, yet constantly blows off work to go to a near town and stalk a girl (for days); or make scenes at his wife's work-place and then take her home; responds to personal emails instantly; goes on long vacations and all in all... never really seems to work. He's made what - three business calls in the whole trilogy so far?!  Oh, and also, 27, yet calls a 36-year-old man "a boy". I know this is from when he was supposed to be a vampire, but... no, just no.

32. Bella fights for what she wants (sort of). Ana doesn't.
      Bella wants to be a vampire and she'll do anything to get it. Yeah, it's stupid, heat-of-the-teenage-hormones-moment, misogynistic, psychotic blah-blah-blah, but at least she does it. Ana just sort of bends to Christian's will (and not in BDSM sort of way, but in abusive sort of way).

33.  Twilight at least attempts symbolism, while 50 shades completely misses the point.
       Don't really have anything to add to that, moving on:

34. Bella and Edward (sort of) share things in common. Christian and Ana, have nothing, except maybe sex.
      Bella and Edward have dull music and classic literature in common.. Ana and Christian have um... Kings of Leon?

35. Twilight had real editors. 50 shades didn't.
      Because Twilight was published through the "normal" channels, it had actual editors. I am not sure their opinions were respected enough, but I imagine it could've been a lot worse.
      Because 50 Shades was self-published first, and it made a lot of money like that this author (read her books, by the way, they are amazing) suggests  - and I agree with her - that 50 Shades did, in fact, have editors, but because it had already made a lot of money, they didn't put great bunch of effort into, well... editing it.

36. Bella actually shares a bond with the Cullens. Ana just sort of... tolerates the Greys.
      Bella actually likes the Cullens and they her, and she likes spending time with them.
      Ana never really expresses any kind of feelings towards Christian's parents and she sort of... tolerates Mia and Elliot, while she doesn't like his grandparents at all. Really, Ana?! Really?! Unless they are super-racist or sexist Nazi-lovers or just... evil, there's no reason not to love other people's grandparents. And Christian's are pretty nice.

37. The names (of the main characters). 
      Bella Swan may be incredibly contrived and self-indulgent in meaning, but it does sound like an actual name - so does Edward Cullen.
      And while Christian Grey isn't the worst name, except when James constantly uses it to point out that he has grey eyes, wears grey suits and ties (and also has a grey personality - see what I did there? xD) Anastasia Rose Steele is just... gahg! Really? Really? It sounds like the name of porn-star, who specializes in fairytale-based porn!
ould be that interesting.

P.S.: Feel free to correct me in the comments, if you think I am wrong.
P.S. 2: I was actually shooting for 50 reasons, but c'mon, guys. It's freaking Twilight!


  1. Regarding the desire to see the character of Renesmee better fleshed out, I remember reading a fan fiction that dealt with just that. I hated Twilight, but I loved this particular story. It was called "Luminosity" by Alicorn. It diverged from canon, but was so very interesting, with actual conflict! It was also nice to discover that Renesmee was actually pretty uncomfortable about her relationship with Jacob.

  2. I totally agree with everything you have said, except for one thing, I know Twilight is not literature by any means, but when I read it, there was a feeling captured in the way Mayer wrote. To me that is quite important. When I started reading 50 shades I did not know the fan fiction connection etc. (Silly me I went for the hype, and did not read the reviews.) I hated the characters as soon as I started reading this garbage parading as a "novel" and when I finally did read that it was based on Twilight I saw the similarities but there was absolutely no feeling in the writing. Twilight had this strange kind of warmth.
    I too love YA novels, there is one actually that does have a gay character, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. And he is one of the major characters.

    1. Oh, I am not saying that gay characters in YA, don't exist AT ALL - The House of Night has Damien and he is pretty cool, but in a lot of YA it's just... ignored. Twilight, The Hunger Games... I think Divergent (well Insurgent) suggested that one of the characters (female for a change this time) was gay - at least that's how I read it, but it's really not that subtle - was gay and she had a crush on one straight girl, just before she died. I knew there was a crush involved, but I thought she was crushing on the guy and I liked that the author mixed it up a bit.
      When I write my own YA I will have at least two (main or sort of main) characters that'd be gay and I really want a lesbian, because gay guys are sort of addressed, gay girls... not so much.

      I also felt the same way about Twilight, though. At least the first time I read it, when I still liked it (don't judge, I was barely fourteen), so I agree with you on that too.

  3. For me, 50 Shades was pretty much in "it's so good it's bad" territory, and I found it less boring than Twilight (not sure why, maybe a generation thing?). Also, something that bugged me about Bella is that she was a teen ager who didn't want to go to college or do anything besides being with Edward, at least 50 Shades pays lip service pays lip service to the fact that Ana wants to work and in the epilogue she is supposed to be making money in spite of the crisis or something.
    They're both lousy books, anyway.

    1. Yes, that's probably one of the few things I liked about 50 shades and it does better than Twilight. But Ana doesn't really achieve anything on her own it's all a weird mixture of good/back luck (depending on how you look at it) and Christian, so it fails at that too. Plus, Bella does want something beyond Edward - she wants immortality, to be a sparkly monster :DD I don't know why I am defending those books... :D

  4. I'll just say that this mirrors my feelings exactly. Amazing how an abomination like 50 Shades can highlight the fact that Twilight actually has redeeming qualities kind of sort of.

  5. Yeah, I actually enjoyed Twilight, despite the numerous flaws. The Fifty Shades trilogy contained the only three books I've ever screamed at, felt drained by, cried (I've cried during other books but that was because I felt for the characters, not because I found a glorified abuser's gaslighting the heroine to be immensely triggering), thrown, and genuinely wanted to tear to shreds and burn the pieces.

  6. Thea, do you know Luminosity?

    It's Twilight in the hands of a good writer ;) The second novel, Radiance, is all about Renesmee (except she gets a believable name) and her relationship with Jacob. Hint: he doesn't see her until she's six and looks like a 16-year-old)

    Anyway, nice article, read it after following a link over on Jenny Trout's blog :)

    1. Yeah, I know it, I read the first chapter even and i enjoyed it much more than the original Twilight, I just haven't had time to read more. Thank anyway, though and thanks for reading this.

  7. Why do people keep comparing twilight to Harry Potter? There is NOTHING similar between them. They're two whole different genres and Harry Potter is a children's book, twilight is a YA one. And twilight did indeed copy the awakining. (The vampire diaries)