Let me get one thing out of the way first- this node is not concerned with the history of vampires, nor vampirism. Nor is it about how vampires are mathematically impossible or the legacy of this guy. Rather, it revolves around the issue of the taking the one time terror of pretty young virgins everywhere and turning it into the sexual fantasy of millions of twelve year old girls around the world.
Yes, I dare to speak out against the beloved "Twilight" series, by Stephanie Meyer. At the library where I work, I bear daily witness to those stricken by this blighting presence in our culture. Almost every case is the same- a teenage girl (or sometimes curious boy) approaches the reference desk and asks me if we have any copies of "Twilight" (or any book from the series- they rarely care) only to discover there is a waiting list for each book about thirty people long. Upon realizing that this could mean weeks-perhaps months- of waiting, they inevitably ask us to reserve a copy for them which we dutifully do and proceed to leave the library without so much as glancing at anything else.
My own younger sister has fallen victim to this horrid phenomenon and has begun to inform me of just what is contained within the vile pages of this series. Vampires that sparkle in the sunlight! Bloodsuckers playing good-natured games of baseball in a thunderstorm! A teenage boy that doesn't want to have sex! All of this seems equally ludicrous to me. The emphasis on abstinence is undoubtedly a hit with parents, but I can only see the whole thing as imparting false realities on girls everywhere. This concept of a helpless female that needs to be defended by a chivalrous, pretty young man simply will not do.
I confess, I understand the allure it must have. The confusing and scary nature of early sexuality can make such protection seem ideal until a girl is ready to consummate herself. I've no problem with that. But it's no reason to idealize the Victorian-era helplessness that seems to prevail in the series. This sort of thing only adds to the sexual taboos in American society that are so at odds with its realities. I'd rather see a book with a strong female protagonist able to prevail on her own and not be so concerned over why her boyfriend wants to or does not want to have sex but whether or not she wants to. All around teens are messages proclaiming sex is fun but at the same time convincing them that it's controlled and initiated by men and leaving everyone completely ignorant of the dangers and rewards involved.
In short, "Twilight" merely adds to this melee and discourages sexual independence among females ("Boy, I'm sure glad Bella didn't go ahead and have sex like she wanted to! She could have been killed! Better to wait till the boys say okay!"). This is unacceptable. As an older brother, I want my younger sister to understand how genuine relationships work, not how some fantasy romance plays out.
Mary Shelley would be disappointed.