So, unless you're living under a rock—even I've heard about this one, and it was freaking TWO DEGREES here this morning—or you don't obsessively follow the YA news, you've heard about Divergent/Fault in Our Stars star Shailene Woodley's take on Twilight's central love story:
“Twilight, I’m sorry, is about a very unhealthy, toxic relationship. [The protagonist Bella] falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she’s going to kill herself! What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve.”
Which, really, is a pretty low-key statement. She doesn't insult fans of the franchise, she expresses an opinion about the source material. I'm less comfortable with her comment about sending the right "message", but it's a short quote, so I'm trying to avoid making the assumption that she's suggesting that YA fiction should carry specific messages. Because yuck.
Anyway, as you may expect, she's taking a decent amount of flack from Twilight fans:
@shailenewoodley your comments about Twilight? SHAME ON YOU. Most of the fandom of Twilight is supporting you! UNGRATEFUL— kath (@AmadorKath) March 14, 2014
I don't think Shailene Woodley realizes how many fans she let down by her disrespectful comments towards Twilight.— Robsten Is UnbRoKen (@krisbianhearted) March 13, 2014
To be fair, of course, she's also getting plenty of applause from the anti-Twilight faction:
go shailene woodley for recognizing that twilight is toxic— viola eade (@queenlsa) March 12, 2014
Shailene Woodley said the truth about Twilight— queen cappy (@QueenMcDimples) March 11, 2014
I find it interesting that so many people are taking her statement so personally... because she said NOTHING about the fans, the fandom, even about the quality of Meyer's writing or even of the movies. Disagreeing with someone, not liking the same things? That is not disrespect. She didn't say that people shouldn't like the book, she didn't say that people who like it are stupid or have bad taste, she didn't trivialize it by suggesting that romance stories are somehow lesser than other kinds of stories or that franchises with a largely female fanbase are silly.
The whole brouhaha is a perfect example of a larger issue that has way more bearing on the "evolution of the world" than Twilight: a disinclination towards, difficulty in having, a flat-out refusal to engage in rational discussion. Everything is black or white, right or wrong, red or blue, and if you disgree with one opinion that a person expresses, if that person doesn't share exactly the same value system or worldview that you do, well, to hell with her and everything else that she might ever say or do.
Ag. Now I'm all depressed and want to go back to bed.
ETA: Yes, I'm still thinking about this. Which is semi-ridiculous, probably, but as I'm a semi-ridiculous person, it's fitting. Anyway, it's also easy to draw parallels between the "if you don't like what I like, you're a mean jerk" mentality and the "people who indulge in literary criticism are haters" mentality. It's all tied in there together. Blerg.