Reading and watching Twilight at the impressionable age of 13 fundamentally changed something in me. The underlying Mormon morality went completely over my head because I was too wrapped up by just how much Bella wanted to fuck Edward. And I wasn’t the only one.
Many years ago, during a holiday party I didn’t want to be at, my parents pointed out that one of their friends, a full-grown woman with a baby on the way, was also a big Twilight fan. She asked which of the books was my favorite. Back then it was Breaking Dawn. She emphatically agreed, the unspoken reason between us being that Bella finally got some from her vampire husband. Similarly, at every premiere I went to it was almost exclusively teenage girls and middle-aged women that packed the theatres. Bella Swan’s horniness for her monster boyfriend united generations.
Vampires have long been the threshold, or gateway, between playful and experimental sexuality to full on monsterfucking. In almost every canon they are hot as hellby design. It’s how they allure their prey. But what makes Edward truly appealing is how much he hates himself.
In more classic vampire depictions, the attraction humans feel for the Halloween monster is practically impossible to overcome. Hence why they tend to be reclusive and avoid humanity aside from feeding. This is part of their monstrosity, their corrupting nature. Yet the Twilight vampire frequently consorts with other humans. Sure, everyone is obsessed with the Cullens but they’re not throwing themselves at Edward with uncontrollable lust.So the Cullens face the painfully intricate in-and-outs of high school social rituals for…shits and giggles? To kill time? Find Edward a mate?
Despite his family’s attempts getting him to fit within the traditional family structure, Edward initially wants nothing to do with Bella. She reminds him of just how monstrous he is, of how hard it is to control the evil he perceives himself as. Bella doesn’t see it like that. Bella never sees it like that. She’s puts together the pieces that have been in front of everyone else like she has spent her whole life waiting for them. Once she figures it out there isn’t a single moment of hesitation, she has already fallen in love with him. She has already seen him.
I can’t be the only one who has equated seeing someone with loving them.
Being seen is an exchange. When we are seen by a monster or when a monster is seen by us a mirror is forged. The way we understand the world is through our own experiences and if we recognize a monster then that monstrosity must live within us. And what a thrill—a relief—it is to quite literally be on the fringes of humanity when you are consistently perceived as nothing more than ahelpless ingénue. I’d fuck a monster too if it would finally prove I’m not that damn fragile.
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb” is the saga’s most well-known quote. I find the exchange that follows itmuch more interesting.
“What a stupid lamb,” Bella sighs, to which Edward responds with “What sick, masochistic lion.”
Because the opposite is also true. The monsters that fall in love with us see humanity not as the plague it’s so often depicted as, but as another curious creature; an equal.
Laura Andrea is a writer from Carolina, Puerto Rico. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her work can be found in Pussy Magic, The Rio Grande Review, Acentos Review, and Brave Voices Magazine, among others. She’s always looking for a good park to read, write, and divinate in. You can follow their day to day on Instagram & Twitter @lauranlora