Both movies were equally wooden, but ever since, fanboys with no stake in the Twilight franchise have assumed a condescending position toward the women who love it, insisting that the relationship-heavy lessons imparted in the Kristen Stewart series (and especially the latest installment, Breaking Dawn – Part 1) are actually damaging to girls. And look, Vulture isn’t inclined to disagree with the haters: There is plenty of not-great stuff in Twilight, including the actual filmmaking! But the thing that gets our goat is when these fanboys exclaim that Twilight sets a bad example for women, despite the fact that their own cherished franchises like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings have one significant failing in that regard.
You can analyze why women respond to Twilight all you want — is it the vampire thing, or is it Taylor Lautner’s abs? — but one irrefutable reason why they go to these movies should be obvious: Women like to watch other women onscreen, and Twilight has lots of them. Compare that franchise to the Holy Grail of fantasy/sci-fi, the original Star Wars trilogy. You’ve got a saga that spans the entire universe, and yet Princess Leia is the only woman in sight for parsecs? In The Empire Strikes Back, there are 37 credited roles in the cast, and only two of them are played by actresses (and aside from Carrie Fisher, the other is Brigitte Kahn, listed second-to-last in the nameless role of “Other Rebel Officer”).