Craving a ‘Twilight’ romance

Adult women are also obsessed with the dashing young vampire.

Posted Jul 02, 2010

Alongside the scores of teen girls swooning over Edward Cullen, the teen vampire heartthrob of the young adult series "Twilight," are women in their 30's, 40's and 50's. And the interest for some of these women goes beyond several reads of the books or viewing of the movies. Some women have found themselves obsessed to the point of sleeplessness, disintegrating marriages, and countless hours on the internet on fan sites and blogs (many if not most of them created by adult women, such as the SF Examiner's "Twilight Examiner"). Several days ago the Los Angeles Times published an article about this phenomenon and even went so far as to call the obsession for some women an "addiction" as women struggle with feeling out of control about the time and emotion related to the books, movies, and stars.

For teens, the obsession and fandom related to "Twilight" is understandable and really nothing new. There are always books and book characters, movies and movie stars, music and musicians that capture the attention of large numbers of teenagers, fueling a fantasy of love, romance, passion, danger and safety all at once. Being a teen is all about surges of powerful and new emotions, experiences and feelings, the intensity of which needs a fantasy outlet.

What are these women longing for? Is it the same as the teens or different? In the LA Times article a 50 year old woman who runs a "Twilight" fan site states, "If there is a chemical that's released when you're falling in love, your brain has it when you're reading or watching "Twilight." You get that utopic feeling of first love and you want to experience it over and over again." Indeed, there is a chemical released when you fall in love, and it does feel good. A simple but powerful desire for that feeling could be part of the appeal (and can be addictive, as "love addicts" will tell you).

Does the longing for the perfect romance ever go away? When we are young children most of us idealize our parents who seem perfect to us. As we grow older, we see their faults and imperfections, some of which are not small. Some would argue we spend the rest of our lives trying to get that fantasy version back again, and a book/movie that presents us with the perfect partner hooks right back into that very young part of us longing for the hero we lost.

Additionally, when men and women hit midlife they are forced to take stock of their lives and face some of the ways they may still feel unfulfilled or unhappy. Perhaps the story of a perfect romance, filled with longing and unrequited desire, hits close to home. Whatever the reason, the phenomenon continues. Worldwide, "The Twilight Saga" has sold around 100 million books, and the first two movies alone have grossed more than $1.1 billion. Wednesday night the third film, "Twilight: Eclipse" brought in an estimated $68.5 million. Clearly, the movie speaks to many, young and not so young, loud and clear.

 

Scores of "Twilight" fans are adult women (AP Photo/Joel Ryan).