Someone on facebook was asking the question of why Twilight has gotten so popular, which got me thinking. (Yeah, okay, so I've been on a Twilight kick lately--the movie just came out and it's been fun reading while doing revisions, as reading anything new is pretty much out of the option until I get this manuscript back to my agent.) Today, something kind of came together about why I like the book, and why there's some appeal there. Most females, when asked, say they like the book because of Edward. I'll admit it, I'd agree. But why is he so appealing? He's immortal, polite, kind, thoughtful, tries to be self-sacrificing, and will pretty much do anything for Bella. Who doesn't want that? And this is what I started to wonder--so many of these things that Edward embodies have completely fallen by the wayside in today's society.
Let me elaborate some more. Chivalry is dead. There's no real getting around that. Some guys might hang on to vestiges of it, but for the most part, getting a guy to open the door for you? Not stare at your boobs while teaching? Watch swearing around you? Stand when you enter/exit a room? Ummm, no. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty staunch feminist. I don't want some guy treating me like I'm a fragile female who can't do anything. I mean, I'm a scientist here, working on my PhD. I can do anythin a male can. Trust me. This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a little chivalry though. I adore it when someone opens the door for me, and when someone is polite to me (and this isn't just directed at a male-female sort of chivalry; same thing applies for general politeness between anyone).
In today's society, this kind of politeness has been dying for ages, spurred on some by women who view it as demoralizing (and this isn't to say that I'm not grateful for these women who made it possible for me to be in grad school and considered an equal with men). But I still like the little kindnesses. In Twilight, Edward remembers these things. He likes to open the door for Bella, for crying out loud! I wish my husband would do this for me, without me feeling stupid. I wish these little things hadn't died out. So for me, reading about someone who remembers what it was like to treat someone like a Lady, well, that's pretty damn romantic. It makes me wonder that girls are reading these books and finding that little spark of liking to be treated as special within them. It's just a thought, but at least to me it makes sense.
I honestly don't see a problem between being a hard-nosed scientist and being ladylike. I just wish I could train my husband to remember that for all my show of being strong, I'd still like to be treated like a woman, even if that means having someone open the door for me. Really, is that too much to ask?
What do you think? (And dang, this is a loooong post...)