In another entry I ask "What’s up with that?" when it comes to the whole vampire thing and movie theatres filled with women.
In this week’s Catholic Herald, the best Catholic weekly in the UK, there is an article by Sophie Caldecott about this very question.
And I think she is on to something.
Why girls love chaste Edward Cullen
The vampire hero of the Twilight series shows a deeply appealing restraint when faced with temptation, says Sophie Caldecott
Go read the article, but here is a key excerpt:
The obsession with Edward seems to fly in the face of the age-old cliché that girls are always attracted to the bad boy, the promiscuous James Bond type who is likely to seduce them and then break their hearts. True, Edward is dangerous and mysterious (he is a vampire after all) but his most defining and attractive feature is his incredible restraint in the face of all sorts of temptation.
A large part of his appeal for female fans is his selfless devotion to Bella, a devotion that expresses itself not in the typical teenage rush to consummate the relationship but in the way that he constantly prioritises her needs over his own. While she is desperate to convince him to bite her, thereby turning her into one of his own kind and ensuring that they can spend the rest of eternity together, his reservations about whether vampires can be included in salvation makes him reluctant to risk her salvation.
Something that the current obsession with Twilight reveals, on a subconscious level at least, is that there is a place for self-control and restraint in modern romance after all. Perhaps girls are afraid to express their deep desire for a relationship with a boy who loves them selflessly and is willing to put their "virtue" first (as Stephanie Meyer rather primly puts it) worried that they will be thought prudish. Perhaps boys are also afraid that it is somehow emasculating to abstain from rushing into sex, assuming that this is what girls want, and so the vicious circle continues. At any rate, despite rather muddled theological and anthropological premises, not to mention some painfully bad writing, the books do raise interesting questions. Set against the backdrop of supernatural forces, with many of the characters in possession of superhuman powers, sex is portrayed as an equally powerful force. Somewhat ironically, given his terrifying strength and natural killer instinct, Edward accuses Bella of being "the most dangerous creature" he has ever met when she tests the boundaries of his restraint by trying to seduce him.