Stephenie Meyer is gender-swapping Twilight, and it could work (but it won’t)

Like a lot of people, probably, I thought Stepehenie Meyer releasing a gender-swapped version of Twilight was either a very late or a very early April Fool’s joke. But apparently it’s real. Edward will now be Edythe and Bella will be Beau(fort). She says it’s partly a response to criticism that Bella was just a damsel in distress (and wisely doesn’t say it’s because The Twilight Saga is an inexplicable cash cow). The non-supernatural character in this story is a “human in distress,” regardless of gender.

And I think that’s where Life and Death: Twilight Re-imagined will get boring in addition to likely as bad as its first imagining.

There's also something deeply creepy about these covers, even though they have wildly opposite implications.
There’s also something deeply creepy about these covers, even though they have wildly opposite implications.

While Meyer makes noise about Beau not having the chip on his shoulder that Bella had on hers, I still get the distinct impression that this will essentially be a find-and-replace with names plus the editing for grammar and consistency that should have gone in the first time around. Maybe she’ll surprise me, but I don’t think you can have a boy character who is like Bella who also gets treated like Bella was treated. Nor can you have a girl character like Edward who gets treated like Edward. Not if you want to pretend like any shred of your story could possibly exist in the real world.

Because here’s the thing: In the real world, people don’t fawn all over clumsy boys who can barely make conversation (nor do they typically do so over clumsy girls, but the Mary Sue is a fictional trope for a reason). And I suspect, if this did not have the Twilight brand pre-associated with it, the people who saw nothing but love and romance in some of Edward’s more stalkery obsessive tendencies would not look so favorably on them from a woman.

Right or wrong, men and women are treated differently. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways, but it all adds up to different life experiences that shape the way we view and interact with the world. If Life and Death goes whole-hog and gives us that — new characters with different outlooks and behaviors built around the bones of “a human and vampire in love,” at the very least, this could turn into a moderately interesting story.

But somebody else will need to test those waters and get back to me.

Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @theLTtweet for post updates and smaller thoughts.

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