Question: What do Twilight and World of Warcraft have in common?
Answer: You mean besides the fact that both tend to suck the life out of their fans?
Simple. They both appeal almost exclusively to one sex.
So why the obsession among the fairer sex?
Speak to just about any die-hard Twilight fan, and you’ll get the same answer. “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.” said one fifty-year-old (yes, you read that right) fan interviewed for an article in Yahoo! Movie Talk. “You get that utopic feeling of first love and you want to experience it over and over again.”
Words like these may inspire a snicker, but this is no laughing matter. Stephanie Meyer’s novels and their film adaptations have enjoyed such astonishing popularity among gals for precisely the same reason video games have always captivated legions of guys: they offer fans an escape to an imaginary world where all of their unfulfilled longings come to life.
“[T]he core elements of female fantasy is [sic] the idea of shirking responsibility, throwing caution to the wind, and living out all of your selfish desires without major consequences.” explains Scott Mandelson of the Huffington Post. “Comparatively, the male escapist fantasy involves immature boys who man up just a little bit, take responsibility, and use their talents to save lives, make a difference, and win the girl without having to make any true concessions to their character and personality.”
In 2008, researchers at Stanford University released a study which demonstrated through brain scans how violent and competitive video games activated portions of the male brain associated with rewarding feelings and addiction. Not surprisingly, the same study showed little if any response in the female brain to the same stimuli.
In pandemically-popular novels and movies like Twilight, we may have at last discovered the female equivalent of video games. And if the droves of men who have fallen prey to life-consuming titles like World of Warcraft and Halo are any indication, women, too, may soon find themselves spending more time in their vampire-infested fantasy worlds than in the real one.