Twilight on Equality | Teen Ink

Twilight on Equality MAG

January 28, 2009
By Catcat BRONZE, New Paltz, New York
Catcat BRONZE, New Paltz, New York
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour."


It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that while reading Twilight I was “dazzled” (pun intended). Almost anyone alive for the past couple of months is certainly aware of the saga, which has received excited acclaim not only from teenagers worldwide but also such esteemed reviewers as The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. So why do I have a problem with it?

Twilight is about Bella Swan, a teen who moves to a new town and is immediately adored by everyone. She instantly has several men vying for her attention and a couple of pretty nice friends as well. Her adoration of classic books would imply that she is at least marginally intelligent. Then she meets Edward Cullen (who has a unique background that is not relevant here), and as their relationship grows, so does her obsession, until it consumes her. Seems harmless, right?

Actually, no. Bella is depicted as an evil temptress trying to persuade a morally honorable man into evil, while he attempts to keep their virtues intact. Succinctly, Edward and Bella are a modern Adam and Eve.

But the book goes further in asserting that women are inferior to men. Every time Bella is faced with a conflict and has to make a choice, Edward swoops in to save her, because apparently she can’t possibly decide on her own. He goes beyond protective to borderline abusive in Twilight, but Bella justifies it as “love” every time. When Edward dumps her for a couple months in New Moon, Bella ­becomes seriously depressed and dangerous to herself.

All the female characters in this series eventually portray similar helplessness. Even the first relationship introduced in the book – that of Bella’s ­mother and stepfather – is sexist. Bella expresses concern about leaving her mother, but then reasons that it’s okay now that Phil is looking after her.

What’s even more ridiculous is that many female readers look up to Bella! Her situation is idealized. After finding Edward, Bella is happy only when she is with him. She feels that he is her one true purpose in life. So what are girls who read the novels left wanting? Their own Edward, of course! Not only do they want one – they need one. The fact that so many intelligent young men and women have been sucked into the Twilight series and have swallowed its sexist manifesto has me worried about the future of gender equality.


The author's comments:
I hope that this makes us all more aware about the messages we get while reading.

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This article has 589 comments.


on Jul. 9 2010 at 11:05 pm
splenda. SILVER, Century, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." Mark Twain

by "other book" are you refering to the host? that book is fantastic. its true that its hard to get into, the beginning is a little boring. but honestly, after i finished the whole thing, i loved it. seriously.

on Jul. 9 2010 at 10:53 pm
splenda. SILVER, Century, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." Mark Twain

i would like to address two things mentioned above: first, bella is not being protected by edward because he is a man, it is because he is a vapire. alice or rosalie could have easily protected her the way he did. the book shows how fragile humans are, not how fragile women are.

second:when girls say they want their own edward, its not because they want a protector. they want someone who loves them more than they love themselves, more than life itself even. they want someone who will do absolutely anything for them and not ask for anything in return. now im not sure if that kind of love exists, but if it does, then i hope with all of my being that i might one day be able to experience it with my own "edward cullen".


on Jul. 8 2010 at 11:27 am
everthought BRONZE, Vancouver, Other
1 article 13 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"forever is the new now"
-anonymous

It's a book........... get over it.

ELM522 DIAMOND said...
on Jul. 7 2010 at 2:33 pm
ELM522 DIAMOND, Selden, New York
79 articles 0 photos 139 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All those other girls, well they're beautiful, but would they write a song for you?"-"Hey Stephen" by Taylor Swift

<3 Nick Jonas <3!

on Jul. 7 2010 at 11:23 am
JustAnotherOwl SILVER, Unknown, New York
6 articles 0 photos 379 comments

Favorite Quote:
"See, we don't really care who you are;
Everyone is capable of looking up and wishing on a star.
So catch it, so contagious, this day-dreamer's disease,
And hope can be your sword, slaying darkness with belief."

"Sanctuary"- Paradise Fears

I agree. Airhead is an extremely good book.

on Jul. 7 2010 at 11:20 am
JustAnotherOwl SILVER, Unknown, New York
6 articles 0 photos 379 comments

Favorite Quote:
"See, we don't really care who you are;
Everyone is capable of looking up and wishing on a star.
So catch it, so contagious, this day-dreamer's disease,
And hope can be your sword, slaying darkness with belief."

"Sanctuary"- Paradise Fears

While the article was well-written, I strongly disagree. It's a fictional book. Most teenagers that read the book will say that they want their own Edward, but it's not in the terms that you are writing about. They say Edward as in someone to love them, their other half. They are not saying that they want someone to be so protective and nearly abusive. And as far as your theory that it is saying that women are inferior to men, the story isn't real. The character of Bella may act that way, like she needs a man, but the book is most definitely not implying that all women need men. It just fit for that story and character. The author is a woman. Stephenie Meyer wouldn't want people to see the book that way, because that is not how it is intended. Once again, it's a fictional book, so don't make something out of it that it's not.

on Jul. 2 2010 at 2:17 pm
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

OK, I'm replying to both deka9 and TheBigG.  For TheBigG--though I personally am somewhat of a Twilight fan, I do agree that it shouldn't have been the crazy hit it was--and I also enjoy it when a female can think and do things for herself.  The novel I'm writing right now has a woman who is very capable of protecting herself, and I'm thinking of writing a sequel from another character, a girl's, perspective, and she is the one who saves the day:)

For deka9--personally, while you do make a good point there, I'm completely Team Edward(sorry).  I know that the way you said it is the way they're described, but Jacob acts like such a jerk at the end of New Moon, all of Eclipse, and the beginning of Breaking Dawn, that I simply can't be Team Jacob.  Although I have to admit that his view in Breaking Dawn is refreshing--the chapters aren't, like, first sight, or death, or whatever--it's like, you know things are bad when you feel guilty for hurting a vampire's feelings or something like that.  He's not so serious:)Still, have to admit my allegiance is to Team Edward.

Both of you, could you possibly check out and comment on my work, especially my novel?  I'd really appreciate it.


on Jul. 2 2010 at 1:58 pm
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

I agree.  I hate stories where the woman is weak and helpless, and can't defend herself.  Twilight was well-written, I suppose, but the plot and the characters are somewhat ridiculous.  In the novel I'm writing, my female main character is far from helpless--she has a very strong magical power, and while there is a "man" that helps protect her, they fight together.  I think this was excellently written and you made a good point.

Btw, anyone who sees this, will you check out and comment on my work?


on Jun. 29 2010 at 9:43 pm
penandpaper67 BRONZE, Commerce Township, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments
That was very well-written and to the point. I definitely agree. Bella, among many other current teenage (fictional and real) icons, is a weak role model and gives teenage girls unreasonable expectations when it comes to their love lives.

deka9 said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:31 pm
I think whoever said that Twilight was feminist meant the last book. Breaking Dawn was the only book where Bella stood "against" Edward for Renesmee, and Bella was the ultimate weapon against the Votulri. The rest of the saga--nope.

deka9 said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:26 pm
Just want to jump in real quick. Edward = the poisonous but addictive drug, Jacob = the shining sun and a breeze of fresh air, the winner is....TEAM JACOB!

deka9 said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 8:17 pm
Hahaha, not for a long time. At least not until the two Breaking Dawn's out. By the way this article has some great points, but I don't think Stephenie intended it to be sexist, and I don't think it is. It's just the classic conflict > romance. Someone rescues someone and then they fall in love. Classic. It's just so happen that it is the norm that man rescues woman. However, I read a few writings where the girl rescues the guy then play hard to get before they fall in love. Hahaha. So anyways, good job.

on Jun. 29 2010 at 7:23 pm
soccerpsycho49 PLATINUM, Teaneck, New Jersey
37 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
Those who say that sunshine is happiness have never danced in the rain.

sexism is a fundamental part of society. just because its there doesnt make it evil. women make themselves weaker, not society....sure, rise above the sexism but dont condemn it because its our own faults.

TuffGurl said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 5:57 pm
i actually also read all of the Twilight books when i was nine and I am not ashamed to admit that I do really like them; I am not ashamed to admit that I am excited to see Eclipse; and I am not ashamed to admit that I like Stephenie Meyer in this, but I tried to read her other book but i couldn't. I LOVE TWILIGHT AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY.... and I think now, after a few long years of thinking, that I am on Team Jacob.... even though I know who she picks. 

reesha SILVER said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 5:05 pm
reesha SILVER, Rawalpindi, Other
6 articles 15 photos 124 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
Walt Disney

"Hakuna Matata!"
Lion King

"The British policy was 'unite and conquer'. But I say 'unite and conquer'."
Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea)

I agree with some of the things you say. But I should point out that when Edward left Bella, he was also depressed and when he thought she had 'died' then he was also about to kill himself. I guess that shows that men cannot live without women ;)

Also, Bella left her Mom in Phil's capable hands NOT because she is a woman, but because she is incapable of taking care of herself. That was clearly written. 

 

Edward always saves Bella because she IS a magnet for danger and because, lets face it, she needs someone to save her. 

 

However, I do agree that Bella went a little overboard with the whole depression thing, but it can be said to be so because Edward knew she still loved him, but she thought he didn't love her, that's why life seemed useless. If it had been the other way around then I'm sure Edward would have suicidal. 

But, I do agree that many girls are now looking for their Edward Cullen. Let's face it, everyone believes that they are the princess and their prince will come for them one day. That's basically what Twilight is, with a few twists and turns. 

 

Nice job on the article though!


on Jun. 29 2010 at 4:29 pm
DannyKid33 PLATINUM, Pleasant Hill, California
34 articles 2 photos 81 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't ever let the media tell you what to look like. You're beautiful the way you are. Stay beautiful, keep it ugly." - Gerard Way.

i agree on some points but.... when ppl read twilight most of them dont think about that deeply; they jst enjoy the story. so maybe this article is taking it a little far?? i dont know jst my opinion. but really those were good points, keep it up :)

on Jun. 29 2010 at 2:23 pm
live.laugh.write BRONZE, Orlando, Florida
4 articles 1 photo 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” -Dr. Seuss

Just to jump in real fast. I think one of the reasons she doesn't describe Edward is to let everyone imagin their own perfect guy. I know I don't picture him the same way as my friends to...but yah. Anyways just had to say that real fast.

on Jun. 29 2010 at 2:20 pm
live.laugh.write BRONZE, Orlando, Florida
4 articles 1 photo 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” -Dr. Seuss

I somewhat agree with the fact that Bella is always in need of distress...but I don't think the books are saying that women are inferior to men. Personally, I think Bella is an idiot...I mean she really does go to extremes on a lot of things, but sexist? The whole idea of that sounds pretty crazy to me. What about all of the other female characters in the book? I think someone mentioned Alice, but also Leah and her whole fight with the werewolf pack. Isn't that kind of the opposite of your view? How women can do what men can too? Anyways, I respect your view I just think its going a little far.

Personally for me, I don't like the books persay, but I like how they make you imagine a different view. They make you think.


Cammie2099 said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 1:16 pm
Oops. I meant people like the books because they like the idea. Definitely NOT the way it's written. My bad.

Cammie2099 said...
on Jun. 29 2010 at 1:15 pm
I thinK that the people are so hyped up about Twilight because they like the way it's written. Personally, I'm not a fan and I agreed with several points in your article. I wouldn't go as far as to call Bella an  evil seductress though.


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