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.


hejlna said...
on Jul. 8 2011 at 1:14 pm
same here!!!!!!!

on Jul. 8 2011 at 12:16 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

Oh I so agree with you! If Bella ran into Alanna in a forest...she'd have another thing coming! :) 

on Jul. 8 2011 at 12:14 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

Hm, I never got into lord or the rings so I wouldn't know. But maybe I'll check them out. (I'm in desperate need of a fantasy book that isn't vampire related.) :D

V!)! said...
on Jul. 8 2011 at 11:17 am
Anone who wants some origional fantasy with a strong  female protagionist needs to read any of Tamora Pierce's novels.

Halcyon said...
on Jul. 8 2011 at 11:10 am
GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! No...More...Sappy vampire books!!!!! Oh no, There's another one! They're multiplying! Oh, the horror!!!!

Hejlna said...
on Jul. 8 2011 at 10:48 am
i have to dissagree with harry potter being unlike anything else. the series is qlmost anexact copy of lord of the rings. ( ie dark lord and magical creatures as well as many impending wars) but its still a great series And i would be lying if i said it wasn't.

on Jun. 16 2011 at 10:41 pm
americanteen97 SILVER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 79 comments
I wanted to aplogize for my earlier, rudeness. I fully realize your point and sorry my little 12 year old self was being so rude. I've changed directions and agree with you :)

on Jun. 16 2011 at 3:51 pm
radicalhonesty GOLD, Alpharetta, Georgia
12 articles 2 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is no situation, facet, or aspect of life that cannot be improved with pizza. -Daria

I totally agree. when bella gets dumped, she's nothing without Edward. She has nightmares, doesn't pay attention to her friends, even rejects her dad and Jacob when they to help her. Bella reasons this saying "I can't live without him." There is also a line that bothers me that says "I dont want my soul without you." or something like that. This is an extremeley unhealthy relationship. And then bell tries to get edward to have s.e.x with her! even when he doesnt want to! i realize now im babbling, so anyway great job, you really explained your points clearly.

on Jun. 16 2011 at 7:57 am
K.M.S.Shear BRONZE, Cherokee, Iowa
2 articles 0 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Some people think writing is a waist of their time. For me it’s a way to draw an image of myself through the painting of words."

I never thought of the book in this way. I can see what your saying but I dont exactly agree with it.

BreL. said...
on May. 27 2011 at 10:05 pm
BreL., St. Louis, Missouri
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A name is only what you answer to..."

I apologize for the typo, I meant everything.

BreL. said...
on May. 27 2011 at 10:02 pm
BreL., St. Louis, Missouri
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A name is only what you answer to..."

I completely get what you are saying, i think we all sometimes have the tendency to really forget things that are important and really matter. And i'm not saying Twilight doesn't matter but it's best to keep everythong in check, I know I sure have to!

on May. 27 2011 at 7:20 pm
I agree that Twilight is a bit like Romeo and Juliet, but in Juliet's time, being helpless and having the man do all the work was the custom. Women weren't ALLOWED to do anything, so they were forced to become damsels-in-distress. That kind of thinking expired with the feminist movement, and making young girls believe in it is only tearing down all those years of work for equality for women. So although I see your point, I think this piece also has a strong point.

on May. 26 2011 at 5:18 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

I agree. We need some fresh material, if HP had been a copy of Merlin it wouldn't have been as good. The reason it's beloved is because it's unlike anything ever. 

on May. 26 2011 at 12:33 pm
WindDancer GOLD, Lexington, Kentucky
10 articles 3 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's time to start living the life you've imagined"
- Henry James

"I read to escape, I write to confront."

I agree. (And I LOVE HARRY POTTER, too.) I have read the twilight series and just don't see much substance in them. I agree that fantasy is getting less original- I am fine with borrowing from myths and legends and old tales, and working off that, but it has to be unique.

on May. 25 2011 at 11:38 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

Great article!! I totally agree with you!

Just as a side note but is anyone else starting to get a bit annoyed by all the vampire craziness? Before Twilight I used to love fantasy (HP nerd) but now I have to physically search to find a book that's not a variation on Twilight. Also the whole T.v and movie craze on this is getting annoying. I miss the days of Buffy being the gist of all this...


on May. 25 2011 at 11:34 pm
Musicfeedsthesoul07 PLATINUM, Naperville, Illinois
25 articles 0 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. " - Bill Gates

I agree with you on the Romeo and Juliet thing, Juliet was a stronger female lead than Bella. 

But on the romance factor, I enjoy romance novels but Twilight turned me off because in my mind my picture of Vampires and Werewolves is very Classics (Dracula) and HP influenced so the way they were depicted in Twilight just bothered me. I respect SM's creative ability and decisions but it just wasn't for me. I did read all four novels but I couldn't bare to go see the movies. No disrespect or insult intended, just my opinion. 

 


dotn_me BRONZE said...
on May. 25 2011 at 11:22 pm
dotn_me BRONZE, Camarillo, California
2 articles 0 photos 23 comments
4 thumbs up....really good :) keep writing. when i began reading the saga, i was obsessed with it. now that i look back, i feel lyk it was stupid, i mean i used to argue over jacob and edward..............but ya, u r right about  bella...i believe she is morally incorrect

on May. 25 2011 at 10:08 am
rockstardream GOLD, I&#39m Not Saying, Georgia
12 articles 2 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you dream it you can do it." ~Walt Disney

I've considered the Romeo and Juliet viewpoint as well- people describe Twilight as forbidden love, do they not? Romeo and Juilet was described the same way!

on May. 25 2011 at 10:07 am
rockstardream GOLD, I&#39m Not Saying, Georgia
12 articles 2 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you dream it you can do it." ~Walt Disney

I will be honest in saying I am an absolute, big fan of the saga- I'm a holder of the merchandise, have read all four books, been to DVD release parties...but my obsession has not lead to oblivian. I dislike Bella- very much so. In the books she is portrayed as a helpless damsel-in-distress who can't fight her own battles. It irritates me that she is so dependant on this man in her life (Edward) that she neglects to pay attention to any of her friends and family, as well as endangering them at the same time. I totally understand your inquiry, and despite my love of the Twilight books, agree with you! Like I said- I can't STAND Bella!

TheDuck GOLD said...
on May. 25 2011 at 9:11 am
TheDuck GOLD, Braselton, Georgia
11 articles 12 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Raids, bullets, crime... no problem. A missing duster? Crisis."-The Last Sacrifice
"If we stand for nothing, we'll fall for anything." -All Time Low

Okay, you have know idea how many times I wanted to throw the book agains the wall everytime Edward had to swoop down and save her or she acted so helpless.  I wanted to yell, "Get a spine!'


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