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.


Anonymous said...
on Feb. 11 2011 at 6:41 am

dramaticgirl16-

What a fitting screen name for yourself!  Did you choose it because your thesis is vague or your viewpoint is unoriginally cliché?

Thank you for first pointing out that you respect my opinion, because I respect yours just as equally.  However, that does not mean that that I cannot prove your point invalid.  This particular article is about Twilight’s “real purpose,” but on equality.  We are talking about one aspect of the entire book.  And while I did ponder long on your thoughts, they are irrelevant to the conversation.


Lily X said...
on Feb. 9 2011 at 10:58 am
I absolutely agree with the author of this article. And the fact that this is taken so lightly is sad. Twilight was a financial success but it was definetily not meant to empower teenage females at all. The movie and the books do portray an image of love as dependece. Good article!

on Feb. 3 2011 at 11:14 am
I think that it is a great series and the movie just helps you put a name to a face

kay123 said...
on Feb. 3 2011 at 11:10 am
i hate that this series is so poorly apprietated, i mean its not a great book...its decent. i respect everyones opinion but i dont think twilight is that terrible. i have to say that Bella is very very dependent and has no mind of her own. other than that the book was good...

Maxwell said...
on Jan. 30 2011 at 3:46 pm
Maxwell, Rochdale, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are not retreating, we are merely advancing in another direction." General George S. Pattton, US Army

It made a great story, didn't it? It sold millions of dollars. didn't it? I think you're reading too deeply into the plot. Its a classic theme in a contemporary world. That's it.

leafy said...
on Jan. 27 2011 at 6:02 pm
i read the books and they were ok. the points you brought up are true, i but i will say that i don't think stephanie meyer wrote this book intending it to be that deep. just saying. (i mean, come on, my friend tested it on this thing and it said it was written at a 4th grade reading level)

E.B. said...
on Jan. 26 2011 at 3:33 pm

Anonymous:

I am pleased that you did not take offense at my (admittedly) harsh views.  I also appreciate your intervention of this little squabble, because arguing with random peple on the internet is only fun when they eventually succumb to my beliefs.  (Just kidding.  Sort of.)

Anyways, I'm sure that we could put aside our differences and have a civil conversation if we really tried... something about whether clown cars are big enough to have dashboards, or just steering wheels.  Or something even MORE random, which seems a little improbable.  ;)

HisPurePrincess:

I forgot to mention that this is not the first argument that Anonymous and I have had.  This particular anonymous, at least.  Hope you weren't offended.

Sincerely,

E.B.


Anonymous said...
on Jan. 26 2011 at 1:46 pm

Oh, E.B., how I do love your arguments!  You give me the simple pleasure of having someone to logically discuss opinions with on this site, regardless of differing minds.

To HisPurePrincess - Thank you for your concern, but it was quite unnecessary.  E.B. was just expressing his/her view on this book.  I also find CAPSLOCK to be a bit aesthetically harsh, and correct grammar is always welcomed in comments that may actually be taken seriously into account.


E.B. said...
on Jan. 23 2011 at 7:51 pm
Seriously?  I hate it when people do that.  It's rude.  I'd rather know what people think than just get an all-caps "I DON'T AGREE WITH YOU."  I value other people's opinions, but I also value the reasons behind their opinions.  (On a different point entirely, are you seriously trying to get in an online argument with someone you've never met over a random post?  That's ridiculous.)

on Jan. 23 2011 at 7:27 pm
HisPurePrincess ELITE, Flemington, New Jersey
132 articles 33 photos 483 comments
wow.  E.B. that did not need to be said.  isn't this the place where we all get our own opinion.  just say you don't agree in all caps or something.  i don't think that was appropriate.  and the books are rated at Young Adult, but they are poorly written.  not so much the storyline, it's okay.  but the writing itself - bad.  slow, and predictable.

on Jan. 23 2011 at 7:21 pm
HisPurePrincess ELITE, Flemington, New Jersey
132 articles 33 photos 483 comments
i used to want to read Twilight, but now I just think that the "love" that Edward and Bella have is just sappy.  Bella is so pathetic.  really.  pretty much nothing can make vampire appeal to me.  and the movie Edward is not that good looking.  i liked him better as Cedric.

cr8artchick said...
on Jan. 20 2011 at 5:27 pm
cr8artchick, Yorba Linda California, California
0 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Say what? Bella currupts Edward?!!! I thought that is was just the opposite, as she turns into an "evil vampire." And Edward, moral? Yeah right.

 


EdenDreams said...
on Dec. 28 2010 at 5:21 pm
I hate how people hate Twilight so much. It's just a book! And after all, it is a good book. I'm not saying it's prime liturature or a book that will move mountains and is meaningful, but I loved reading it! Also, Stephanie Meyer was not writing the book to say "Women are lesser than men." It is an interpretation, just like the Bible can be interpreted (sometimes wrongly). But all in all, I just think it's a good book and I think people only post about this just to spark up a disagreement! People wouldn't get obsessed with the books if they didn't have some spark of goodness in them.

on Dec. 22 2010 at 2:34 pm
IamtheshyStargirl PLATINUM, Lothlorien, Utah
44 articles 16 photos 2216 comments

Favorite Quote:
Boredom instigates extreme creativity.
~Amoniel

"Bowing gratefully to all of my subjects, 'thank you. Thank you. The pleasure is mine." Nah, I'm just kidding. We're all kings together.'"
~Thesilentraven

Interesting, Your points are... relevent, I guess.

I've never read Twilight, and I haven't watched any of the movies. I know the basics of it, but how couldn't I, really, when I have so many Twilight-obsessed friends?

 


on Dec. 22 2010 at 12:56 am
AliceLevene BRONZE, Vancouver, Other
1 article 27 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after
- Mark Twain

Yes, because your point is very valid with all your spelling mistakes. It may be your decision to use bad grammar, but it doesn't mean it wasn't influnenced by the actions of others. You didn't just decide to make spelling mistakes, you do it because everybody is doing it and it seems cool.

Same with Twilight. It's a big thing among teenagers, and it DOES influence their decisions. A lot of people DO want to marry vampires and be loved by werewolfs. Have you read mylifeistwilight .com? Not everyone is smart enought to make their own decisions. Especially teenagers.


on Dec. 11 2010 at 9:45 am
DawnMarie BRONZE, Milton, Florida
2 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
a bird doesn't sing because it has an answer,
it sings because it has a song. - lou holtz

I agree with many of your points, but very strongly on the point that Bella is so dependent on Edward. I just finished up reading Twilight, and phrases like "Don't leave me!" and "You're my life now" really shocked me. 

Sarah416 said...
on Dec. 2 2010 at 11:10 am
Sarah416, New Paltz, New York
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I could not agree more; through out the entire book Bella was portrayed as passive and helpless. She was never in control of her own life. Especially in the second book New Moon, in which she spends most of the book locked in her room crying because Edward has left her. I can't believe how many young girls look at Bella's situation and idealize it.  

on Nov. 30 2010 at 5:46 pm
writergirl13 GOLD, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
11 articles 8 photos 261 comments

Favorite Quote:
All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.
Ambrose Bierce

Thank you so much for finally voicing that!!! You have no idea how long I have been telling my Twi-hard friends this stuff! I used to be a fan (not hard-core or anything, just read the books twice) but eventually that all really came crashing down on me when I was past the glory of it all. You're absolutely right; it is sexist, sending the wrong example, and, others might even argue, immoral in some ways. I agree absolutely. 

No One said...
on Nov. 30 2010 at 4:48 pm

I agree.  And there are so many things about Twilight that I just don't like.  The fact that Bella tries over and over to get Edward in bed is ridiculous and 12 year old girls don't need to be reading about it.  Really, the age doesn't matter; girls who are in-love with Twilight may try to be like Bella to get their Edward (who of course doesn't exist seeing how sparkly fairy's aren't real).  And by being like Bella, they may do something stupid which, of course, Bella is none for.

All this Bella girl is trying to decide is whether to have s.ex with a dead guy or a dog.

And do you really want teenage girls trying to get a guy into bed?  I don't think so.

Twilight doesn't set a good example, and people are making a big deal about 'how amazing it is', when really, it's nothing special.


on Nov. 30 2010 at 3:59 pm
Dragonscribe BRONZE, West Lafayette, Indiana
4 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A Person's a Person no Matter how Small"
and
"A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet"
and
"God helps those who help themselves"

Also - this is ironic - as I was writing my comment below I saw an add on the screen that said, "Fall in love with your own Edward...a personalized romance novel". So maybe you make a good point...but still. It's not that bad.


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