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 Aug. 12 2010 at 8:16 pm
justbreathe.... BRONZE, N/a, South Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
No matter how bad things get, there is always something that you don\'t know about just yet.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. As a student with a desire to major in English myself, I think about things from a true writer's point of view.

Bella is by no means a temptress. She is in love with someone and only wants to belong to them wholly. Also, both parties plan for her to become a vampire. She does not want to go through the transformation without expressing her commitment to Edward. She does not want to have the experience afterwards when (she was told) it will not take priority to her thirst for human or animal blood alike. (Though I must admit, I am a Christian and do not agree with pre-marital sex).

I also disagree with the accusations of Bella being whiny, and that she does nothing at all. Also, Stephenie Meyer did not write the books to make a point or statement about sexism.

As for the comments about her depression after Edward's department, you mustn't have ever experienced true love. Nor have I but I understand just a bit more than you all that when you lose your soul mate, or anyone you love for that matter, you lose a part of yourself. Bella is mourning not only the loss of her soul mate, but also her entire family. It was an entire life and future being taken away from her. She is justified in every way to feel the way that she did.

You're all being rediculous and need to get over yourselves. If this is honestly your outlook on the Saga, then you clearly do not understand.

on Aug. 12 2010 at 8:08 pm
SickImage SILVER, Klamath Falls, Oregon
9 articles 1 photo 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
The room was very quiet. I walked over to the TV set and turned it onto a dead channel-white noise at maximum decibels, a fine sound for sleeping, a powerful continuous hiss to drown out everything strange."

I think if teenage girls wouldn't have gotten so obsessed with these books, the series would be fine and appriciated.

But seriously? It has taken over little girls' lives. The majority of the teen female readers now have a mind set that one day they will have their own edward or jacob (names not important enough to be capitolized) and that things that occur in the book will eventually take place in their own lives.

Personally I cannot wait until this fad is over and forgotten. I wish i could be there the day these girls are grown up and look back and see how ridiculous they acted.

Wonderful piece of work. I am glad you have not had your soul eaten by these books ;)

on Aug. 12 2010 at 5:49 pm
TheMalfunctioningWallflower BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:

"I did wood paneling."

"Do not FEAR the Crooked Zipper!! EMBRACE the Crooked Zipper!!!"

"What's better than infinity?"

"Wear your helmets, we'll be reaching speeds of three!"

"You could walk on your hands and catch up to him!"

Alice and Jane are pretty much the only female characters that are capable of doing things on their own. Bella justs sits there and whines. You can totally see in New Moon that Edward became her life which shows the highest level of pathetic-ness I have ever seen. So now I am thinking why I liked Twilight in the first place. Thanks.

on Aug. 12 2010 at 5:25 pm
DayofRain50 GOLD, Robbinsville, New Jersey
14 articles 0 photos 49 comments
How is Bella independent. When Edward left her, she went catatonic for THREE MONTHS! That is not love or independence. That is full blown obsession.

on Aug. 12 2010 at 5:21 pm
DayofRain50 GOLD, Robbinsville, New Jersey
14 articles 0 photos 49 comments

@ Wicked-princess  

Well, possibly not. Many of us are only teenagers. Also, Bella does not act strong or like she is in love with Edward. She is completely and unhealthily obessessed with.

on Aug. 12 2010 at 11:03 am
little.miss.mars SILVER, Darien, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments
I do agree with some points of this article, other than the whole thing about Bella being a temptress and  such a high level of sexism. Bella's character is pretty much ridiculous, and why? Because, like the points mentioned in the article, everyone immediately loves her for whatever reason and you never really get clued into what this reason really is. Bella really does seem to skate through this whole saga without really doing...anything. And she does get Edward to make some pretty stupid decisions. But what I don't think anyone really realizes is that Bella is just like every other female protagonist in ridiculous young adult romance novel. She whines a lot, really has no personality, and is helpless but won't really admit to it. I don't think the problem is sexism, because Stephanie Meyer did write some strong female characters in the book (such as Alice, Jane, and to an extent, Rosalie) she just failed to make it the main character that we should actually be caring about :/

on Aug. 12 2010 at 10:20 am
DiamondsIntheGrass GOLD, Martinsville, New Jersey
14 articles 1 photo 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
Worry is simply a misuse of the imagination.

i have to disagree. Bella isn't representing the entire female population of the world.  she is simply a character made up by stephenie meyer (granted, i don't really like bella, she deffinetly is WAYYYYY too dependent).  but you must also remember in the end of twilight and in the end of eclipse she was about to sacrifice herself for edward and her mother.  i personally do not agree with you; twilight is not a sexist series, it simply has a lot of characters that lack common sense. 

 but the essay was well written anyhow :)

LoEssie BRONZE said...
on Aug. 12 2010 at 9:38 am
LoEssie BRONZE, Freeport, New York
3 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
A room without books is like a body without a soul. I don't know who wrote that, it was just on an advertisement at my library. . . hahaha.

I pretty much agree with you except for the Adam and Eve comment (not entirely her fault, but that's it). I think that it's a little strong to call Bella a temptress, though. More like a ditzy masoginist (did I spell that correctly?) who falls in love with a vampire because she can't find a normal man that satisfies her enough (by normal I mean turns into wolf).

on Aug. 9 2010 at 10:24 pm
goldmansharone GOLD, Boulder, Colorado
13 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
A different world cannot be built by indifferent people
What a miserable thing life is: you're living in clover, only the clover isn't good enough.
You'll never shine if you don't glow.
Selfishness is a horrible trait.

I agree half and half.

1. Twilight is a horrible peace of literature. It is plotless and horribly written. It is super annoying that Bella must be carried by Edward all the time. She is whiny and way to dependent.

2. However, I do not think that Bella is "Evil".. she is just sort of selfish and self absorbed.


Good essay, though! Nice jumb start!

on Aug. 5 2010 at 5:40 pm
LinnaNicole SILVER, Orlando, Florida
6 articles 9 photos 28 comments

I meant to post this with a comment already said.

The point is that I disagree with the views of this article.

on Aug. 5 2010 at 5:39 pm
LinnaNicole SILVER, Orlando, Florida
6 articles 9 photos 28 comments

I agree with the comment above, there are some very powerful women characters in Twilight. Take Jane for example. She is feared by most, even Edward is afraid of her power. Sure, she’s not the most liked of the cast but she is still a strong, independent woman who can fend for herself.

I think I’d also have to disagree with the idea that Bella is an evil temptress. Her views and standards are different from Edward’s, that doesn’t make her wicked. I doubt the author ever wanted the reader’s to see Bella as the downfall to Edward or to anyone else.

on Aug. 3 2010 at 9:16 pm
Ok so a. youve never been in love? or b. you have a hatred of men?

on Aug. 1 2010 at 6:45 pm
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Usually main characters are not popular cheerleaders...  Just throwing that out there...

on Jul. 30 2010 at 3:41 pm
TheNovaClytie PLATINUM, Woodhaven, Michigan
30 articles 0 photos 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
If I could run away from my problems, I'd probably get lost, and then new problems would find me.
~Shelby Seeley

I almost totally agree. I have never thought of it this way, but you are very right. Bella is a selfish, depressing and mean plastic-like barbie in a world of horrid creatures... who's beliefs and virtue tend to be even better than this lifeless main character. There is one point in all four books where i felt human compassion from Bella: after she kissed Jacob (in Eclipse) and asked an avalanche to bury her alive. That's something we all can agree on!!!

Super16 said...
on Jul. 29 2010 at 1:28 pm
I disagree. While admittedly Twilight doesn't portray a healthy relationship, neither does it promote gender inequality. While Bella is rescued by Edward often, by the end of the series she is able to more than hold her own. The inequality with Edward has nothing to do with gender, it is a way for the author to show Bella's growth as a character. The relationship between Bella's mother and stepfather has nothing to do with women needing to be looked after, but is a way to show how Bella's role in her and her mother's relationship is more as the parent than the child, and parents expect their children to be in good hands. It in no way suggests that all women need to be taken care of by their husband.

on Jul. 24 2010 at 11:31 am
Nimthiriel SILVER, Holland, Michigan
6 articles 1 photo 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so." -Stephen Leacock

I definitly agree. I never really thought about it in that context before reading this. I think the only really strong female character is Alice. In fact, she is the one (SPOILER ALERT) who ultimately saves the day in the end of Breaking Dawn.

on Jul. 21 2010 at 10:57 pm
Meghanv1218 BRONZE, Not Telling!, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
Don't listen to the comments saying your wrong. You're not wrong, you just have your own opinion. I do agree with most of your article, but those who say that they're pointing out obvious facts should try and be more conciderate. Anyways, keep writing, we all have different opinions :). I never really saw twilight in this way, and I can see that you took a lot of time forth to really think about it. Books messages aren't always clear. Keep being the creative person you are, and I'll keep being supportive.

on Jul. 21 2010 at 7:25 pm
RockinEmerald SILVER, Imlay City, Michigan
9 articles 2 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't give up.

I have never read the Twilight books. From what I just read though... I agree with you.

KK2013 GOLD said...
on Jul. 21 2010 at 8:54 am
KK2013 GOLD, Solon, Ohio
10 articles 2 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.-J. K. Rowling

I agree. It seems ridiculous that although Bella is just a human, she couldn't do anything to defend herself. and in the last book, SPOILER ALERT when she does become a vampire, she doesn't really even fight! she just stands there and uses this mind shield. 

Now I don't want anyone going to my work, Alice's Return and saying that I made her look weak either, because i didn't!! I made her overwhelmed from society, and trying to escape from it through the Rabbit Hole. So yeah. 

But if you want to read my piece and comment, thats fine with me too!

inkqueen1611 said...
on Jul. 21 2010 at 5:46 am

That's pure nonsense !

i totally disagree..tWILIGHT portrays Bella as an independent girl. She's not dependent on Edward. She's is love with Edward ! And Edward is a VAMPIRE. What do you expect from a vampire,i mean,obviously he will be more protective and stronger..

Besides, its a highly entertaining novel and makes kids value themselves more as the main character is not the stereotype popular cheerleader..

Don't hate the book on some stupid sexist nonsense..

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