Twilight on Equality This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 28, 2009
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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.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Dylan0C said...
Jan. 6, 2016 at 11:01 am
While very well written, your argument is inherently flawed. I feel as if you have a clear confirmation bias here. My assumption is that you feel women are marginalized in society so you over analyze media to further a sense of victimhood. From my understanding of the series, Edward is also very troubled. Edward is the "hero" of the story so it seems logical that he "swoops in to save her". Because that's the hero's role in the story, is it not? Also, when a relationship ends, both parties usual... (more »)
Corin_Willow said...
Oct. 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm
This article is so true. I have refused to read Twilight because of its sexism. I know a girl on the bus that loves the books. And keeps yelling at me to read them. But never in my life am I going to read that stuff. I'd rasther read something good, like the Leviathan series. Very strong female protagonist that made me interested the whole way through.
aepets said...
Mar. 9, 2013 at 9:40 am
I think you are right. 
HENSLEYRosalyn27 said...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Make your own life time easier take the business loans and all you need.
BlueRain said...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm
It makes me laugh when I hear the argument that Twilight must be good because it made millions. Well.. so does the drug industry. People don't necessarily buy things because they're good, they buy them because they want them. And as Dumbledore once said "humans have knack for choosing the things that are worst for them."
AinuSoulForger said...
Dec. 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm
Well spoken!
Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 11:46 am
I only read the first one but they had too much romance for me...I am a bit squeamish haha nice article. I didn't read the whole series so I don't really have an opinion.
LazyDaisyLovesYou said...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 1:24 am
Wow I didn't even notice the sexist parts! Good job writing that down!
LazyDaisyLovesYou replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 1:25 am
And personally, I'm not huge on Edward. I like Jacob better! 
V!)! said...
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.
fire_ice4ever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm
Oh I so agree with you! If Bella ran into Alanna in a forest...she'd have another thing coming! :) 
bookthief This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm
:) Absolutely.
Halcyon said...
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!!!!
americanteen97 said...
Jun. 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm
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 :)
radicalhonesty said...
Jun. 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm
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 babblin... (more »)
K.M.S.Shear said...
Jun. 16, 2011 at 7:57 am
I never thought of the book in this way. I can see what your saying but I dont exactly agree with it.
BreL. said...
May 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm
I apologize for the typo, I meant everything.
BreL. said...
May 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm
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!
fire_ice4ever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

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...

WindDancer replied...
May 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm
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.
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