Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

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

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
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.




Join the Discussion


This article has 588 comments. Post your own!

BrightBurningCampeadorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm:
I'm reading this article and various comments and geuss what ad is on the side? "First Bite: a personalized vampire romance novel...where you are the star. Fall in love with your own Edward... live the fantasy... click for a free demo" Talk about ironic.
 
TayrlS replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm :
haha similar story here, but for "Second Life" where it depicts three different avatars that closly resemble Bella, Edward and James figures. Coincidence? I think not:P
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
BrightBurningCampeadorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm:
I don't like the whole "dark fantasy" fad that's going on. I love fantasy, but it seems to that authors are using it more and more as an excuse to write dumb cliched stories. Innocent girl meets dark mysterious guy and instantly falls in love. But then dark mysterious guy goes away for some reason and innocent girl is left heartbroken on the street corner. But oh wait! The dark mysterious guy comes back and the two live happily ever after! Isn't that beautiful!
 
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm :
Yup. And we don't have to even read the book to uncover the mystery. You read the back cover and it says "Of three things I was absolutely certain. 1: Edward was (bad use of grammar, since it's not past tense) a vampire. Blah blah, he thirsted for my blood (isn't that what vampires do?...) 3: I was in love with him. Great. Story ended. The mystery of the first half of the book is a complete waste because you just gave it away. And if you read the table of contents, the titles of the chapters giv... (more »)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Jaynebugs said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm:
I totally agree with everything in this article. I'm tired of girls being seen as the damsels in distress. We need more kick booty women role models like Buffy! (Did anyone ever watch the Buffy tv series? It was awesome!)
 
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm :
There's a movie coming out called Brave, I think it's made by the same people who did How to Train Your Dragon, but it's a red-headed girl who is the hero. No sparkly fairy boys included.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
pinkhottie265 said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 10:06 am:
I <3 the Twilight saga! Stephenie Meyer is the best author alive. But the second book (New Moon) made me really sad, so that one was my least favorite.
 
xxxrEnxxx replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm :
You're kidding, right? Best author alive? Have you ever even read Stephen King, JK Rowling, Darren Shan, etc? SMeyer is probably one of the worst writers of this decade.
 
xelawriter97This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm :
although I don't think that she is the BEST AUTHOR ALIVE... I do LOVE her work, and I think she has the potential to write something absolutely amazing. (Twilight, although I LOVE IT - im obsessed - wasn't very well written) but Meyer has potential.
 
Aspiringauhor replied...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm :
Yeah, have you read her novel The Host? It's pretty intense. :)
 
xelawriter97This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm :
omg yes.... ITS SOOOO GOOD
 
Aspiringauhor replied...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm :
Yeah I know! I loved it.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Aspiringauhor said...
Mar. 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm:
Some people just want a good romance and don't have to turn it into something horrible and demeaning to women as you just did. Some girls (myself included) are simply just not emotionally or physically strong enough to protect themselves from all harm. As much as I wish I was able to be tough, I'm not. I'm petite (as Bella is) and emotionally fragile (as Bella is.) At the sight of a needle or blood, I start breathing heavily. It's not that I am not feminist (you'd better bet I am!!!!!), but that... (more »)
 
BrightBurningCampeadorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm :
I am sure you aren't as helpless as you are making out. Everyone has their own strengths and everyone has their own weaknesses, but from the little I read of the Twilight books Bella has no strengths and lots of weaknesses.
 
xelawriter97This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm :
THANK YOU! thats what I'm saying!
 
Aspiringauhor replied...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm :
I'm sorry for telling you that that is just how I am. You don't have to believe me. And I do have my strengths. I am a relatively good writer, I am a good singer... If you only read a little bit of the Twilight books, you cannot judge them. Reading the whole series is completely necessary for this. Please don't contradict who I am. I'm sure you've heard of that Lady Gaga song, "Born This way." That's simply who I am. 
 
xelawriter97This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm :
I hope you were saying sorry to BrightBurrningCampeador and not me because I agree with you (Aspiringauhor)!!! COMPLETELY
 
Aspiringauhor replied...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm :
Oh! I thought you were agreeing with BrightBurningCampeador. :) Thanks! :)
 
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm :
Being a good singer and writer are strengths. Not everyone is strong in the same ways. But Bella doesn't have a strength, that is until she becomes a vampire. Edward plays piano, Carlisle is a doctor, Charlie's a policeman... hmm, I just noticed.. none of the female characters have hobbies.. how (not) surprising. Anyway, Bella does nothing. She doesn't sing, she doesn't do sports, she doesn't paint, she doesn't write, she doesn't hike. The most detailed part of the entire first book that involve... (more »)
 
Aspiringauhor replied...
Jan. 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm :
Bella has other strengths, as well. You're strength doesn't have to be something you do, it can a characteristic. For example, one of Bella's strengths is that she is compassionate - she never wants to hurt anyone. Like when she has to turn down Mike, and Tyler. She does it as kindly and politely as possible. And the "vampiric strength" you speak of is a talent she has as a human, as well. The "shield?" If you read the books, you remember that Edward couldn't read her mind as a human, either. Ja... (more »)
 
BlueRain replied...
Jan. 2, 2012 at 9:15 am :
Sure, she doesn't want to hurt anyone. She's human, at least in that way. But then she always gets herself into situations that she knows would hurt people. She doesn't want to hurt her mom, yet she leaves her when she's obviously incapable of doing anything without Phil. She tries to make friends, then purposely ignores them, but then comes back because her daddy told her to. She leads Jacob on in the first 3 books (and a little bit in the fourth), even though she knows it'll hurt him, herself,... (more »)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback