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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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 »)
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 »)
Aspiringauhor replied...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 10:58 am
Okay, I'm not going to respond to your other points - not because I can't, but because I have a question, and I don't want to continue a pointless debate. My question is: Why are you so intent on psychoanalyzing a fictional character that doesn't impact you at all?
BlueRain replied...
Jan. 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm
Because I wanted to find out how millions of girls could fall in love with a story like this. It's either because they haven't really looked close enough and only skipped to the parts where Edward was hot, or they actually did look deeper and they Like the aggressive, whiny, empty characters of this book (I'm pretty sure most correspond to the first option). Plus, considering when I was younger that I liked this book, I wanted to find out why I did. And I found out why. Because Bella is so easy ... (more »)
BlueRain replied...
Jan. 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm
And this is not psychoanalyzing. It does not take a genius to come up with exactly what Bella (or any of the characters) means and what her real intentions are. Her character is about as deep as a mud puddle in a desert.
pheebz88 said...
Mar. 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I completely agree!  When I first read the book I was completely engrossed and I loved all of the characters but after I had finished the series and looked back...not only did I find that it wasn't all the great of a series but that Bella was completley helpless.

It is completley unrealistic that a new girl will be loved by everyone and have guys going after her on her first day at school...that almost never happens.  Most of the time people try to find the things wrong with ... (more »)

angelnight16 said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm
oh and i think bella could have made most of those choices on her own, and does anyone find it weird that ther character 'jacob' imprinted with a newborn child and feels he loves her after seeing her for the first time?
Angelnight16 replied...
Mar. 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm
my sentiments exactly...
BlueRain replied...
Dec. 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm
I want to know how Jacob is going to explain to Renesme that he was in love with her mother. They're probably just going to pull the "I was just trying to protect you" card if she ever finds out.
angelnight16 said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm
i totall agree with you. i was sucked into the whole twilight thing for a while, actually i was obbsessed with it but now am sick of it. i cant believe i ever thought it was 'amazing'. but you brought a few things to my attention that i hadn't realized before so thank you. oh and also is it me or is edward more of a sparkling fairy than a vampire?
AthenaBook said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 9:28 am
I totally agree with what the author has written and I think that it is really sad that a girl needs to have an "Edward" do everything for them. Girls have been sadly demorilized throughout society in many countries and even this book is showing a girl who seems to have very low self respect for herself. I know that a few boys in my school have discussed Twlight and laugh at many girls because they are so independent. In fact, those girls are probably the most teased in my school. Girls have jus... (more »)
Aelita said...
Feb. 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm
Twilight has so much in common with Romeo and Juliet.  Love stories have been around for all of time.  If you're really going to say that you are against Twilight, you may as well just cross off the whole genre.  Love is about people caring about eachother.  Maybe Edward and Bella don't have the ideal relationship, but I don't think that everybody shares that perspective.  I liked your points, though.  Your essay was well written.  As for everyone else, I think... (more »)
xelawriter97 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm

You might as well cross off the whole genre... love that!


SmileyFace13 replied...
May 25, 2011 at 2:12 am
Although i agree with somethings you said i disagree with what you said about how the whole romance genre is like twilight. Even in Romeo and Juilet, Juliet makes more decisions. in fact, she was the one who told Romeo he needed to make plans for their marrage or it would be over. She also made some other key decisions. There are less sexist characters. But anyway i am kind of going off subject, what i meant to say was that in the whole romance genre there are many ... (more »)
fire_ice4ever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

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 disres... (more »)

Lily X said...
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!
kay123 said...
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...
PrettyGurlRock17 replied...
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
Maxwell said...
Jan. 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm
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.
SunnyWinter replied...
Feb. 21, 2011 at 8:30 am
I wish things were simply stories but as teenagers we are highly impressionable and when we read a story that we really like then we want that situation almost and it becomes imprinted in our minds so all the things talked about in this book become what teens especially girl teens will want becuase in the end everything turns out alright
leafy said...
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)
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