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 Apr. 11 2011 at 9:05 pm
Alex_Durham GOLD, Vineland, New Jersey
14 articles 1 photo 234 comments

Favorite Quote:
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

While I do agree that some of the aspects of Twilight are demoralizing towards women, I don't agree completely with some of the things you said. Although Bella does feel that Edward is her true purpose in life, Edward feels the same for Bella. He says his life is meaningless without her. Plus, one of the things that Edward says he loves about her is that she is a caretaker - she takes care of others and is independent. (She only says her mother will be okay will Phil because she knows her mother will not be okay on her own... her mother was fine with Bella and they're BOTH GIRLS! SHe was just saying that her mother is NOT responsible at all and that she needs to take care of her) Also, when you said that Bella was totally depressed over Edward leaving her, I agree with that. She was, but I don't think that demoralizes women. Bella was completly in love with him and he broke her heart and her future (her future of becoming a vampire). Plus, at least she did something with her time and tried to "live" and make her dad happy - Edward says "when I wasn't tracking, I was totally useless. I more or less crawled up into a ball and let the misery take me"

One more thing (I know I'm going overboard, but I want to prove my point) in the first book, before Edward saves Bella from James, she is brave and fearless enough to try to save her mother. I think she deserves some credit.


on Apr. 11 2011 at 7:19 pm
BrightBurningCampeador PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
42 articles 11 photos 333 comments
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.

on Apr. 11 2011 at 7:14 pm
BrightBurningCampeador PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
42 articles 11 photos 333 comments
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!

on Apr. 11 2011 at 7:08 pm
BrightBurningCampeador PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
42 articles 11 photos 333 comments
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.

xxrenegadexx said...
on Apr. 11 2011 at 6:10 pm
xxrenegadexx, Coventry, Connecticut
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The thing about real life is, when you do something stupid, it normally costs you. In books the heroes can make as many mistakes as they like. It doesn't matter what they do, because everything works out in the end. They'll beat the bad guys and put things right and everything ends up cool.
In real life, vacuum cleaners kill spiders. If you cross a busy road without looking, you get whacked by a car. If you fall from a tree, you break some bones.
Real life's nasty. It's cruel. It doesn't care about heroes and happy endings and the way things should be. In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins.
I just wanted to make that clear before I begun." ~Cirque Du Freak Prologue

agreed ^.^

xxrenegadexx said...
on Apr. 11 2011 at 6:01 pm
xxrenegadexx, Coventry, Connecticut
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The thing about real life is, when you do something stupid, it normally costs you. In books the heroes can make as many mistakes as they like. It doesn't matter what they do, because everything works out in the end. They'll beat the bad guys and put things right and everything ends up cool.
In real life, vacuum cleaners kill spiders. If you cross a busy road without looking, you get whacked by a car. If you fall from a tree, you break some bones.
Real life's nasty. It's cruel. It doesn't care about heroes and happy endings and the way things should be. In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins.
I just wanted to make that clear before I begun." ~Cirque Du Freak Prologue

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.

Jaynebugs said...
on 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!)

on 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.

on Mar. 20 2011 at 2:02 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

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 I am simply not able to do all that other girls can. It's the way I - and apparently Bella - was born.

on Mar. 12 2011 at 4:05 pm
pheebz88 BRONZE, Concord, New Hampshire
2 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart

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 the new person rather than the good (at least at our school.) 

She sinks into a major depression when Edward leaves and seems almost suicidal...which shows the sexism right there.

Overall...a very well written article!  Great job!


Angelnight16 said...
on Mar. 6 2011 at 6:14 pm
my sentiments exactly...

angelnight16 said...
on 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 said...
on 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?

on Feb. 26 2011 at 9:28 am
AthenaBook SILVER, Arlington, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
You should not live the way the world asks, but the way that you ask of yourself.

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 just as much power as boys, and it is sad that there is such little faith in them in many places. For the girls who have stood up- YOU ROCK!

on Feb. 21 2011 at 4:05 pm
AelitaReloaded PLATINUM, Scottsdale, Arizona
22 articles 0 photos 179 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The pen is mightier than the sword" author unknown (to me)

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 that you're being a bit too harsh with eachother.  We all have our own opinions, but I've scrolled down the comments, and some of the insults seem a bit personal.  Let's all get along, (yeah, I know... that probably sounded cliche.)  Just because we are on the internet doesn't mean we can use our screen names as cloaks of invisibility.  We should treat eachother with the same respect that we would face to face.

SunnyWinter said...
on 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

Anonymous said...
on Feb. 17 2011 at 6:51 am

dramaticgirl16-

Thanks for your reply!

But my friend, this is a website dedicated to people’s opinions, no?  You and I both have the same justification to discuss our love or dislike of any certain topic, as we’ve agreed before, correct?  Thus, regardless of however many people may disagree with me, your point is again unrelated to the conversation.


on Feb. 15 2011 at 5:51 pm
dramaticgirl16 GOLD, New Gloucester, ME, Maine
17 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know that you are in love when the hardest thing to do is say good-bye!!

Just don't even talk about "Twilight" if you don't appreciate its, pointless because there are many more people that will be against you than with you. Maybe if you stopped dwelling on the negative aspects of the book, you would see the value that it has.

on Feb. 11 2011 at 9:57 am
Hawthorn BRONZE, Nowheresville, Maine
3 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Know Thy Enemy" Sun Tzu

Technically, your'e probably a teenager too and I somehow doubt that you are very influenced by twilight. Yes I would like to have a werewolf fall in love with me but that is not because of twilight, it is because of the fact that my friend is making one of the world's greatest werewolf manga comics and everyone working on it is sort of in love with Dysuke (I can never spell his name) Sakamoto, who is a werewolf.    

on Feb. 11 2011 at 9:49 am
Hawthorn BRONZE, Nowheresville, Maine
3 articles 0 photos 55 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Know Thy Enemy" Sun Tzu

Umm, Edward isn't alive. He's a vampire which in any dictionary is defined as an undead person/thing/animal which sucks blood to remain in existence.


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