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

January 28, 2009
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 589 comments. Post your own now!

HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm
i used to want to read Twilight, but now I just think that the "love" that Edward and Bella have is just sappy.  Bella is so pathetic.  really.  pretty much nothing can make vampire appeal to me.  and the movie Edward is not that good looking.  i liked him better as Cedric.
xxxrEnxxx replied...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm
agreed ^.^
cr8artchick said...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Say what? Bella currupts Edward?!!! I thought that is was just the opposite, as she turns into an "evil vampire." And Edward, moral? Yeah right.


EdenDreams said...
Dec. 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm
I hate how people hate Twilight so much. It's just a book! And after all, it is a good book. I'm not saying it's prime liturature or a book that will move mountains and is meaningful, but I loved reading it! Also, Stephanie Meyer was not writing the book to say "Women are lesser than men." It is an interpretation, just like the Bible can be interpreted (sometimes wrongly). But all in all, I just think it's a good book and I think people only post about this just to spark up a disagreement! Peopl... (more »)
IamtheshyStargirl said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Interesting, Your points are... relevent, I guess.

I've never read Twilight, and I haven't watched any of the movies. I know the basics of it, but how couldn't I, really, when I have so many Twilight-obsessed friends?


DawnMarie said...
Dec. 11, 2010 at 9:45 am
I agree with many of your points, but very strongly on the point that Bella is so dependent on Edward. I just finished up reading Twilight, and phrases like "Don't leave me!" and "You're my life now" really shocked me. 
Sarah416 said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 11:10 am
I could not agree more; through out the entire book Bella was portrayed as passive and helpless. She was never in control of her own life. Especially in the second book New Moon, in which she spends most of the book locked in her room crying because Edward has left her. I can't believe how many young girls look at Bella's situation and idealize it.  
writergirl13 said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Thank you so much for finally voicing that!!! You have no idea how long I have been telling my Twi-hard friends this stuff! I used to be a fan (not hard-core or anything, just read the books twice) but eventually that all really came crashing down on me when I was past the glory of it all. You're absolutely right; it is sexist, sending the wrong example, and, others might even argue, immoral in some ways. I agree absolutely. 
No One said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I agree.  And there are so many things about Twilight that I just don't like.  The fact that Bella tries over and over to get Edward in bed is ridiculous and 12 year old girls don't need to be reading about it.  Really, the age doesn't matter; girls who are in-love with Twilight may try to be like Bella to get their Edward (who of course doesn't exist seeing how sparkly fairy's aren't real).  And by being like Bella, they may do something stupid which, of course, Bella is ... (more »)

Dragonscribe said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm
Also - this is ironic - as I was writing my comment below I saw an add on the screen that said, "Fall in love with your own Edward...a personalized romance novel". So maybe you make a good point...but still. It's not that bad.
Dragonscribe said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Well, I'm not a huge Twilight fan either - but I don't think that's Stephenie Meyer intended the book to be. Twilight is just a clever romance between the mortal and immortal; it's catchy, it's trendy, it's fun to read and that's about it. As a girl myself, I don't find myself suddenly swooning after Edward-like figures just because I read the books.
dramaticgirl16 said...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

Look. You , Anonymous, have the right to dislike Twilight and I respect your decision to dislike it. However, you fail to uncover the real purpose and meaning of this story. Twilight isn't about logic, equality, or a abusive relationship with a boyfriend. Twilight is about two people who think they are nothing special, who don't understand how anyone could love them fall in love. It explains the meaning of love, because the truth is if you loved someone enough you would be willing to go to gr... (more »)

dramaticgirl16 replied...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 10:34 am
Opps I meant to reply to someone elses comment with this. But it goes for the person who wrote this article to.
dramaticgirl16 replied...
Nov. 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

Dear Author,

Sorry I realize my comment was a bit harsh, but I had to state my opinion. Its nothing against you personally just your opinion on this story.

Anonymous replied...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 6:41 am


What a fitting screen name for yourself!  Did you choose it because your thesis is vague or your viewpoint is unoriginally cliché?

Thank you for first pointing out that you respect my opinion, because I respect yours just as equally.  However, that does not mean that that I cannot prove your point invalid.  This particular article is about Twilight’s “real purpose,” but on equality.  We are talking about one ... (more »)

dramaticgirl16 replied...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm
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.
Anonymous replied...
Feb. 17, 2011 at 6:51 am


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.

hancampbell said...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 12:47 am
I read the whole series, and I thought it was alright. Not super amazing, but not awful. I think the movies are blown way out of proportion, but that's a different story. I agree with you on the majority of this. Also, in the 4th book (I think it's the 4th book), Bella gives up everything to become a vampire, which goes back to the moral of changing who you are for a guy. I get that it's just a love story and what not, but I still think that writing a series in which the concluding book involves... (more »)
schlage said...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I noticed that in twilight when bella first arrives in Forks everyone wants to be her friend. She had 2 guys that all of a sudden liked her. (not including edward) The thing is that Bella was always socially awkward. Why is everyone all of a sudden attracted to the new antisocial girl.


DefyingDancer said...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm
The only female character I like is Alice. GO TEAM ALICE!
Site Feedback