Twilight on Equality | Teen Ink

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.

Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 589 comments.


on Jun. 29 2010 at 7:56 am
TheMalfunctioningWallflower BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
"GET THE CAT!!!"

"I did wood paneling."

"Do not FEAR the Crooked Zipper!! EMBRACE the Crooked Zipper!!!"

"What's better than infinity?"

"Wear your helmets, we'll be reaching speeds of three!"

"You could walk on your hands and catch up to him!"

the fact that Bella cant possibly live without him, makes her incredibly selfish. She wants him as her eternal boyfriend, and Jacob at the same time. She "loves" them both. It doesn't even make sense why she would like him in the first place other than she wants to date a vampire or he was the only guy not asking her out all the time like mike and eric. That just adds to why she is selfish!

ELM522 DIAMOND said...
on Jun. 27 2010 at 9:00 am
ELM522 DIAMOND, Selden, New York
79 articles 0 photos 139 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All those other girls, well they're beautiful, but would they write a song for you?"-"Hey Stephen" by Taylor Swift

you should read Airhead by Meg Cabot. The heroine is a feminist

ELM522 DIAMOND said...
on Jun. 27 2010 at 8:55 am
ELM522 DIAMOND, Selden, New York
79 articles 0 photos 139 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All those other girls, well they're beautiful, but would they write a song for you?"-"Hey Stephen" by Taylor Swift

I agree that she seems extremely like a damsel in distress. I also do not think the Twilight saga is well written whatsoever. I am relieved to know other writers think of this saga as a disappointment.

on Jun. 26 2010 at 5:33 pm
diaphragm BRONZE, Tallahassee, Florida
2 articles 0 photos 86 comments
Sigh....I'm waiting for the day when men will realise women are stronger.

on Jun. 24 2010 at 2:35 pm
Imaginedangerous PLATINUM, Riverton, Utah
31 articles 0 photos 404 comments
This is one reason I dislike the majority of the romance genre...

on Jun. 21 2010 at 12:59 pm
seraphinagreene BRONZE, Fargo, North Dakota
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." ~Mahatma Gandhi

soooo true. i wrote an essay similar to this =] 

on Jun. 19 2010 at 12:34 pm
Belganie BRONZE, Downing, Wisconsin
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Take a run at it.

Meyers is a lousy writer!  There is no plot in Twilight and I bet you don't know the writer of this article at all so you can't say they never fell in love!  If they don't understand Bella that just means they may have found a REAL relationship and not a fake one!

Slushi SILVER said...
on Jun. 12 2010 at 7:26 pm
Slushi SILVER, Toronto, Other
8 articles 1 photo 6 comments
Amazing, the points were right on.

on Jun. 11 2010 at 7:48 pm
Paty_Padilla BRONZE, Bloomington, California
2 articles 0 photos 35 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When you're desperate, that's when you got no choice."
-Donnie Brasco

I don't really believe Twilight itself is sexist, I consider it to be a novel for those who want to escape in a world far beyond their own, but at the same time I sort of agree, but not with the novel, the movie. The way the characters are portrayed make them all seem...inferior, which is where Bella can actually appear to be a vulnerable character in need of an actual man to protect her.

TheBigG said...
on Jun. 9 2010 at 3:56 pm
Yeah, I can. Ever been to a feminist class? How about seen a woman pay for her half of a meal on a date? Or what about the entire thing? Ever read a book where the female is the hero, I mean the one who saves everyone or at least helps, not the annoying do-nothing wish fulfilment stand in?  I'm just saying that the book didn't deserve the attention it got.

Falcore BRONZE said...
on Jun. 9 2010 at 2:09 pm
Falcore BRONZE, Davidsonville, Maryland
3 articles 1 photo 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"its goblin spelled backwards"

when will this awful vampire fad end..... 

on Jun. 9 2010 at 12:33 pm
AnnaNana PLATINUM, Corinth, Mississippi
20 articles 0 photos 52 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live the way you die- All of a sudden: That's the way to go.

well I agree and I don't. I do think that Bella comes off as a damsel in distres through out the books. And Edward always saves her or makes her decision. All the female characters in this Saga however are not the same. Alice is very independent as is Rosalie and Leah. In breaking Dawn Bella makes the decision to do as she wants with her child and when Alice leaves she keeps her actions a secret from Edward. 

on Jun. 8 2010 at 10:46 pm
i_am_nobody SILVER, Belgrade, Montana
7 articles 0 photos 85 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be yourself, don't take anyone's sh*t, and never let them take you alive." -Gerard Way

wow, and what doesn't? i mean seriously, an you name anything?

WhatIs said...
on Jun. 7 2010 at 6:38 pm
well, i didn't say that her writing makes the book good. i think the really bad part about her writing is that she never truly describes Edward. all he is is a "onyx/honey/butterscotch eyed boy with tousled bronze hair and perfect body..." and all that. 

on Jun. 7 2010 at 5:14 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

I completely agree! They show Edward doing everything for Bella. It's annoying. Anyway great article.

TheBigG said...
on Jun. 7 2010 at 3:55 pm
No, I don't think it would. Because Bella is so often depicted as a damsel in distress, it returns to the natural societal expectation for the male to be the female's protector. Therefore, girls find it endearing. And, when Bella finally leaves the distressed position, ANOTHER female is left in her place- Renesmee. But in other words, I think your right when you say Twilight wouldn't be as famous without that aspect. But that doesn't make it a good book. It makes it comply to society and it's depthless views.

TheBigG said...
on Jun. 7 2010 at 3:47 pm
I have to disagree with you on your statement that her writing makes the book good. I believe that it is her writing that ultimately drags it down in ways other than the sexism the writer of this essay mentions (which I find 100% true!). Ever notice how often she uses adjectives and adverbs in place of, well... description? Or maybe how Edward is possibly the most jaded, mindlessly passionate character ever? I say that not meaning the positive passion. Edward didn't notice Bella for looks or a nonconformist aura- he had his head literally ripped in her direction because of his lust for her blood. But now I think I've gotten off topic. Sorry for the rant!

Umm I dunno said...
on Jun. 7 2010 at 5:11 am
i totally agree with u!!!! this is exactly how i feel about the series!!! 

WhatIs said...
on Jun. 7 2010 at 5:09 am
I agree, but i still like twlight. i read the books when i was nine, and the last one when i was ten. they were good, because of stephenie's writing. she's got a gift, but it is a tad sexist and me and my friends always say bella is stupid because whenever she has to make a decision she implies "omg i can't do this my head hurts!!!!!" so ur article is true. Some ppl think Stephenie Meyers doesn't have good writing skills, but i do. it's just the book itself has some fallbacks. great article though!

JWVon BRONZE said...
on Jun. 6 2010 at 7:01 pm
JWVon BRONZE, Atascadero, California
2 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So this leads me to my camera, which was hidden with my phone but was found and put here, so it's useless." - my cousin when we went on a National Treasure-esque hunt to find her phone.

Thank you for writing this! I agree entirely with you.