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.

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This article has 589 comments.


on Jun. 6 2010 at 12:52 pm
dolfinsfan SILVER, Gardnerville, Nevada
8 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"'The real geniuses are artists.'"





- Alaska in John Green's "Looking For Alaska"
"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."





- M. Kathleen Casey

I agree with this article. Although I don't believe it's that sexist, I would agree about how no girl should look up to Bella. I think that she starts out fine in the series but later on she becomes selfish once she realizes that Edwad will give her whatever she wants.

on Jun. 5 2010 at 12:07 am
Daydreamer1997 BRONZE, Lompoc, California
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in procession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife- Jane Austen
I find this quote from Jane hilarious.

I agree completely. When I first read Twilight I loved it, but I read it a second time and took a double take. I'm the kind of girl if someone leads me on and then dumps me, goodbye forever.

Lulu said...
on Jun. 2 2010 at 6:38 pm
For those of you who consider the statements made in the article true: perhaps certain themes are slightly sexist, but consider the fact that Edward "falls apart" when not around Bella as well. In Book Two, New Moon, he confesses that he would not have been able to go for such a long time without her and if she had not found him, he most likely would have come back for her. And perhaps Bella is so glad that her mother has Phil not because she is a woman, but because she is childish and somewhat reckless. And Charlie is certainly not portrayed as very strong- he is shown as a quiet, somewhat weak and overwhelmed man. While it is unhealthy for girls to go all their lives craving their "Edward," i do not think this book is sexist. 

on May. 29 2010 at 5:28 pm
EccePuellaScriptis112, Raleigh, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.”
-Deb Caletti

I just wanted say that this opinion is coming from someone who has read all the books and actually enjoyed them a bit. But the whole "Prince Charming is my oxygen" concept seriously annoys me.

on May. 29 2010 at 5:24 pm
EccePuellaScriptis112, Raleigh, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.”
-Deb Caletti

FINALLY! Someone agrees with me that Twilight is completely sexist. I hate how Bella totally relies on Edward to even function and pretty much falls apart after he leaves. They're high school sweethearts, not a married couple, okay? It's just pathetic that a girl's entire well-being relies on her high school boyfriend, even if he is a gorgeous vampire.

on May. 21 2010 at 2:03 pm
MarinaOreo GOLD, King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 148 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your soul is the whole world" -Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

haha i understand :)

on May. 21 2010 at 12:48 am
StarlightStormcloud, Pasadena, California
0 articles 3 photos 34 comments
Well I actually meant it in the sense that there are bad guys out there who will become overly protective and obsessive over you, leading to an unhealthy relationship.  anyways, lol :) 

on May. 18 2010 at 2:58 pm
MarinaOreo GOLD, King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 148 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your soul is the whole world" -Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I find that funny. I suppose you could say there is an Edward out there (just not in vampire form.) I guess girls view Edward as perfect, and the view on perfection is an opinion, so you're right there are Edward Cullen's out there. :)

on May. 18 2010 at 11:52 am
LittleRedd SILVER, Wilmington, Delaware
5 articles 0 photos 8 comments
I'm glad to find people to share my opinion about that book.  what you're saying is completely true, and the fact that so many girls want to find their Edward bothers me.

on May. 17 2010 at 5:24 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

but, do u think if stefanie had made bella a stronger character, would the series hav still made the same imfamous impact?

on May. 17 2010 at 12:05 am
StarlightStormcloud, Pasadena, California
0 articles 3 photos 34 comments
Actually, that's interesting, because I think girls need to realize that there IS and Edward out there.  But first they need to realize that Edwards are extremely bad for ze health and should be avoided at all costs...

on May. 17 2010 at 12:00 am
StarlightStormcloud, Pasadena, California
0 articles 3 photos 34 comments
During the first book, I really took it as just a story.  It was intriguing because Edward was so abusive and because their relationship was so unconventional.  I hadn't enough time to become annoyed with either character, so I enjoyed it immensely.  I don't think that authors should feel like they're obligated to create their characters in a certain way to avoid sounding 'sexist.'  Sometimes this is just how they imagined it and subsequently crafted their story.  I don't think that the heat from Twilight's popularity should drive the writer to change the story or characters to adhere to non sexist sounding plot lines. 

MayDay SILVER said...
on May. 16 2010 at 9:13 pm
MayDay SILVER, Bloomington, Indiana
6 articles 14 photos 88 comments

Favorite Quote:
I don't jugde if you don't jugde.

You are absolutely right. I never thought about it that way!

Team-Chloe said...
on May. 16 2010 at 8:32 pm

I understand totally what you're comming from. I have fallen under Twilight's spell, BUT the thing in the saga that bugs me the most is Bella. The helpless human girl, needing to be saved, and when her boyfriend leaves she has about the personalaity of a rock.

And Edward, serisously? We he leaves to hunt, he disabels her car, people.

Team Jacob :D


on May. 16 2010 at 7:33 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. good writing, but im sorry, i aint going to change my opinion because someone says something is sexist. twilight is still one of my all time favorite books.

Ray_ve543 said...
on May. 16 2010 at 5:22 pm
Wow... I never really thought of it that way. I understand that Twilight is sexist and completely agree. However, I don't think that Bella is "an evil temptress trying to persuade a morally honorable man into evil" I think that's taking it a little too far. But we all have to remember that it is just a fictional book of a romance that I'm sure millions of girls fantasize about. Sure, the media has taken this thing waaay too far and, sure, people are buying into the hype, but at the end of the day I think that someone, preferably the parents, need to talk to their teens and tell them frankly that Edward's and Bella's relationship doesn't exist. Let's just hope that the teenagers understand that.

D.Monae SILVER said...
on May. 16 2010 at 4:18 pm
D.Monae SILVER, Appomattox, Virginia
9 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I'll cool your butt off if you think your hot stuff!"

I love Harry Potter but I dont understand all of the controversy between Twilight and Harry Potter! Do you if so please tell me!

Thnks.


on May. 15 2010 at 10:38 am
SlightlySarcastic BRONZE, Livonia, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices." - John Green

Eclipse then. Haven't even looked at the books in forever. ^_^

on May. 15 2010 at 9:43 am
Drama_Queen13 DIAMOND, Nantucket, Massachusetts
51 articles 0 photos 108 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Live Life Like A Song."

That was Eclipse, actully. And it's the Cullens fault for listening to him. Although I don't trust Jacob either....lolz

on May. 15 2010 at 9:40 am
Drama_Queen13 DIAMOND, Nantucket, Massachusetts
51 articles 0 photos 108 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Live Life Like A Song."

I used to love Twilight and I too wanted my own Edward. I'm no longer a fan after I began to open my eyes and see how annoyingly over-protective Edward was and how I liked other, traditional Vampire romances much better (example: The Vampire Diaries). However, I do not agree that every relationship in the saga is "sexist". I would like to draw your attention to Jasper & Alice. If you hadn't noticed, Alice has total control in the relationship while Jasper follows her helplessly. While I don't think it's great that she controls him that way, Alice is "wearing the pants" so to speck. Another example is Rosalie and Emmett. Rosalie does whatever she wants, whenever she wants and if anyone stops her; they're most likely going to get their head ripped off. Emmett never tries to control Rosalie or her decisions. And finally, Bella and Edward. Bella IS helpless; it's her chracter. I don't LIKE that it's her character, but she is who she is. But Edward is not "abusive" in anyway. This was a great article, but realize there are many more ways to look at this rather than just deeming it as "sexist"