Twilight on Equality | TeenInk

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.


silverkanki said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 4:26 pm
Wonderfuly said!

silverkanki said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 4:23 pm
I agree with you completly and if it were not for the fact that no human can possibly defend themselves from vampires, I would say that having Edward save her all the time is sexist. They should have just made Bella one after the first book so she can defend herself. And I do agree that Bella has an unhealthy obsession with Edward.

ab1993 said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 3:49 pm
ok so everyone who had something to say has a point but the fact is that it what you see. for me it not sexest in any way but to someone elese like the writter of the article everything about the seriers is sexest. so its realy up to the indivishual. and the whole thing about the drug referance that was made. if you realy love someone and they love you back you would do anything for that person no matter what.

kinda lke a drug addict.

i<3jesus223 said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 3:41 pm
Okay... you read way to into this. You see it as a sexist book and it is not like that at ALL! It is about unconditional, undieing love.Yes, Edward is a little over protective, but i think all women want a man who will keep them safe, whether it is our father as a child, an older brother as a teen, or a husband. So i don't believe that the Twilight Saga is sexist, nor Bella not being able to do anything for herself.

Dynasty GOLD said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 3:30 pm
Dynasty GOLD, Rio Grande, Ohio
11 articles 3 photos 29 comments
i never noticed that but doesnt everyone feel that way with thier first love

whatever. said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 3:00 pm
i may be a fan of the series, but i think you have a point. i also agree with someone else's comment that it wasn't intentional in the writing of the series.

hoopkid21 said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 2:31 pm
This book wasn't intentionally made to be sexist or degrade women, which seems to be a logical assumption considering how it was a WOMAN who wrote the book. This is a book for young adults, and a teen's first love tends to be like Edward and Bella's (minus the whole blood sucking, super-power factor). Usually, each person feels like the other is their whole world. So....chilax homes.

SaphireRed1 said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 9:37 am
Ok, this is a series for young adults. It's suppose to be fantasy and taken lightly. If the people who are reading it look too much into it, they come up with all these assumptions (just like this article!). I'm not trying to sound mad, it's just i like the series, and i enjoy all the situations, but that doesn't mean i want my life to be like that. Remember all this is, is a fantasy, take it lightly, don't read too much into it, and just enjoy the twilight saga wave that everyone seems to want to be on at this point in time.

cassie said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 7:55 am
yes i totally agree with you.

cassie said...
on Dec. 1 2009 at 7:53 am
i love this books and in hope that s.m.makes more of them.the movie wasnt as good as the book i cant wait to see new moon!!!!

Catcat BRONZE said...
on Nov. 29 2009 at 7:09 pm
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."

Thanks for the insight into his character, that actually does make a lot of sense.

on Nov. 29 2009 at 6:51 pm
TemptedFiction, Grayson, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 75 comments

Favorite Quote:
A hard part in life is pushing yourself to perfection. Whats even harder is realizing that it's an impossible goal to reach. -created by me-

Awww how do you hate Edward :(

And Jacob!?! oh lordii lol

on Nov. 29 2009 at 6:48 pm
TemptedFiction, Grayson, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 75 comments

Favorite Quote:
A hard part in life is pushing yourself to perfection. Whats even harder is realizing that it's an impossible goal to reach. -created by me-

In my opinion I don't think twilight is being sexist at all, I think that the women put themselves in situations that only the men can help them with. Like in twilight when bella runs to save her mom and realizes it was really james. She's an idiot! So typically her "man" Edward has to come in and swoop her out of danger.

New Moon: Edward leaves, she goes into a depression mode which only Jacob can get her out of. I see where you're going with the whole Male superman coming to her escue thing, but I think that the author makes it like that so we as readers an fans can look up to the men (cause shur as heck don't look up to Bella). I think that Meyer is making this series so that we all have fantasies about some hot vampire who's madly in love with you and will preotect you from any sorts of danger.

on Nov. 24 2009 at 4:13 pm
AnneOnnimous BRONZE, Peterborough Ontario, Other
3 articles 0 photos 147 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."
— John Green

this is good, but i think you sort of missed the point of the series. Don't get me wrong- i hate the series and i'm not defending it. But it's not that bella is the bad one for loving Ed, its't hat they are in love but Edward doesnt want to hurt her. It's not feminist really, altough bella is very helpless. Also i hate how the author clearly thinks bella is the coolest ever and that it makes sense for everyone to help bella, even though bella is rather boring actually.

on Nov. 22 2009 at 10:00 am
Miss_Bliss GOLD, Waban, Massachusetts
17 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

-Thomas Edison

Oh, wow! I'd never thought of the books this way, but you're completely right! I was never really a fan of the series (with the exception of New Moon, because I like Jacob and really HATE Edward), and this gives me even more of a reason to dislike them. Though I think (and hope) it was unintentional, in writing the series Stephanie Meyer brainwashed LOADS of young female readers. I went to see New Moon on Friday, and most of the theater was filled with young girls who screamed when Rob Pattinson appeared on the screen (for the record, I booed) and proudly displayed their "Team Edward"/"Team Jacob" shirts. It's horribly irritating for me to see so many girls my age act like this--it really IS like they're all waiting for their own Edward, someone they become absolutely ADDICTED to seeing. I guess Jacob was kind of like that, too, but he gave her more room to do what she wanted (Edward would NEVER have let Bella try and ride a motorcycle on her own--or at all). He sums it all up when he says compares Edward to a drug--something Bella can't live without. In this way, the series is horribly messed up. Stephanie Meyer plays to the ideal that men have power over women, and in doing so has convinced many that that type of relationship is "right."

Ahh, I've been ranting! I've wanted to for a while... Anyway, GREAT job--not only is your point a VERY good one, but your writing is great, too (and so deliciously scathing!). Keep up the good work!

on Nov. 17 2009 at 12:32 pm
Oh wow thanks for the huge spoiler.

on Nov. 14 2009 at 7:38 pm
ThimbleBostich BRONZE, Keller, Texas
4 articles 7 photos 31 comments
I agree with a lot of this. I do agree that the way Bella is portrayed is helpless and "damsel in distress"-esque, but I can understand why it seems like Edward always makes her choices or swoops in to save her. He is from the past, and in his time period women weren't as respected as they are now. Not that it justifies the sexism found in the series, but that's why it makes it seem like Bella is an utterly helpless woman. I read the book four years ago now and can't believe how controversial it is. It's nice to see that a mature article like this is being viewed and published though, so congratulations. This is really well thought out and true, unlike a lot of over-obsessed haters/lovers of the book.

on Nov. 8 2009 at 2:19 pm
CaseyLeigh PLATINUM, Moraga, California
31 articles 6 photos 137 comments

Favorite Quote:
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to.

I absolutely love the original viewpoint. Well done!

on Nov. 7 2009 at 8:08 pm
theflamingorange BRONZE, San Jose, California
1 article 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal." -Jane Austen

Sorry, my comment wasn't very clear. I meant the author of the Twilight books. I enjoyed your article and should've made that clearer.

Catcat BRONZE said...
on Nov. 7 2009 at 9:25 am
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."

Actually, I never insisted that feminism is a theme of the book. This is a method of literary analysis called feminist criticism.

What kills me is when people are clearly ignorant about a certain subject, and still feel the need to run their mouths about it.