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.

on Nov. 6 2009 at 8:54 pm
headinclouds BRONZE, Miami, Florida
3 articles 2 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We were given: Two hands to hold. To legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find."
"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walk"

i <3 buffy, edward annoys me... too wannabe shakespeare...

booklover45 said...
on Oct. 30 2009 at 11:32 pm
what i think is that twilight is a decent book, is good for pleasure reading, but not a book to aspire to. As the series moves on it gets worse and goes back to first problem without a fix until the last book. It drags too long for parts that should've gone faster. Overall, twilight was a good and enjoyable book. New Moon was showing the author trying a new style but unsuccesful. The last one was long, and predictable.

on Oct. 30 2009 at 6:43 pm
NorthernWriter, Fargo, North Dakota
0 articles 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

i personally think the story was just FINE, not that terrific, but somewhat DECENT until everyone started getting obsessed with it.

on Oct. 23 2009 at 9:49 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

The thing that kills me- this author insisted that feminism was a theme! UGH!

on Oct. 23 2009 at 9:48 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

I wish that really happened! Edward is a jerk and Buffy is awesome!

Blade said...
on Oct. 21 2009 at 1:17 pm
Buffy staked Edward in his heart....THE END

boogiebo said...
on Oct. 21 2009 at 1:01 pm
you suck....twilight rocks!!!!!!!!!!! booooo

on Oct. 9 2009 at 3:54 am
Kitten111 SILVER, Watanobbi, Other
6 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit ..... wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad :P

It makes sence but you have taken this to extreme. Twilight is FICTION after all and there are special settings and concequences where it requiers edward to SWOOP IN. The whole sexist thing is vaguely true but what about in the end of breaking dawn when bella saves EVERYONE once shes a vampire. I think its mre like the humans are defenceless and the vampiers save them. Sorry just my thoughts, well written though and your entitled to your opinion. I do get fusturated with where its gone but I dont believe it will have that big an impact on the future.

on Sep. 4 2009 at 9:33 pm
morgie7<3 PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
34 articles 0 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
~Michael Jordan

Ok....I read Twilight and went through a time where i was completely in love with it.... Yes, Edward swoops in to save her but it's not just, like Smiley Riley said, everyday issues that he's saving her from, its stuff thats rele a big deal that she couldn't have handled on her own. But I do see what your saying and I think that Bella is way too dependant on Edward to make her life good...and people are WAYYY too obsessed with the Twilight Saga. Anyway, good job on a piece and thnx for giving everyone a new way of looking at it ;)

on Aug. 28 2009 at 12:56 am
IsobelFree DIAMOND, Hamilton, Other
71 articles 20 photos 298 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As long as there is open road, the familiar has the most formidable competitor." - Anonymous

Okay. I think you totally missed the point. Yes, Edward does "swoop in" and save Bella, hold open the car door for her, etc. And maybe that is a bit sexist, yes. But I think you should keep in mind that EDWARD WAS BORN IN 1901. He was *raised* by those morals. Those types of prejudices were *taught* back then. (Oh yeah, and he is a vampire.)

And maybe Bella is kind of (okay, very) dependant upon Edward, but "an evil temptress"? She loves Edward, and he loves her, and yes, they're dependant upon each other, but they're soul mates. And he is a vampire. And this is fiction. Also, I don't think all the female characters are portrayed as damsels. I mean, come on. What about the character of Alice? She seems to hold her own pretty well. Looking out for the future to protect her loved ones, taking action and going to save Bella, then Edward in New Moon. I think you exaggerated greatly to prove your point.

And I highly doubt a teen book series is going to change the world to that extent. A well written article, but again, I think you missed the point.

on Aug. 25 2009 at 10:30 am
Kayley Hazeldden BRONZE, East Sussex, Other
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Some parts I agree with, but I found twilight a good read and throughly enjoyed it.

Lizzzz said...
on Aug. 24 2009 at 4:39 pm
Thank you so much! I agree with you. Maybe not on the whole Adam and Eve part, but definitely that obsessive love is not love at all, it's power control. I think it's a good series if you don't take it seriously, but of course, after reading it, I myself went through a 'I WANT EDWARD!!!' stage. The truth is, the relationship is not only romanticized, but also justified by the fact he's a vampire. Thank you so much for writing this article.

on Aug. 23 2009 at 2:10 pm
CandyCookieCream BRONZE, Candy Shop, Other
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
Twilight is a dazzling hit, for teen ands adluts. I WOULDN'T say it's about a despreate girl when she meets her beloved Vampire sweetie. You go that wrong- pal! (say what you think...) But it's about a girl who finds a perfect picture in a wrong picture- she would have ever thought sh ecould find thisodd picture at. It's about what you want but cana't amedentally have. About secreats, more like Romeo and Juilet if you ask me. She doesn't equal to an "evil temtress'! Where did that come from. She just can't express love in the right way.

on Aug. 22 2009 at 9:36 pm
Love2Write22 SILVER, Pryor, Oklahoma
6 articles 3 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you reach the end; then stop."

I heavily disagree with this. Edward only "swoops" in when Bella needs to be saved, like, LIFE THREATENING situations. I, personally, do not "look up" to Bella. But I do want an Edward, a boy who genuinely loves me, and would never do anything to hurt or upset me. So, I do not find Twilight sexist in the least. I love the books and movies. Rock on Twilight!!

on Aug. 13 2009 at 5:47 pm
SmileyRiley PLATINUM, Tremont, Illinois
30 articles 0 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You can be a victor without having victims and you can stand tall without standing on someone"

im sorry but i completely disagree. i think you're reading into it too much. edward "swoops" in to save bella in times of MORAL PERIL not hmm should i have eggs or pancakes. and it's not a problem for girls to want an "Edward" although i do not see this peice eye to eye it was very well written. good job

on Aug. 11 2009 at 3:04 am
Kelly Davila SILVER, North Bergen, New Jersey
5 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Although I can see where this view comes from, it can also have a reverse message on the reader. Wouldn't it be highly probably that "twilight" makes girls seem superior? Here we see a creature that is so strong and smart, and yet while he has been in this world for so long he cannot resist a simple, human girl? He continues to be drawn by Bella until he can no longer fight it. Same for Bella's mother. Simple town of Forks can not contain the spirt in this woman so she needs to leave and find life elsewhere. Alice can see the future (very special talent), And the woman hunter is the last of the hunters. With both sides there is much support but I mostly feel the message stands to individual interpretation.

resilva said...
on Aug. 10 2009 at 8:52 pm
I just wanted to compliment you not only on your pointing out the gender relations in the series but your refreshing literary take as Bella and Edward as a modern Adam and Eve. I'm a little jealous that I didn't think of it first. Also, I may have only read the first book, but I think Bella is just too uninteresting to be the narrator of her own book.

on Aug. 10 2009 at 2:13 pm
AlyssaSunico DIAMOND, Taguig City, Other
52 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Music is in a higher revelatiuon than knowledge and wisdom - Ludwig Van Beethoven

That is so true. Though I like the twilight saga I didn't like that it is a bit sexist. To think a girl wrote this.

toxic.monkey said...
on Aug. 8 2009 at 6:22 pm
uhm i really don't know about others, but twilight didn't affect my views on "the perfect guy" and "the perfect couple". bella striked me as...well a drip, really, from the fir

moveahead said...
on Aug. 8 2009 at 12:51 am
I couldn't agree with more with this article. I have read Twilight(only the first book I admit) and I am infuriated. Not only with Bella's obsession with her boyfriend who wants to eat her, but also with the mass obsession of teenage girls across the country. I am getting very sick and tired of this Lion and Lamb business and having very few people point out how disturbing it is. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a good romance (Don't get me wrong, they make up half my movie collection), and there will always be someone there to point out sexist undertones, even if they're not really there. However, I still find Twilight to be genuinly creepy and misleading to its readers.