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 Aug. 3 2009 at 3:51 pm
americanteen97 SILVER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 79 comments
Okay I am getting sick of all of this. His-Bright-Green-Eyes, I agree with you. Get Over THIS!!!!!!!!!!

on Aug. 2 2009 at 7:19 pm
kellygurl365 SILVER, Cave Junction, Oregon
6 articles 0 photos 21 comments
Okay! well i have to say this i loved this series but i do agree that the views in this book are some what sexist. But it is fiction! I will admit that i had become depressed after reading this book thinking that i will never find a guy like that then it hit me no one on earth ever will! so i got over it! i think this is a very good book to read but in my opinion i think that you should be over a certain age to where you aren't obsessive with it! I think that it is ridiculous how teenage girls have taken this book so seriously and become obsessed! but i agree with your article!nice job!=)

on Jul. 31 2009 at 7:10 pm
AquariusSunandMoon SILVER, Sublette, Illinois
8 articles 17 photos 69 comments
First: I do not 'look up' to Bella (and I know no one who does). Second: Edward is not abusive. He is protecting Bella because the world she now lives in has dangers that are beyond her ability to protect herself from. Third: Ever heard of FICTION???? Bella and Edward can be whoever they want to be (i.e. Bella only being happy around Edward).

on Jul. 30 2009 at 7:42 pm
LoveLikeWoe DIAMOND, LeSueur, MN, Minnesota
54 articles 2 photos 748 comments

Favorite Quote:
Whoever laughs first has the sickest mind.

Okay everyone, IT'S FICTION! WHY ARE WE TALKING TRASH ABOUT IT? and stephanie meyer CAN write. I believe that the books are NOT sexist. They are wonderfully written. and i agree with everything that BellaBarbaric said. she is not helpless. If she was she wouldn't have saved them all in breaking dawn. She would've just died of depression in new moon but she held on. i am really tired of hearing such stupid opinions on this series. it's fiction. shut up and get over it if you dont like it. I do not like this opinion article at all. i highly dissagree.

on Jul. 28 2009 at 11:27 pm
BellaBarbaric BRONZE, Liverpool, Other
1 article 0 photos 12 comments
I don't agree with this at all. I may be slightly bias as a fan of the series but I am also strongly against sexism and if you think Bella Swan is a Evil Temptress you really don't know the series. Bella also is not a helpless female character , she often saves Edward, at the end of New Moon, She is willing to sacrificce herself in Eclipse, saves everyone in Breaking Dawn and she saves Edward from himself and by the end of the series turns him into a better person

on Jul. 25 2009 at 5:05 pm
americanteen97 SILVER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 79 comments
I think I deserve a pony from ..

on Jul. 24 2009 at 2:28 pm
Catherine.L BRONZE, Huddersfield, Other
3 articles 0 photos 7 comments
I think this article has proven some controversy about the Twilight series but to be honest needs it. Personally, books are there to be read and talked about. With Twilight having so many positive comments it's a good idea to see the other side of it. Well written!

on Jul. 21 2009 at 1:20 pm
americanteen97 SILVER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 79 comments
Poorly Written? Ibissforever what are you talking about. They are great. Everyone needs to get over this. The books are NOT SEXIST! Bella is a heroine plenty of times.EVen though I think Edward wouldn't be the perfect boyfriend for girls. Jacob would have been better. And Bella has guts. She waswilling to sacrifice herself in Eclipse for Edward. That shows how far love will go!

on Jul. 17 2009 at 2:15 am
ibissforever BRONZE, Rochester, New York
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I completely agree with this. I notice in some of the other comments people are saying "it's just a book"... but that "just a book" has an effect on a LOT of teenage girls. Edward is presented as the "perfect" boyfriend, when in reality, jealousy and controlling behavior is NOT attractive (examples of this include him taking the engine out of Bella's car so she can't see Jacob). And as to Bella having more of a purpose in life than being with Edward and becoming a sparkly vampire: what is it? She doesn't aspire to anything else. If you can find some other goal she has for her life, I will buy you a pony. Good job, great article, I agree 100%.

Oh, and I have read the books, by the way. All four of them. Twice. I maintain that they're poorly written and sexist.

on Jul. 15 2009 at 12:56 am
biggerinfinities SILVER, Superior, Colorado
7 articles 0 photos 356 comments

Favorite Quote:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Ladies, lets get our facts straight. Edward is FAKE!!!! Bella, again, is FAKE!!! some girls seem to model relationships and themselves after bella and edward and i just gotta say, are we really that stupid???

(Yes i read twilight and Meyer cant write at all.) And i dont care about the book, but the fact that some girls look up to bella! Are you serious? we live in a world where we have tons of technology,food ,resources, and all sorts of things, so cant we be a little more self sufficiant??? i knew a girl once who totally loved edward and was acted pretty helpless herself! pathetic!!! (Ok, so a little ninteenth century, but when people call you bella because you're naturally clumsy, the ninteenth century dosnt sound so bad) any way, thanx if you took time to read this little rant

p.s. jessie, i love you for what you said!!! :) as for Xinwen-what? Mormon values? im Mormon, so please! explain. Im a bit confused about what you said...

on Jul. 11 2009 at 3:42 pm
americanteen97 SILVER, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 79 comments
I am a guy and I love the Twilight series. You made some interesting points that I haven't thought of before. But it isn't two sexist. I think it's just a book. Something for people to enjoy. Plus Stephenie Myers is a woman so you think she is sexist to herself? I was raised to think that boys and girls are equal and even though some of it is sexist it is fine. Bella is not a temptress. Edward loves her. And I know he plays withe her emotions but he wants her to be safe. Is it wrong for a man to want a woman to be safe?

Brooklynn W said...
on Jul. 11 2009 at 1:59 pm
I don't agree with this article.

I agree with PolartheBard.

on Jul. 5 2009 at 1:08 am
SRobserver GOLD, Montreal, Other
11 articles 1 photo 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
" Be yourself , everyone else is taken"

Although I think your writing is absloutley INCREDIBLE, I have to make 1 point.

I agree that Bella is portrayed as helpless in this book , which you obviouslly dislike , but you seem to neglect that she is portrayed in that way because she lives in a place were murderous vampires exist , AS IN BOOK WORLD. So I doubt Stephnie Meyer intended to portraye woman as helpless. Just woman who live in a town with vampires ! Dont you agree?

amyxu said...
on Jun. 24 2009 at 8:37 pm
Wow, a lot of mixed responses to your article. I've never read the twilight series myself, but I've seen the enormous effect it's had on my peers. Many are obsessed but some take it all in moderation. I think that's one of the great things about books because they can be interpreted in so many ways (hence the controversies). Vampires and blood have never held an attraction for me...neither have teen idols like Edward. When people get so obsessed with a storybook character, they are ripping themselves off because they'll be judging others based on that character's words and actions alone. ANYWAY...Your article is very well written and it was an enjoyable read. Keep writing!

on Jun. 23 2009 at 5:51 pm
BonsaiNinja GOLD, Hamilton, Ohio
10 articles 0 photos 5 comments
I certaintly am no Twilight fan, and I find myself nodding at your article. However, despite my own disgust at the personality-lacking heroine that is Bella, I do not believe the books are as extremely sexist as you make them out to be; though they are, at times, close to confirming your fears. And I also believe that many young women are going to face surreal heartbreak over a man that never even exsisted. A puzzling problem indeed.

LaurenQueen said...
on Jun. 17 2009 at 7:31 pm
I tink you have a point, but in new moon and eclipse, bella starts to feel protective of jacob and wants to ease his pain, even though, he, being a werewolf, should be doing the opposite.

on Jun. 15 2009 at 12:35 am
Interesting Article. I agree with your opinion on The Twilight Saga itself but with Bella, who knows. Honestly after reading the whole collection, I think it's fine to say that its shown that Bella has more purposes in life than just being with Edward.


- Kaitlyn

New York

on Jun. 13 2009 at 3:30 am
I agree and disagree. For one thing, yes, the relationship between Bella Swan and Edward Cullen does not exactly send the most positive message to everyone, but I think the fact that Edward is protective is a good thing. Edward cares about Bella but sometimes Bella can be a tad bit obsessed, I'll admit. But I think this message proves to girls around the world that they need a relationship full of protection, not one full of abuse. Sure, the relationship could [and in our society, WILL] lighten up and nothing is going to be absolutely perfect. I think the fans are aware that the book is fiction, and I think they are in love with Robert's fictional character. Most girls are well aware that in this world, Edwards do not exist. At least not perfectly. But I do understand your point, to an extent.

Chrissy_L GOLD said...
on Jun. 12 2009 at 9:12 pm
Chrissy_L GOLD, Ramsey, New Jersey
13 articles 0 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Listen, its a book.

Bella is not evil, I have no idea why you say that even after I've read your article. And the reason Edward "saves" Bella most of the time is because Edward is immortal, Bella is not.

Twilight is a fun romance book that some girls may like a bit too much. But most of us are reasonible, sane people who don't nit-pick our beach reads for "reasons the world thinks women are inferior to men".

on Jun. 11 2009 at 12:34 pm
ThereIsAlwaysHope GOLD, Belfast, Other
19 articles 0 photos 82 comments

Favorite Quote:
'Miles to go before I sleep'
- Robert Frost

Really well written, but I absolutely disagree. x