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.


Dylan0C SILVER said...
on Jan. 6 2016 at 11:01 am
Dylan0C SILVER, Jordan, Minnesota
6 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Success is not for the weak and uncommitted… Sometimes it’s gonna hurt!” – Eric Thomas

While very well written, your argument is inherently flawed. I feel as if you have a clear confirmation bias here. My assumption is that you feel women are marginalized in society so you over analyze media to further a sense of victimhood. From my understanding of the series, Edward is also very troubled. Edward is the "hero" of the story so it seems logical that he "swoops in to save her". Because that's the hero's role in the story, is it not? Also, when a relationship ends, both parties usually feel very "depressed". The reason Bella's feelings are shown more is because the book is written from her point of view. Her obsession is not inherently unhealthy, she's a teenager. If a teen love story fits your criteria for sexism, I'd to hesitant to wonder what other benign occurrences also fit.

on Oct. 27 2013 at 1:56 pm
deafening-fan GOLD, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
10 articles 1 photo 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

This article is so true. I have refused to read Twilight because of its sexism. I know a girl on the bus that loves the books. And keeps yelling at me to read them. But never in my life am I going to read that stuff. I'd rasther read something good, like the Leviathan series. Very strong female protagonist that made me interested the whole way through.

aepets GOLD said...
on Mar. 9 2013 at 9:40 am
aepets GOLD, Rochester, New York
13 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
The lion fell in love with a lamb

I think you are right. 

on Feb. 13 2012 at 7:33 pm
Musicalartist, Xxxxx, Other
0 articles 0 photos 145 comments
I agree with FeelTheRomance.

on Feb. 6 2012 at 7:51 pm
Make your own life time easier take the business loans and all you need.

on Jan. 20 2012 at 5:08 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

And this is not psychoanalyzing. It does not take a genius to come up with exactly what Bella (or any of the characters) means and what her real intentions are. Her character is about as deep as a mud puddle in a desert.

on Jan. 20 2012 at 5:05 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

Because I wanted to find out how millions of girls could fall in love with a story like this. It's either because they haven't really looked close enough and only skipped to the parts where Edward was hot, or they actually did look deeper and they Like the aggressive, whiny, empty characters of this book (I'm pretty sure most correspond to the first option). Plus, considering when I was younger that I liked this book, I wanted to find out why I did. And I found out why. Because Bella is so easy to put yourself into. Any reader can picture themselves being Bella and having this guy with her because she's so empty. That's why they like the story. Because they can pretend They're the ones in bed with Edward. And because it's a pretty easy read, has a very simple plot and doesn't have the big words you find in quality literature. Just because I don't like the story doesn't mean it hasn't impacted me. How can it not impact you? It's everywhere! And you have to make a choice about following the fad just because it has a ripped werewolf and a sparkling stone. It made me realize what I Don't want in my friends and my relationships. It also tells me a lot about the people who Do like it.

on Jan. 17 2012 at 1:30 pm
bookthief PLATINUM, Concord, Massachusetts
20 articles 0 photos 60 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser." -- John W. Gardener

:) Absolutely.

on Jan. 14 2012 at 10:58 am
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Okay, I'm not going to respond to your other points - not because I can't, but because I have a question, and I don't want to continue a pointless debate. My question is: Why are you so intent on psychoanalyzing a fictional character that doesn't impact you at all?

on Jan. 2 2012 at 9:15 am
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

Sure, she doesn't want to hurt anyone. She's human, at least in that way. But then she always gets herself into situations that she knows would hurt people. She doesn't want to hurt her mom, yet she leaves her when she's obviously incapable of doing anything without Phil. She tries to make friends, then purposely ignores them, but then comes back because her daddy told her to. She leads Jacob on in the first 3 books (and a little bit in the fourth), even though she knows it'll hurt him, herself, and Edward. She tries to kill herself in book 2 just to see the ghost image of Edward for a precious little moment without think about her dad, her mom, her friends, Jacob, even Edward, if he were ever able to come back in reality. So maybe she doesn't Want to hurt people, but she Does, not because she gets into those situations but because she creates them. Compassion is a human characteristic, and it isn't just "not wanting" people to get hurt, it's doing something about it. And yes, the only strength she has is something no one can explain. But based on how empty the rest of her character is, I have a theory on why they hear nothing. And "the pain that's all in your head that you can't get rid of?". Bella already has depression.

on Jan. 1 2012 at 8:04 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Bella has other strengths, as well. You're strength doesn't have to be something you do, it can a characteristic. For example, one of Bella's strengths is that she is compassionate - she never wants to hurt anyone. Like when she has to turn down Mike, and Tyler. She does it as kindly and politely as possible. And the "vampiric strength" you speak of is a talent she has as a human, as well. The "shield?" If you read the books, you remember that Edward couldn't read her mind as a human, either. Jane couldn't affect her, and Aro couldn't read her thoughts as well.

on Dec. 30 2011 at 4:22 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

It makes me laugh when I hear the argument that Twilight must be good because it made millions. Well.. so does the drug industry. People don't necessarily buy things because they're good, they buy them because they want them. And as Dumbledore once said "humans have knack for choosing the things that are worst for them."

on Dec. 30 2011 at 4:16 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

I want to know how Jacob is going to explain to Renesme that he was in love with her mother. They're probably just going to pull the "I was just trying to protect you" card if she ever finds out.

on Dec. 30 2011 at 4:11 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

Being a good singer and writer are strengths. Not everyone is strong in the same ways. But Bella doesn't have a strength, that is until she becomes a vampire. Edward plays piano, Carlisle is a doctor, Charlie's a policeman... hmm, I just noticed.. none of the female characters have hobbies.. how (not) surprising. Anyway, Bella does nothing. She doesn't sing, she doesn't do sports, she doesn't paint, she doesn't write, she doesn't hike. The most detailed part of the entire first book that involves her doing something is when she searches the internet, makes a grilled cheese sandwich, and does the laundry. Those are her skills. In the end she needs supernatural vampire powers to do anything useful.

on Dec. 30 2011 at 4:04 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

There's a movie coming out called Brave, I think it's made by the same people who did How to Train Your Dragon, but it's a red-headed girl who is the hero. No sparkly fairy boys included.

on Dec. 30 2011 at 4:02 pm
BlueRain BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
2 articles 5 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control."

Yup. And we don't have to even read the book to uncover the mystery. You read the back cover and it says "Of three things I was absolutely certain. 1: Edward was (bad use of grammar, since it's not past tense) a vampire. Blah blah, he thirsted for my blood (isn't that what vampires do?...) 3: I was in love with him. Great. Story ended. The mystery of the first half of the book is a complete waste because you just gave it away. And if you read the table of contents, the titles of the chapters give it away, especially when you have an epilogue named "the occasion", so the prologue is useless too. You can already tell she won't die.

on Dec. 12 2011 at 8:49 pm
AinuSoulForger, San Diego, California
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Well spoken!

on Sep. 12 2011 at 11:46 am
Rocinante SILVER, Wexford, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 387 comments
I only read the first one but they had too much romance for me...I am a bit squeamish haha nice article. I didn't read the whole series so I don't really have an opinion.

on Aug. 23 2011 at 1:25 am
ThePeaceDaisy BRONZE, Albany, New York
4 articles 5 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” - Unknown
I will change this every week!

And personally, I'm not huge on Edward. I like Jacob better! 

on Aug. 23 2011 at 1:24 am
ThePeaceDaisy BRONZE, Albany, New York
4 articles 5 photos 224 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” - Unknown
I will change this every week!

Wow I didn't even notice the sexist parts! Good job writing that down!


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