Twilight on Equality This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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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.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Falcore said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm
when will this awful vampire fad end..... 
deka9 replied...
Jun. 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Hahaha, not for a long time. At least not until the two Breaking Dawn's out. By the way this article has some great points, but I don't think Stephenie intended it to be sexist, and I don't think it is. It's just the classic conflict > romance. Someone rescues someone and then they fall in love. Classic. It's just so happen that it is the norm that man rescues woman. However, I read a few writings where the girl rescues the guy then play hard to get before they fall in love. Hahaha. So... (more »)
rosaliehale said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm
well I agree and I don't. I do think that Bella comes off as a damsel in distres through out the books. And Edward always saves her or makes her decision. All the female characters in this Saga however are not the same. Alice is very independent as is Rosalie and Leah. In breaking Dawn Bella makes the decision to do as she wants with her child and when Alice leaves she keeps her actions a secret from Edward. 
Lost-In-Life said...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm
I completely agree! They show Edward doing everything for Bella. It's annoying. Anyway great article.
WhatIs said...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 5:09 am
I agree, but i still like twlight. i read the books when i was nine, and the last one when i was ten. they were good, because of stephenie's writing. she's got a gift, but it is a tad sexist and me and my friends always say bella is stupid because whenever she has to make a decision she implies "omg i can't do this my head hurts!!!!!" so ur article is true. Some ppl think Stephenie Meyers doesn't have good writing skills, but i do. it's just the book itself has some fallbacks. great artic... (more »)
TheBigG replied...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm
I have to disagree with you on your statement that her writing makes the book good. I believe that it is her writing that ultimately drags it down in ways other than the sexism the writer of this essay mentions (which I find 100% true!). Ever notice how often she uses adjectives and adverbs in place of, well... description? Or maybe how Edward is possibly the most jaded, mindlessly passionate character ever? I say that not meaning the positive passion. Edward didn't notice Bella for looks or a n... (more »)
WhatIs replied...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm
well, i didn't say that her writing makes the book good. i think the really bad part about her writing is that she never truly describes Edward. all he is is a "onyx/honey/butterscotch eyed boy with tousled bronze hair and perfect body..." and all that. 
live.laugh.write replied...
Jun. 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm
Just to jump in real fast. I think one of the reasons she doesn't describe Edward is to let everyone imagin their own perfect guy. I know I don't picture him the same way as my friends to...but yah. Anyways just had to say that real fast.
TuffGurl replied...
Jun. 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm
i actually also read all of the Twilight books when i was nine and I am not ashamed to admit that I do really like them; I am not ashamed to admit that I am excited to see Eclipse; and I am not ashamed to admit that I like Stephenie Meyer in this, but I tried to read her other book but i couldn't. I LOVE TWILIGHT AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY.... and I think now, after a few long years of thinking, that I am on Team Jacob.... even though I know who she picks. 
splenda. replied...
Jul. 9, 2010 at 11:05 pm
by "other book" are you refering to the host? that book is fantastic. its true that its hard to get into, the beginning is a little boring. but honestly, after i finished the whole thing, i loved it. seriously.
JWVon said...
Jun. 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm
Thank you for writing this! I agree entirely with you.
dolfinsfan said...
Jun. 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm
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.
Daydreamer1997 said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 12:07 am
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...
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 ... (more »)
purpleink112 said...
May 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm
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.
Umm I dunno replied...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 5:11 am
i totally agree with u!!!! this is exactly how i feel about the series!!! 
purpleink112 said...
May 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm
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.
Berlynn said...
May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am
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.
StarlightStormcloud said...
May 17, 2010 at 12:00 am
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 t... (more »)
MayDay said...
May 16, 2010 at 9:13 pm
You are absolutely right. I never thought about it that way!
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