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

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
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.

Join the Discussion

This article has 589 comments. Post your own now!

BookWorm579 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 21, 2009 at 4:17 am
While I don't quite think that Bella is an "evil temptress" (and think that Eve wasn't really an evil temptress either), I do agree with everything else. My idea of a healthy relationship is one in which neither member places their entire well-being on the other and each knows when to fight his or her own battles. Balla's and Edward's relationship seems much too one-sided.
Team,Eward,and,Bella said...
Apr. 20, 2009 at 11:35 pm
Are you kidding me..Edward is trying to keep her alive becasue he cant stand to be without her..Bella does not asked to be saved so why say she is a bad influence on younger viewers and she is not a EVIL TEMTRESS...Edward and Bella do not have physical relations untill they are married.And even then she cant tempt him..and she is not trying to give up her life she just wants to be equal to him and he loves her enough to do it towards the end but he wants her to stay human cause he doesnt want to... (more »)
hayley O. said...
Apr. 20, 2009 at 1:16 am
I agree with some points, i agree with the sexist part. Yes, i agree that they show women as helpless and ineed of a man to fullfill their lives. Although,i did read the books, and i fell in love with them. I do believe every girl want an Edward, and they obsesse over it too. But if you think about it, everyone does want that one person to treat them right, i just think they believe they must find some one exactly like him.
Rebecca H. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 8:51 pm
Edward is a perfectionist who honestly needs to get a life, and the same with Bella minus the perfectionist part. The book is like a romance version of : Having A Relationship with A Vampire for Dummies. The interesting part about the book is the vampire culture, everything else is just boring high school chick-novel.
Evelyn W. said...
Apr. 17, 2009 at 11:14 pm
While I disagree with the "evil temptress" label (Bella? Really? She's far too stupid to really be a temptress, unless it's completely unintentional, in which case, well, it's still really implausible), I agree with most of the sexist stuff. Ironically, the author is a woman. But what really irritates me is the fact that Twilight is hailed as a spectacular piece of literature by teens. Ha. Ha ha. Topaz eyes? Give me a break. And I don't like the way she treated the vampire myth, eith... (more »)
AelitaStonez100 said...
Apr. 17, 2009 at 1:40 am
You are so right! Bella is obsessed over Edward, Edward is too protective, too many guys like bella, and people say that this is a Mary Sue.
... Maybe she is.
Nelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 15, 2009 at 9:34 am
I love Twilight, but I have to agree with some of your points. The idea that Bella needs Edward to survive is craziness, this is not love it is obsession. Also, Edward really is very overly protective and controlling.

If you look past this it really can be a great book.
And soon there will be a new craze, and everyone would have forgotten about Twilight. I'm sure Twilight will not damage the 'future of gender equality.'

Btw, very well writ... (more »)
Theresa S. said...
Apr. 15, 2009 at 1:55 am
I really Love the way you wrote this piece it's really really good, and I agree to a point but I'm WAY to into Twilight to hate the way Edward is. I wish I could find a guy who treats me the way he treats Bella and he's the PERFECT guy to bring to met the parents to. I mean he as GREAT manners so the parents would have a problem with him and you know he'd take good care of you when you're with him, and when you have nobody else to turn to you know you could always turn to him.more »)
chicksplayfootball said...
Apr. 14, 2009 at 10:56 pm
okay, i get it. Twilight is really huge now. But come on, girls are girls. you guys need to stop fantasizing over edward and this book. I agree with the author. Girls should not be influenced by a girl like bella because lets face it the only true edward out there is Robert pattinson and he is -sad to say- just an actor. Bella is toooooooo dependant on Edward I mean it takes a normal girl a few days to get over a guy. even when they are in love. Bella totally ignored her friends and silenced eve... (more »)
edward sux said...
Apr. 14, 2009 at 1:03 am
YOU GO GIRL!!!Edward ticks me off and is way to perfect(the whole series is) I love twilight but there is something seriously wrong with the characters. Bella is way too dependent on Edward and I thought it was a nice change in New Moon for her to be with Jacob but he's also way too perfect. What's your opinion on Jacob? Have you read The Host?
kassy_6824 said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 11:41 pm
I dont agree much with this opinion. The article did open my perspective a little. But i think you need to be a little more open minded. In almost every relationship a girl is dependent on the man. Thats why the man is there. For the girl to lean on. And until you have fully felt love and fallin for it, you cant really judge another
emolover95 said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm
I totally agree with you. It does portray women as the needy gender. While girls are perfectly capable of doing everything by themselves. I think that she portrayed us as the somewhat dumb gender. I one hundred percent agree with you. Great writing. I love your opinion.
JessieWonders said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm
When I first read this article, my stomach dropped to the floor. As soon as you threw in the "evil temptress" line, I had to force myself to read further. Then you acused Edward of being abusive, and eventually labeled the saga as sexist. Immedeately I thought, "Perhaps this author has never truly read the books. Maybe she skimmed through it." Even then, I can't believe how anyone could ever make these decisions based on reading the stories.

Let's begin with the tempting Bella... (more »)
hola14 said...
Apr. 12, 2009 at 5:17 am
I can only partially agree. While I get the whole girls tempt guys thing, it can be turned the other way too. Edward (and his kind for that matter) tempt Bella almost to death. Several times. The relationship goes both ways. But I also have to point out that we were made to have another half. Someone that completes us and while I say it goes almost too far in New Moon but also shows that in real love, you're no whole without them.
lexy L. said...
Apr. 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm
I really liked twilight the book, and i appreciate you showing a different view to how Edward is treating Bella, but you gotta admit it was for her own safety,and he is definitely not abusive. so i must disagree with you, but congrats on putting youre opnion out there!
Adrian S. said...
Apr. 10, 2009 at 5:18 am
I agree with what you have to say to a point. It is wonderfully written, well voiced and all, but i just cant agree fully. My biggest issue: whats wrong with being dependent on a guy? I've always had a problem with how Bella was so overly obsessed with Edward but really, you make it sound like any dependence or help a girl gets from a guy should be frowned upon. I dont think its wrong for a guy to feel he has to protect his girlfriend in the way Edward did Bella. I do think its wrong how... (more »)
jackie14 said...
Apr. 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm
i totally agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!! many of my friend and people i know are obssessed with this series and while the book may have some good points it is not a book i would call the best book of the year it is a love story that is all an unusal vampir one but a vampire/romance novel netherless. great article love your writing style!!!!!
jessie said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm
"No offense, but you have never felt love if you don't understand how Bella felt."

Excuse you. I'm in love, and I've been in love. If ANY man treated me the way Edward treated Bella, I'd kick him to the curb faster than you could say Eddie-kins.
Kate16 said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm
WOW!!! That was totally how I feel. I read them and I thought they were good but not totally awesome. And its sad to see all of these girls giving in to a FICTIONAL character. They need to realize that Edward isnt someone that you would actually want. Thank you for finally shining some light in the darkness that the Twilight fans are consumed in.
ravenwing92 said...
Apr. 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm
One word to this article: Bravismo!

I totally agree with you especially with girls "fallin' in love" with the fictional character of Edward. All the girls, that I have met and have read the saga, wants to find their own guy personification of Edward when there is no guy like Edward because he is fiction and made up, not real. In addition, the guys in reality are human and not vampire. I'm afraid if the girls continue to look for "Edward" that there will be more single, hopeles... (more »)
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback