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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Lunatic Pandora said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm
You... You're absolutely brilliant. Edward's a mentally abusive jerk to Bella, and she just stands there and takes it because he's a sparkly, copper haired, ocher eyed Adonis, and girls lap it up like dogs and worship Stephenie Meyer. It's awful, but knowing that there's people out there like you who know better than to obsess over this literary train wreck helps me restore just a little bit more faith in humanity. :] Bravo.
Minchan said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm
While some of the comments are getting here make me sad and don't speak well for human kind, I mostly just want to say: GOOD JOB ON SPEAKING OUT!

-heard that this was in a magazine as well-

Twilight is sexist, and it glorifies abuse as well as pedophilia, racism (research the native american tribe it used- you know, the one Jacob Belongs to?) and repeatedly call extreme immaturity just the opposite- Bella is described by other people in the book as being "thirty ... (more »)
JustCommentingHere said...
Apr. 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm
I completely agree and thank you for seeing the light. There's a reason the whole 'symbol' of the series is an apple, and the author's Mormon beliefs are felt throughout the entire series.
This book would not be so horrible, as there are books just as bad out there, except for the way the fans are treating this as the best work of literature in centuries and taking all of the abusive messages to heart.
emmyphan27 said...
Apr. 5, 2009 at 11:01 pm
While reading the Twilight Saga, I was constantly rooting for Bella to smack Edward and/or Jacob upside the head. I agree that she's too weak in the series, but you're reading too much into it -- too in between the lines. She gets saved all the time because she IS weaker than most of the characters in the books, plain and simple. I was glad she finally got a bit of spotlight in the very end (albeit by a bit of an anti-climatic route). Good, well-written article, but mostly fluff without ac... (more »)
Catherine S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 5, 2009 at 1:32 pm
Thankyou for all the complimenting and critical comments. However, I would like to clarify that I'm far from a "book burner"- as someone called me in a below comment.

I'm simply calling for more recognition of underlying social themes in the works we read. "All art is propaganda." (George Orwell)
mariah I. said...
Apr. 4, 2009 at 11:32 pm
twilight is awsome. thats one clear fact to me. and yes, lots of girls would love to have an edward. its every romantisits dream. and bella makes alot of her own desisions and she is smart, the scean with the microscope in book one proves that obviously. and have you read wuthering hights? thats one book i wish book burners had gotten a hold of, but still it has a similar theme as twilight, as do plenty of disney princess clasics. romance novles all dwell on that theme too! you might as well b... (more »)
Malini G. said...
Apr. 4, 2009 at 6:34 pm
Thankyouthankyou!! I totally agree. I loved the saga while I was reading it, but something about Bella's character definately bothered me. The whole goal of Bella's life was to be with Edward. She didn't care about going to college, getting a job, or making any difference in the world. I mean, it's great to love someone like that, but Edward basically became the sole purpose of her life.
But I disagree about there being no other strong female characters. I'm sorry, but both... (more »)
Wolfgirl-loves-vampires said...
Apr. 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm
I wouldn't call Bella a temptress. She's intregued by him, and isn't all "sexsexsexNOW!" like other characters in nocvels aimed at teens.It's a modern-day fairy tale. Yeah, it can get annoying with Bella's continued helplessness. But she's human in a world of mythical creatures- of course she's weak compared to them. She may even symbolize our own human frailty. Nobody criticizes Cinderella or Snow White for having modest dreams about a prince to whisk her away, and nor shou... (more »)
JacobBlack<3 said...
Apr. 3, 2009 at 2:32 pm
I totally disagree with this article. I think the Twilight saga was absolutely amazing. No offense, but you have never felt love if you don't understand how Bella felt. I think Stephanie Meyer is a great writer and I can't wait for the fifth book to hit stores.
Belganie replied...
Jun. 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm
Meyers is a lousy writer!  There is no plot in Twilight and I bet you don't know the writer of this article at all so you can't say they never fell in love!  If they don't understand Bella that just means they may have found a REAL relationship and not a fake one!
CatCave said...
Apr. 3, 2009 at 2:12 am
That is all EXACTLY what i have been trying to tell my twilight obsessed friends. My sister and i agree completely. Your writing is quirky, witty, and fast paced. I loved it. I could really see your stance in this. I mean the series has its good parts, but overall its a failure. Thank you for writing this!
Mad13658 said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm
twilight is not sexist. Bella makes decisions by herself you can see many in breaking dawn. I like twilight but i am not dependant on any man. In my opinion you are wrong.
sharkbait said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm
I 100% agree. Absolutely! This article is incredibly accurate to my knowledge. I think this should be publicized and more known!
jen68 said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm
If a young woman is able to keep her perspective when reading "Twilight" then I agree that, "it's just fiction, get over it." Unfortunately, the Edward character has been idealized by women of all ages and this character is becoming a model for what women want from men. That's why I agree with Catherine S.
Edward is overbearing and demanding. He makes decisions for Bella in a paternalistic way instead of making them WITH her. He treats her as though she has no ability to make up he... (more »)
kale21 said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm
its a book
for real
if you try and relive this you are dumb
its a cute story about a boy and girl
everyone loves a good romance story
Nathaniel said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 4:01 am

Also, as Stephen King as already said: "Stephanie Meyer can't write worth a darn."And she can't! It's sad that literature is going on a rapid decline these day's.

(If you haven't noticed, I am in a strong opinion that Meyer can't write that well)
Gossamer said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 2:51 am
Sorry to say, but you're kind of right. Bella is wayway too obsessed, and Edward is definitely overly controlling. I think that you went a little overboard on the 'evil temptress' thing - after all, there was only one really wrong thing she wanted to get him to do. That 'destroying her soul' bit doesn't really count, since, she was sure becoming a vampire didn't do that.
And the book isn't sexist. There are strong female characters all over. Look at Alice, for examp... (more »)
Amyyy said...
Apr. 1, 2009 at 10:10 pm
I am amazed that you would choose Twilight to be your prey in this writing. So what? It's just a series of books. Nothing more. It's not going to damage all girls for the rest of their life!
AKlore said...
Mar. 31, 2009 at 9:38 pm
Thank you!
sammyLOVES_TWILIGHT said...
Mar. 31, 2009 at 8:23 pm
I totally disagree its just a fiction book i mean seriously people you either like twilight or dont i mean COME ON what she said about bella being an evil temptress and trying to lure a "morally honorable man to evil" is soooooooooo very wrong get your facts straight lady!!!!
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