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!

Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 3, 2010 at 10:29 am
I agree completely! When I first read New Moon and got to the part where Edward left Bella and she became depressed, I wanted to slap her and scream, "Get your own life, girl! You don't need a man! This is the 21st century!"
TheNovaClytie replied...
Sept. 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I COULD NOT READ THOSE STUPID CHAPTERS! u cud b sad, but no freaking DEPRESSED FOR MONTHS. i still just.... it makes me wanna scream.
Bettfreund said...
Sept. 3, 2010 at 9:44 am
Definatly a new take on things... Interesting point of view... that book isn't as great as everyone is making it out to be.
Zazawish777 said...
Aug. 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I love this! you are totaly right! i give it  5stars! 

also, if i read your thing, i will always give it 5 stars! so please check my work and rate and somment ! thanks!

Nauliatyce T. said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm
wow your totally speaking the truth i mean every since this saga ive been obsessed with the passion and the thought that my guy will save its like cindarella all over again and normally i am very passionaite about gender eqaulity. i think this is yet another fantasy that is going to screw up our future society its like 1800's all over again
Hippiechick10 said...
Aug. 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm
Great article- but I don't think Stephenie Meyer was trying to portray the book's plot as sexist. Edward, being a vampire, and finally finding the love of his life, wants to protect Bella, and since he is stronger, sees her as breakable in his world. He wants to shelter her from horror and difficult decisions. Bella is well capable of making choices, and not all of the females in the saga are helpless. Victoria is a villan, Jane is deadly and part of the Volturi, Alice, Esme, and Rosalie  c... (more »)
carolinereads said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm
right on. twilight is very sexist, and in general, is a badly written book.
GabrielleFantasy said...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm
I completely agree.
Katie_Grey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Nothing's new. For years young girls have been swooning over their "prince charming", thinking that they are not important enough without this so called "true love."

Cinderella, Snow White, Elizabeth Bennet, Juliet...

The story might be different, but it's always been the same.

AnneOnnimous replied...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Elizabeth Bennett?!?! Have you read pride and prejudice? Elizabeth Bennett is independent and originally rejects Mr. Darcy. She is the complete opposite of Bella Swan (although Stephenie Meyer seemed to be foolish enough to think that they are indeed similar); Elizabeth is smart, witty, talented, and does not allow herself to be pushed around as Bella does.
Katie_Grey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Their personalities aren't my point.

The general idea of the story...finding that one "perfect" guy stuff...

that's my point. 

I was simply throwing in a variety.

AnneOnnimous replied...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm
ah, okay, I see. However, I still think that Elizabeth was not looking for the perfect guy- in fact, Juliet wasn't much either.
Katie_Grey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I suppose they weren't looking...then again neither was Bella. So I suppose there's another point...for all these characters it just sort of happened. So when it doesn't happen,we feel like we aren't good enough, we go looking and expect to find this sort of "general character."

Then, we look to the girls that get those guys on tv, try too hard to be like them...

it's a tangled mess, really.


AnneOnnimous replied...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 9:50 am
It is indeed.
justbreathe.... said...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. As a student with a desire to major in English myself, I think about things from a true writer's point of view.

Bella is by no means a temptress. She is in love with someone and only wants to belong to them wholly. Also, both parties plan for her to become a vampire. She does not want to go through the transformation without expressing her commitment to Edward. She does not want to have the experience afterwards when (she was told) it ... (more »)

Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 1:13 pm

You'll have to forgive me if I sound rude, but I believe it is you who needs to get over yourself. You must stop acting like you know so much about true love when you yourself say you have never experienced it.

Well, I have. I have found true love. Let me tell you, it is a truly amazing thing. And when you are forced to leave the one you're in love with (stupid army!) it's devestating. Yes, you get sad. Yes, you mope. Yes, you spend days crying. But you do... (more »)

SickImage said...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I think if teenage girls wouldn't have gotten so obsessed with these books, the series would be fine and appriciated.

But seriously? It has taken over little girls' lives. The majority of the teen female readers now have a mind set that one day they will have their own edward or jacob (names not important enough to be capitolized) and that things that occur in the book will eventually take place in their own lives.

Personally I cannot wait until this fad is over and forgotten. I... (more »)

N T. replied...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 11:13 pm
im sorry but how can u say ther names arnt important enough to be capitalized?! it doesnt matter if u dont care for the person always respect a name
SickImage replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Lol I suppose we have a different sense of humor. Yours being one of a high school english teacher, mine being more of E. E. Cummings (a name deserved of capitolization)

Maybe humor is the wrong word.

Anywho, I don't respect their names. They are characters in a book I don't appriciate, if you havn't noticed.

No hard feelings I hope. We just respect different people.

seas.collide This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 10:08 am
Please learn to spell. Thanks.
SickImage replied...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Yes, my spelling is awful.

Hopefully it doesn't distract too many people ;)


bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback