Twilight on Equality | Teen Ink

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.

on Nov. 3 2010 at 8:15 pm
elvinchangling55 SILVER, Malverne, New York
6 articles 0 photos 50 comments
I completely agree with you. It was ok while reading them, but the hype is disproportionate to its appeal. The more people who read it and are unaware of its sexist undertones will be sucked in and misinformed. Good  for you bringing this to attention in such a well written way 

maddybaby12 said...
on Oct. 27 2010 at 11:43 am
maddybaby12, Atglen, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
i compeltly agree with you. Shes trying to make him break the rules and turn her into a vampire. Even though they don't age they still kill people. She shouldn't just forget about everyone in her life and turn into a vampire its not right to do that to the people she loves. I love this serious but your right

on Oct. 26 2010 at 11:49 am
ZombieDanceWithMe SILVER, Rockford, Illinois
7 articles 1 photo 98 comments

Favorite Quote:
“To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live”

-Victor Hugo

it was good when I was reading it, but now i really dislike it. I mean, I think the book was well written and all, the style I mean, but now I agree, she depends on him completely, and that's not what a real relationship will ever be...

ttrajedy29 said...
on Oct. 17 2010 at 11:18 am
ttrajedy29, Fleischmanns, New York
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Even though you no longer agree with your article, I do. I like the message your sending to other teen girls out there. Bella became emotionally depressed when she was left by her man. It was as if she couldn't live without him. I feel like that is a huge problem with teen girls nowadays, and I don't like it one bit.

Catcat BRONZE said...
on Oct. 16 2010 at 5:22 pm
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."

This was written a long time ago, and I no longer agree with my own article. I don't even think this is well written...

Nevertheless it's great to read all of your comments, and I love the debate going on in some of the clusters of comments.

Thanks for all of the feedback--

on Oct. 11 2010 at 8:29 pm
lightningscar- BRONZE, Stratford, Other
3 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
There are many causes for which I would die for, but none for which I would kill.

Amazing article! I completly agree.

agreed said...
on Oct. 2 2010 at 2:05 pm
**claps** I was afraid that you were going to say that Twilight furthered equality. You're right that it doesn't.

on Sep. 30 2010 at 11:43 am
Chitra.I PLATINUM, Dubai, Other
44 articles 2 photos 131 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everything makes sense if you think too much about it.


I was sucked into it myself, but now I look at the stack of four books in heavy distaste. While I don't think of Bella as a temptress, it certainly has been said that her 'adorable helplessness' was the most attractive thing about her. And what WAS up with her life revolving around that guy?!

Anyone want the Twilight Saga for free?

on Sep. 25 2010 at 11:01 pm
DaydreamBeliever GOLD, Lockport, Other
15 articles 4 photos 140 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be one hundred minus one day, so that I'll never have to live without you. -Winnie the Pooh

What bothers me about Twilight is Edward. Not sexism or inequality, but the character himself.

I agree that reading about someone so 'perfect' makes  girls feel they need their own. A real person to actually be that smart, caring, well mannered, and good looking as that is completely unrealistic. 

on Sep. 25 2010 at 10:54 pm
DaydreamBeliever GOLD, Lockport, Other
15 articles 4 photos 140 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be one hundred minus one day, so that I'll never have to live without you. -Winnie the Pooh

I agree completely.

I liked the article, it was very well written, but I don't agree with the content.

WickedlyLove said...
on Sep. 25 2010 at 8:54 pm
Sorry, something went wrong with the computer and it repeated.

WickedlyLove said...
on Sep. 25 2010 at 8:52 pm


What I do not understand is the third book...was it really necessary? She could have easily fit it into the second and fourth, but instead Meyer had to write another entire five hundred pages.

And what about the ending to the fourth book? It implies that they (Bella, Edward, family, ect.) will live happily ever after. What kind of message is that to the female readers? Have a man and everything will be absolutely perfect! This is both sexist and unethical. It's makes me unhappy to see so many women actually follow this example.

Keep up the writing. You have a talent for it.

TuffGurl said...
on Sep. 25 2010 at 1:00 pm
Now the article (not the content) is good just work on your words a bit. It flows, but it could be a bit better. Four stars though, easily. Good job on displaying your opinion. :)

TuffGurl said...
on Sep. 25 2010 at 12:59 pm
I respect your opinion, even though I disagree with it. Bella wasn't dependant on Edward, they were just... connected very deeply; I don't know how else to explain it. Bella did go practically catatonic for three months, but imagine that the love of your life -- someone who you love more than yourself or this world -- left you. I would be a bit crazy (though I don't think as crazy as that, but I've never met anyone like Edward). And Bella is okay with leaving her mother with Phil, not because females are completely dependant on males, but because Bella's mother is not very mature. This does not mean that every mother is not mature. These people and the plot line are just the book. Haven't you read a book where some of the things go over board but you like it anyway? I bet you've read the Vampire Diaries. Those go a bit overboard, but I love them also. But that's just my opinion.

on Sep. 19 2010 at 1:25 pm
Still_Waters26 SILVER, Ladysmith, Wisconsin
6 articles 0 photos 88 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We few, we happy few/we band of brothers/For he to-day that sheds his blood with me/Shall be my brother"
-Shakespeare, "Henry V"

Woo hoo! you're right!

on Sep. 14 2010 at 6:36 pm
xRenegadeHeart_ GOLD, --, California
11 articles 0 photos 7 comments
That's SO TRUE!! Me and my friends have talked about it, and how Edward is over-protective and abusive. I mean, if I were her I'd like to think for myself. He's way too controlling. And now that you mention it, that does make sense. Stephenie Meyer seems to have portrayed all the female characters as "damsels in distress." It's incredibly stupid, and I wonder how it got like that?  I just cannot TELL YOU how good it is to finally be able to put how I was feeling about the series into words. That makes perfect sense.  And now tons of girls want a boyfriend who makes all their decisions for them, pushes them around, and only lets them do what he thinks is right. That's just wonderful, don't you think? And I don't really have anything against the series itself, but rather what it portrays. Anyway, this makes perfect sense and I agree completely.

on Sep. 3 2010 at 4:04 pm
MadelineG BRONZE, St. Louis, Missouri
4 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

I think it's wrong that a lot of people are saying that the Twilight Saga is badly written. The book is written well and is interesting to read. I don't necessarily like everything that goes on in the books, but that doesn't mean it is written badly.

on Sep. 3 2010 at 3:59 pm
inksplatters21 SILVER, Mason, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 84 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Character is how you live when no one is watching."

Very true, but i wonder is Stephenie Meyer did it on purpose.

Would you mind reading/commenting on my work?  Thanks

on Sep. 3 2010 at 3:13 pm
d-eadward BRONZE, Victoria, Other
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
//A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim.//
//Maya Angelou//

I totally agree! I felt that Bella needs to get a life while Edward is away. It really annoyed me that she was so helpless. Even in the movies it portrays that she is helpless without Edward, and then ends up finding Jacob, and leading him on when she is still marveling at the fact that Edward is still out there! 

on Sep. 3 2010 at 12:31 pm
TheNovaClytie PLATINUM, Woodhaven, Michigan
30 articles 0 photos 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
If I could run away from my problems, I'd probably get lost, and then new problems would find me.
~Shelby Seeley

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.