twilight ant-feminism

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Plenty of vampire-werewolf angst will be hitting the big screen later this month when The Twilight Saga: New Moon debuts in theaters across the country. The stories, penned by author Stephenie Meyer, have resonated with teen girls everywhere who affectionately call themselves, Twihards. This article is written from the perspective of someone who wasn’t familiar with the books, but decided to give the film a chance, and was thoroughly turned off by everything it had to offer.

The protagonist Bella Swan, isn’t a positive representation of what any young girl should aspire to be. She has no identity of her own and is under the constant influence of the male figures in her life. That type of nonchalant attitude towards her manipulation isn’t something that should be projected, especially to women in her age group who are starting to date for the first time.

Here’s the problem with Twilight

Bella Constantly Needs a Male Figure in Her Life.

First Bella lives with her dad, then she becomes immediately infatuated with Edward and from then on, the vampire occupies her thoughts. In New Moon when he takes a leave of absence what’s a girl to do? Find something in them self? NO! Find another man!  Enter Jacob, another troubled male figure who helps her cope with her loss and then leaves her hanging. Whatever happened to sitting down and having some me time?

Bella and Edward’s Double Standard

In Twilight, Edward is pretty much a stalker. He lurks in the shadows and follows Bella’s every move and even goes as far as watching her sleep. For some odd reason that’s considered sexy and dangerous, but in a good way. If the roles were reversed and a woman did that, she would immediately be labeled as a psycho, and the men in the white coats would come after her, but for some odd reason when Edward does it, it’s “romantic.”

twilight anti-feminist

Bella is a Shell of a Human Being.

She has no identity of her own, and literally loses her mind without the constant influence of vampire boy. At the end of Twilight, when Edward attempts to leave her in the hospital, she almost gives herself a stroke. Again in New Moon, when he tells her he has to go (because he’s a danger to her), she’s shown on the ground in the fetal position, looking a junkie whose about to kill herself. I get that they have a chemical bond, but they both exhibit actions towards one another that looks more like a drug addiction not a relationship. Hell, they can’t even have sex because of it, it sounds like they truly just need a fix. What kind of role model is that for 13-year-old girls who think that their crush on Johnny is exactly the same? It’s not okay!

Twilight Objectifies Women

Typically when you think of women being objectified in film it has to do with sex or nudity. In this case it has to do with both Edward and Jacob’s constant coddling of Bella. It’s as if she’s a fragile flower who always has to be protected. Both men make it their life’s work to keep her safe, even more than her own father does. Where’s her brain? Where’s her own sense of self?

twilight's anti-feminist

This is Not a Healthy Relationship

Edward gets Bella to leave her family and friends to appease him, which eventually leads to marriage and a half vampire baby (which shouldn’t be possible since he’s dead)! It’s not OK for anyone, let alone a teenage girl to toss everything to the wind at a boyfriend’s request. It’s also not healthy for you to be drawn to someone who constantly reminds you that he wants to eat you for dinner. Bella really only connects with Edward on a chemical level, and their connection causes her to nearly kill herself multiple times over – that sounds more like meth than love to me.

Overall

These are just a few of the major feminist issues with Stephenie Meyer’s leading lady. For something created by a woman directed at young women it’s sad to see so many negative characteristics in a female driven story. Bella isn’t a strong character and shouldn’t be revered for her behavior in these films. She’s nothing more than a shadow for a man rather than a pillar for herself and not only is that dangerous but it’s a discouraging message to send to girls.

Do you think Bella Swan is a bad influence for young women?