A Girl’s Perspective on the Twilight Saga

ElitistGeek was good enough to be a part of Anti-Twilight Week.  It just goes to show you that not every girl who reads Stephenie Meyer’s series swoons.  Enjoy!

Breaking Dawn It’s funny how the first post of Anti-Twilight Week talks about how the series is viewed in the eyes of a male because I’m going to talk about the same thing—but in the eyes of a female.

As I read the books I was admittedly quite captivated by them; however, when I finished the series and took a step back and analyzed the Twilight Saga in its entirety, I was shockingly appalled. When you’re reading the novels, it’s easy to dismiss Edward’s behavior as actions of love rather than abuse or how he suppresses Bella’s independence because he is so adamant about her safety. That’s not even half of it, though, so let’s lay them out and take a closer look.

Edward and Bella’s relationship

Twilight Tree I think the perfect way to describe Edward and Bella’s relationship is to picture Bella on her knees praising Edward as he towers over her with eyes of hate (but they are actually love!). I’m not the first (and certainly won’t be the last) to again say that Edward is called every word in the dictionary that means “beautiful”, “majestic”, or specifically in the first novel “a greek god.”

In the first novel, he is continually praised on his looks, and its more than obvious that the reason Bella can’t stop thinking about him isn’t because she is actually “in love” with him at all, she’s obsessed with how good-looking he is. Even after Edward treated Bella like crap in the beginning, she completely erases that from her mind the moment Edward starts being remotely nice to her.

Now if you look at it in Edward’s eyes, his attraction to Bella started because of the overwhelmingly sweet smell of her blood and because he is intrigued that he can’t read her mind. Obviously, Edward is bound to be intrigued by anyone whose mind he can’t read, so Bella isn’t special in that sense, being attracted to a person of mystery isn’t uncommon. If you take that out of the equation, his main attraction is that he desires her blood which sparks this unnecessary obsession of his to constantly stalk and protect her.

Are any of these things grounds for building a relationship with someone? Absolutely not.

They are grounds for building a disaster, and that’s what they’re relationship is. In fact, this whole notion of Bella and Edward being “in love” is absurd. They are tremendously infatuated with each other and since the story is being told in Bella’s narrative, we’re being presented with an awfully cloudy judgment of Edward in which we only see what she wants to see, which is, anything Edward does is because he loves her.

Remember when Bella is cornered by a group of men at Port Angeles and out of nowhere he comes and saves her and then takes her out to dinner? When we’re reading this, Bella is very grateful, but while she’s having dinner with him does she even consider what he was doing there in Port Angeles in the first place? It’s quite obvious that he had been stalking her but she doesn’t care at all or give it a thought because she’s too busy staring at him with googly eyes about his majestic figure. You don’t dismiss stalking behavior just because a guy is good-looking and takes you to dinner.

Edward and Bella How about the fact that Edward constantly hints at Bella that they shouldn’t be friends because he may harm her, but without any careful thought Bella says that she knows Edward won’t harm her, without knowing a thing about Edward at this point! If someone says to me “What if I’m the bad guy?”, naturally some red flags would go up in my mind, but Bella doesn’t care because of her infatuation with Edward. You wonder what world Bella lives in, but again, Edward’s beauty severely makes her better judgment a haze and practically impairs her to make rational judgments and decisions.

What I’m trying to say is Edward and Bella’s relationship and “love” are 100% irrational and completely unbelievable to readers who take a closer look at this.

Jacob

Edward and Bella, while they are the two main protagonists in the series, are possibly the weakest characters. Bella and Edward lack any real depth, in my opinion. I feel like they are plastic mannequins rather than actual characters to truly relate to because they are both very exaggerated.

You have Bella, self-proclaimed to be plain, weak, unattractive and clumsy. And then Edward who is dreamy, perfect, flawless, and beautiful.

Jacob Jacob, however, was one of my favorite characters because he appealed to me as the most realistic, and I’m genuinely pleased with the character development he undergoes as we see him go from the cute boy who likes Bella to his transformation into a fearless, stubborn, strong-willed werewolf. In fact when we start seeing the whole picture through Jacob’s point of view, this is when the series starts to become truly interesting and believable.

We say that while his suffering from the constant rejection from Bella he makes a great effort to always be there for her like a good friend. Jacob has a very strong character compared to the seemingly perfect Edward is who constantly tormented by Bella and incredibly moody when he says, “No stay away from me, but… no come back here anyway, I love you… but stay away!”

Throughout the series there exists this constant love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, and its pretty obvious from right in the beginning that Bella will pick Edward (even when he, oh I don’t know, abandons her for months).

What’s unbelievable is that in New Moon, we get a little insight into the relationship between Bella and Jacob, and it’s a great big sigh of relief to see that Bella can be with someone who isn’t perfect, but flawed, and this makes Jacob the perfect guy for Bella. They spend a lot of time together but at the end of the day you don’t see Jacob stalking her or always hovering over her, and that’s exactly what she needs, space and freedom. All Jacob wants to do is to be with Bella, and if he can’t then at least be there for her.

Their humorous relationship with each other was formed in such a way that Bella has no problems talking back to Jacob or standing up to him if they are at odds (and believe me they are always arguing about something). It’s too bad Bella rarely shows this against Edward. What I’m trying to say is, Bella would have had a normal and oh so healthy relationship with Jacob, but instead chooses to get back into an abusive relationship with the guy who literally ruined her life for months by leaving her.

But we all know Bella is anything but rational, and that’s why I like Jacob: he may hot-tempered and stubborn, but he’s the most rational and realistic character we can all side with.

Influences on the Target Demographic

Beej wasn’t kidding when he said nothing is ever “mindless, silly fun” because someone will always be impacted nonetheless. In this case, it’s the target demographic that is being impacted, young adolescent females, and I have to say, as a female I’m very displeased with several messages that Twilight may (directly or indirectly) use to influence these young girls.

The first obvious thing is what I had just said previously about Edward and Bella’s relationship. It is no way a perfect relationship and Edward is nowhere near the perfect guy, and it’s important that a young teenage girl who reads this understands this concept at the end of the day. (Like I said, it’s perfectly okay to just read and enjoy the books, but it’s also important to look back and take a closer look and analyze/discuss the reading and take what you can from it).

Twilight Cast I think the main thing that appalls me about Twilight as a female, is how Bella is constantly portrayed as this clumsy and fragile little being. That it almost a tad bit insulting. I understand that compared to a vampire that she is technically fragile, but she gets into the stupidest of situations where she falls or gets hurt; it’s overplayed and tiring to see Bella portrayed as a damsel-in-distress made of glass.

And Edward is all too happy to come to the rescue when she’s hurt or to constantly hover over her with his need to always protect her. This behavior practically strips Bella of her independence (and even later obliterates her desire to even be independent!) and thus she becomes completely co-dependent on Edward.

This is wrong in so many ways.

When Edward disappears to protect her (shocker) from himself, Bella literally goes for months like a zombie and wastes her life like a vegetable just because she refuses to be a independent woman and live her life because her life is supposedly meaningless without Edward.

Let me say it again: Bella can’t live without being co-dependent on Edward. How pathetic and sad.

In fact, she even goes through great lengths (of stupidity I might add) to get herself into danger so she can hear Edward’s voice again in her head telling her stop because he fears for her safety. This is the result of psychological abuse at its best. Edward smothered Bella so much with his need to always protect her that she repeatedly put herself in harm’s way just to hear his voice because of her total obsession with him. Exactly how is this in any way acceptable or healthy?

In the second novel, New Moon, Edward asks Bella to marry him, and she is repulsed by the idea of marriage considering the situation with her parents’ divorce.  Bella even tells Edward her reasons which include the reactions of her parents and what other people would think of her for marrying so young.

I’ve read that a lot of people were very bewildered at Bella’s reaction to the marriage proposal saying, “Who would deny every marrying Edward?” or “I’d say yes in a heartbeat!”

And it’s these very types of reactions that worry me.

I think the main issue here is that marriage is undoubtedly rushed in the novel, and in my honest opinion, Bella is just too young for such a big decision (and I’m pretty sure she knows this, too). However, the oh-so-understanding Edward selfishly tells her that he’s almost 110 years old and thinks it’s time he settled down and uses this—coupled with love—as a justification for marrying her.

“Love does not equal marriage, but marriage equals love” is a very misleading concept among young adolescent females. Just because you’re in love with someone, that does not mean you have to marry them; you can, but you are never required to. On the flip-side, however, marriage does require love.

Edward BagAnyhow, what I’m trying to say is that Edward is unnecessarily rushing marriage and then uses his old age and need for settling down as an excuse when a “good partner” would be very patient and not rush such an important matter. After all Edward is an immortal; he literally has an ad infinitum amount of time. Instead he indirectly forces Bella into a marriage by giving her an ultimatum: if she agrees to marry Edward, it will be Edward who changes her into a vampire, else it is Carlisle who will change Bella after her graduation. As it’s quite obvious that Bella wants it to be Edward that changes her (and Edward knows this!), this is straight up manipulation into making a serious decision.

Isn’t Edward lovely?

And then last but not least, Bella getting pregnant. I can sum up how I feel about this one with a very disapproving shake of my head and a great big SIGH. I feel like the Twilight Saga is a book every mother should give to their daughters to read in the context of “this is what you shouldn’t do”:

  • Enter into an abusive relationship.
  • Give up your independence and be 100% co-dependent on your boyfriend and think your life is meaningless without him.
  • Completely abandon someone who was there for you to get back with someone who abandoned you.
  • Rush into a marriage with said abuser at a young age.
  • Get pregnant and become a mom before you even hit 19.

By the end of the series, Bella has given up her identity, her life’s goals, going to college, and practically turned her back against her family (not to mention lie to them consistently throughout the novels), just to be with a guy who has dismantled her car, kept her at his family’s house against her will, physical maneuvering her to places against her will, continually stalks her, and breaks into her house at night to watch her sleep. Oh that’s right, all that means he loves her. Never mind, then.

What a load of garbage.

Comments

  1. Nice post 🙂

    Y’know, I joke that I’m a bit of an old fashioned chauvinist sometimes but I have to say that I really detest the way so many female characters in books and films are made to be weak or wimper over men. I guess because my mum was such a strong feminist, I believe women should be shown as being strong and capable. It doesn’t mean that they should be butch or physical, but sometimes it’s just about being strong of will and mind.

    Y’know, right now I’m watching the new Star Trek film and I can really appreciate that the Uhura character is strong, confident and yet feminine.
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..Buying Gold Is Like Sex In The Victorian Era =-.

    • What’s really odd is that lots of people said that Uhura was one of the worst characters in the new film because she was so far from what she was in the ’60s show.

      My response: Oh, no! Adaptation happens in an adaptation!

      Good for Uhura.

  2. Yep, couldn’t agree more. The Twilight series portray such a traditional and unrealistic dynamic between the sexes. They make it simple, shallow and idealistic.

    That’s why series like Mad Men, Lost, Fringe and even Grey’s Anatomy are well received. There’s no stereotype, just people.
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Desperate Housewives 6×08 ‘The Coffee Cup’ =-.

    • I agree. The TV shows, books, and movies I love the most are not based around a premise but an ensemble. If the characters are real, I love it. If it’s a neat plot populated by shallow characters, I avoid it.

  3. Longasc

    Congratulations.

    As a male reader, I can tell you that the concerns you had also can be seen from the male perspective: 1.) girls love your looks 2.) you can treat them like shit if you are looking good 3.) they want to get pregnant all the time 4.) they also get pregnant because you then MUST marry them.

    Welcome to the 21st century. We truly live in modern times… not. 😛