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The Feminism of Twilight


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I seem to have a lot of thoughts about Twilight lately. And the funny thing is, my 13 yr old, die hard Twilight fan of a daughter is seeing things similarly. I posted the other day about the lack of ethnicity and then I enjoyed a conversation about it with my kids. During some rare family time, we all sat down and watched New Moon together. This, after Pumpkin announced that she didn’t like the third Twilight movie as much as she thought (she’d just recently seen it a second time). I do not hide my feelings about women’s rights (or anyone’s rights for that matter) from my children, but I think it’s important that the kids make up their own minds. But even without my guidance, Pumpkin discovered that Bella is too attached to having a man in her life.
Given that frame of mind, we re-watched New Moon and enjoyed ourselves as we pointed out Bella’s lack of feminism or self worth during the movie. Not only does Bella need a man to make her life complete, she needs a “super” man of sorts; an all powerful superhuman type of guy. Here are Bella’s other needs and faults as we saw them.
• Bella is very clumsy. VERY clumsy. Always needing to be rescued.
• She lets both men in her life drive her car. Chauvinism much?
• Edward tosses her around a lot; tossing her across a room to escape being bitten, tossing her over his shoulders so they can climb trees, or tossing her away when he thinks they shouldn’t date anymore.
• Jacob also carries Bella around a lot, almost always shirtless. What’s that about?
• Bella is an adrenaline junkie: in New Moon she’s constantly setting herself up to get hurt, and in Eclipse, she cuts herself on purpose.
• Both guys in her life tell her to go away and that they don’t want her. But she won’t believe it.
• Bella leads Jacob on. She’s a close talker and EVERY conversation they have is close up. No wonder the poor boy always tries to kiss her. She is sending him mixed messages!
• She feels like she’s Mother Earth and needs to protect her boyfriends. So…she’s all powerful but yet not worthy of anyone’s love.
• And most importantly, she is willing to die for the love of her life. Why do kids always want to die to prove their love for someone?
I can’t discuss this series without talking about the lack of parenting in this series. I understand that young adult literature usually has parents who are in the background of sorts and that’s OK. But in this story, it doesn’t quite make sense. First of all, the Mom gets remarried first and lets the daughter go and live with the Dad? Who ever heard of such nonsense? And the Dad stays a bachelor forever? That’s kinda odd too. It is the men who usually remarry first. Ok so Charlie is still holding out for Bella’s mom. He needs help. Or to move on. And Charlie, you let Bella sit and mope for months after Edward leaves?? Bad Dad, Bad. Give her a week or something and then talk to her. But no, you let her suffer all fall and winter. Dude, she’s having nightmares and doesn’t eat. She needs some help. Get her some counseling or some Prozac. And how come the mother is no where in the movie? If the daughter is that out of it, the mom should be right there offering her support. Mom’s understand about heartbreak. It’s what we do.

What are you thoughts on the series? Agree or not?

By Pam

My passion is advocating for diversity in children's and YA literature.

7 replies on “The Feminism of Twilight”

good morning I am visiting from the hop. I am not a Twilight fan but I am so glad someone
is taking the time to point these obsevations out to young ladies before they get the wrong impression

Coming by from the hop and following you! hope you can come say hello and follow me if you’d like!

I have read the books and agree wholeheartedly on all you shared. it is ridiculous how they portray bella to only be able to survive daily with edward rescuing her or jacob coming to her side. the parenting is insane to say the least! i haven’t seen the movies but think it is awesome that your daughter recognizes these issues!
great job mom!

http://www.heartofabookworm.blogspot.com

loren, my kids think i’m crazy for arguing my points, but i think that is the beauty of reading; we all know they’re not real but if they WERE. i mean, how many times have you gotten into a heated discussion over mr. darcy? well, at least, i have!

I mostly agree with and wouldn’t argue with your points – especially as they pertain to parenting your children about what is and is not a healthy relationship. I can dismiss most of Bella’s shortcomings becuase Edward is a vampire – she’s not supposed to be able to resist him or get over him. It’s the vampire way to seduce until the human’s out of her mind. This is not a feminist text but I don’t think that makes it “bad” per say. It can be read as a cautionary tale as much as a glorified romance. As far as Bella and Jacob go she’s totally sending mixed signals which isn’t nice. That’s what happens when you learn from ex-boyfriends it’s cool to manipulate people. Anyway, I think that talking to your kids about issues in the text/movies is great.

I agree with everything youre saying. i especially like your point about not being able to resist a vampire, that’s why vampire stories have been popular since, like, forever, right?

Just stopping by from the book blogger hop-I love your design and your header picture-I do not read thr Twilight books myself but my daughters 14 and 16 love them’

rereadinglives.blogspot.com

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