Twilight: Bella Swan, Anti Feminist

by swonderfulsmarvellous

So, the first instalment of the final part of the Twilight saga is upon us. It’s broken records all over the world this weekend, becoming the biggest US film opening to grace UK cinemas ever. The series itself has earned Stephanie Meyer over $100 million in book sales alone. And it’s because of this popularity that issues regarding the storyline need to be addressed.

Breaking Dawn is, whichever way you look at it, one of the worst bestsellers in recent history. Without the successes of the first 3 books, this one wouldn’t have even been approved by the agent, let alone the publisher. I’m not going to go into all my irritations at the story telling (which, in the first book of the series, is actually pretty good, which makes me think Ms. Meyer just got lazy.) What irritates me the most is how the character of Bella progresses with the help of practically everyone around her.

A whole thesis could be written about Bella, but I’m going to focus on the obvious issue. She is the anti-feminisit. I’m not even a feminist, but Bella Swan had me so riled up by the end of the 4th book that I could hardly contain myself. Bella’s behaviour encourages young girls to give up friendship ties, their education,their family and ultimately, their life for a boy. Okay, so it’s the love of her life. Okay, so it’s only a story. But it’s hard to comprehend how Bella justifies her actions to herself.

The relationship between her and Edward is so intense that it spirals rapidly, causing her at the end of the first novel to declare her wish to become a vampire. It’s ridiculous. And it gives the impression to all those young girls reading and watching the series that it’s okay to throw away your life on a whim. There is no thought process with Bella. There is no internal struggle. By the end of Book 4, and without any personal sacrifice, Bella has got everything she ever wanted. She’s a vampire, married to the love of her life, and a mother to cross breed baby. (I’m not even going to into the dynamics of an undead soul being able to produce a baby.) To girls across the world, Bella Swan is there heroine. She got the life she wanted, she actually did it. But the merits of Bella are obscured by her reliance on the male characters within the books.

Meyer paints a very disturbing image that without Edward, Bella would have lived a one dimensional life. The grey skies of Forks would never have been brightened by Edwards sparkles. The first chapter of Twilight, were, lets face it, dull. It paints an image that without Edward, the character of Bella was redundant. She isn’t Bella without Edward. And that isn’t what young girls need to be hearing. That without a man, a strong protector, they cannot achieve extraordinary things.

For me personally, the biggest flaw with the series is that, ultimately, Bella isn’t a likeable character. I certainly wouldn’t want to be friends with her. She is selfish, reckless, thoughtless. And she’s got 2 guys fighting over her. Isn’t that always the way?