Some of you told me I wouldn’t like Twilight, but I bought the book anyway just to see what all the hoopla was about. Well, I finally finished it, and…I appreciated the romance-factor, but I couldn’t help thinking it was giving girls the wrong idea about love and relationships. I did a feminist reading of Twilight and here’s what bugged me:
1. Bella has no outside hobbies.
After she moves to Washington, Bella makes a few friends, but she’s not interested in them. Mostly her life is about Edward, Edward, Edward. But what relationship can survive that? Take it from Simone de Beauvoir, who writes about this in The Second Sex:
Two lovers destined solely for each other are already dead: they die of ennui, of the slow agony of a love that feeds on itself. (658)
Outside interests breathe life into a relationship. If you want a healthy one, you better get a life, whether you’re a dead vampire or not. On the other hand, Romeo and Juliet were teenagers obsessed with each other, so I don’t know what to make of that. The Twilight Cast In Love At Comic-Con
2. The guys are totally unrealistic.
Women are always writing male characters how we’d like guys to be—not how they really are. We’re setting up expectations. In Twilight’s beach scene, Mike Newton brings Bella "sandwiches and an array of sodas to choose from" (118). Excuse me, but a teenage boy at a beach is either going to be goofing around with the other boys, throwing marshmallows, or spending hours in the water.
3. Bella is brainwashed.
Bella tells us repeatedly that Edward the smug vampire is "too perfect," (256) "flawless," (261) and has an "angel’s face" (262). I nearly got brainwashed. But it’s like, he could kill her at any second, yet she continues to trust and lust. Of course he doesn’t kill her, so we’re supposed to be grateful and think highly of him. Such manly restraint!
But he is always talking down to her about her safety, like she’s a porcelain doll. He tells Bella he can’t leave her alone for a second. Even doing laundry, he speculates she might fall into the dryer. Really? There’s nothing wrong with being a klutz, but even joking like she can’t possibly function…well, that doesn’t do wonders for a girl's confidence. It turns her into a dependent. And as my mom says, no one loves a helpless woman. Obviously, for the story, it's the knight in shining armor thing, I get it, but I don’t have to like it.