Seeing as there is a new Twilight book out, it only seems fair that I give the series a little credit. Twilight for me opened the doors to Young Adult and even when I look back on it now and cringe a little, I still can’t bring myself to hate it. My copies are mismatched, missing dust covers and the spines are broken fatally. I read this series continuously and I really should pick it up again one day….
In the very, very distant future.
The saga is everything I aspire NOT to be. The saga represents EVERYTHING a young teenage girl should not want from a relationship and the limits of her abilities.
Let me explain.
I got into Twilight through the film franchise- yes I know; very cliche; I’ve heard it all. But I did. I was 11 years old. I watched it once… and I then turned it back on and watched it again. I then read the book, followed by many companion reads which I donated happily to the charity shop as soon as I could.
When we meet Edward in the first book, all the mysterious oo-aaah, and bronze-orange-gold-amazing-caramel hair/eyes captivated me (I WAS 11!). For me at that age, all the mystery and romance was great.
I fell in love with the idea of Twilight and Edward Cullen especially, like any other 11 year old girl I knew. And throughout the years I read all of the books a few times over, and by the time the last film was released it had fallen out of fashion for me; I was over Edward Cullen and Twilight.
It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve realised just how unhealthy the saga was. Edward leaves his obviously unstable girlfriend- like what the hell Bella, you are literally the Overly-Attached Girlfriend meme- to then go and attempt to commit suicide following her presumed death. Unstable much?
But my main issue with Twilight is not with the men of this saga, but with Bella; our protagonist who really is more our antagonist.
I have a few points.
- Loses the will to live after being rejected and left by Edward, entering a stupor for a good 6 months, only to be awakened by having hallucinations of seeing him which she achieves by putting herself in dangerous situations. For example; getting on the back of a random rough biker’s motorcycle (yes that actually happened) and jumping off cliffs (yes that happened, as well). There was also a pretty crazy storm going on.
- Chooses her boyfriend over family; on multiple occasions. (“Oh, but Edward…”)
- Agrees to marry Edward on the condition that they have sex after they get married.
- Abandons all plans (and doesn’t really want it, anyway) to go to university.
- Instead has a baby, almost killing herself in the process to become a vampire; which is all she wanted in the first place (to never grow old; she’s got issues with her age- SHE TURNS 18).
Yes, this is Bella.
As much as these things do happen in ‘real life’, (except the vampires) I don’t believe that they should be encouraged and represented as positive motifs of love through a Young Adult novel straight into the mind of a young girl, which is where Twilight was aimed at. The morals on which happiness lies with a beautiful boyfriend is not the strong willed voice of women that our society wants to solidify. In heavy contrast against Hermione Granger; Bella is everything we shouldn’t be. Twilight was two steps back for feminism and equality.
I thought we lived for educated and career driven women? Why couldn’t Bella do both? And why, if Twilight couldn’t promote that message, was it one of the biggest fandoms with so much praise? Are we moving forward or backwards here?
I want nothing more than a strong career and a comforting family. Its possible. So why didn’t it happen?
So, yes. I’m over Edward; I’m over Twilight. And I’ll read it again in a few years, probably sometime after I graduate Medical School. It opened my mind back then, I’m glad it did; so I can aspire to be everything Bella wasn’t. I don’t hate Twilight, I don’t love it. It was a learning curve.