ok. This is a long post. so be warned.
I followed a link from someone's sig, (thanks, it was an interesting read
for those of you who do not have the time to follow the links, i will give you a quick synopsis.
The articles compare Edward to an Alpha romance hero, where he "rules and dictates" over the poor flimsy Bella. It describes how disturbing parallels can be drawn between edward/bella and abusive/controlling relationships. and how he "rapes" bella in a symbolic way, making her void of living without him.
I will give you a few quotes, so you get the idea.
[twilight] reminds me of one of those early romances with the virile alpha hero who dominates and controls the too-stupid-to-live girly girl who at first foolishly defies him, because, you know, he's treating her like shoot. Yet within the space of a few hundred pages she learns she can't fight fate, and that Captain Studly only wants the best for her, no matter how much he abuses her.
Bella, the heroine, is not only completely subjugated to the hero, but lacks agency as well. She serves no purpose except to stare goggle-eyed at Edward, argue with him (naturally she's always proven wrong), and to be repeatedly rescued.
Every time he shows up after he’s decided to talk to Bella, he rescues her, and immediately following sweeps in and manages every detail of her life.
she realizes after she gets to school that her father had put chains on her tires early in the morning, before he left and before she woke up, purely to keep her safe. As Belly realizes that her father was quietly watching out for her, an experience she has little familiarity with, in swoops Edward- literally – to save her by bending flying vans to his will. It’s a subtle moment of underscoring: Bella literally travels from her father’s care to Edward’s care in that moment. From then on, Edward saves her over and over again, sweeping in and managing every detail for her. Her father’s role is merely as a figure in the household, and readers of Midnight Sun know that Edward was as much a figure in that household as Charlie, whether Charlie or Bella knew it or not.
His possession of Bella, even in his mind, is complete and total, and her willingness to follow that possession, since he knows what’s best for her, casts her in a sheepish model that I never recovered from as I read Twilight.
Now before you hurl abusive words at the authors, i suggest you give the articles a read yourself. Read them in an objective manner (ie: leave your "love" for edward and all things twilight at the door.)
From a feminist standpoint i understand COMPLETELY where these authors are coming from. From the feminist perspective, the edward/bella relationship literally SCREAMS of alpha male/weak submissive female. Edward can be seen as a dominating, possessive, dictatorial, overprotective, controlling boyfriend. He oversees EVERYTHING bella does, and scrutinizes her every move. he always knows "what is best" for bella, and she will either follow like a weak puppy, or go against edward- only to be proven wrong. The stalker undertone is also quite disturbing.
And i can also see why the feminist followings are disgusted by bella's character. She can be seen as weak, submissive, flimsy and a damsel in distress. she is promoted as being clumsy, good at nothing, ordinary, nothing special, and completely lacking compared to the "dazzling" Edward. She cannot live without him, and recoils into a shell of a character without his presence (which i always found quite disturbing and annoying).
Bella cannot take care of herself. Hell, she can’t even walk on her own. She’s literally carried everywhere by Edward and Jacob and figuratively carried by everyone else. she also needs Edward to keep her alive, daddy to keep her car maintained, Jacob to take the place of Edward in book two because she can’t muster the strength to get over him alone. She is one of those girls who ALWAYS HAS TO HAVE SOMEONE IN HER LIFE. She can never be alone. She is not strong enough to live life without someone else.
I can also see WHY comparisons are made to abusive relationships. Edward had near COMPLETE control over bella. If his intentions were anything but good, she would be in serious danger (vampire or no vampire.) I mean, stephenie even admits this when edward and bella talk in the meadow about their first encounter. In the science lab, when Edward first "smells" bella and thinks of a hundred ways to kill her. (Edward: "I had to run out, to get away before i could speak the words that would make you follow...you would have come." He promised Bella:"Without a doubt.").
If you look at this book as a "role model" for teens, then yes, this book is shockingly disturbing. It screams of possessive, obsessive themes, and the need to have to "change who you are" in order to be with someone.
BUT IT IS FICTION. IT IS JUST A BOOK. It is not a political satire of our modern world. It is not meant to be a role model for young impressionable girls. It is fantasy, and a means of escape for a few hours.
and what is wrong with falling in love with the book and it's characters. What is wrong with wanting to escape into a world where true love conquers all?
I can see where the irresistible lure of edward stems from: he is entirely committed to Bella. In a society where cheating, playing the field, etc, is all to common, it is refreshing to read about a kind compassionate male who would do anything for the one he loves...and he loves only one. Not to mention that that he didn’t want her just as an easy lay - he was just content to lay beside her.
Yes, Edward had Alpha qualities, but i don't necessarily think that is a bad thing: while he was mysterious, his wishes and desires were clear. He wanted Bella. and he made it quite clear to bella that she SHOULDN'T be with him, and that she were free to walk away.
I saw the story more as a forbidden love/ romeo and Juliette story, not a tale of submission. While i agree - the constant need to protect bella was frustrating at times, I dont believe bella was ever completely submissive - she compromised with edward to gain her own desires. And isn't comprise a valuable life lesson to learn?
It also annoyed me a great deal that edward fond the need to carry/cradle bella everywhere. it drove me INSANE! she has legs! let her use them!As you all know, I am a massive fan of the books. And of edward/bella. And I like many others here, have fallen for the charms of edward completely! But that does not mean in reality that i would want a relationship with a guy who had the same personality traits as Edward.
I couldn't STAND being in such a protective relationship, where my every waking (and sleeping) moment was in his company. Where i had to change my own identity in order to be with a person. Where he attempted to chose my friends (for whatever reason). I don't like when guys try to tell me the "know what is best" for me - even if they are right. I like being independent and being able to be self sufficient, if need be. I would never be that girl who falls to absolute pieces and considers attempting suicide when he tells me he "doesn't want me." I like a bit of privacy every now and then too! I like relationships to be about "you" and "me" and not always "us" and "we" - I like having interests, friends and activities separate from my relationships - and i like he to have the same. Edward/Bella never had this
but at the same time, there were alot of characteristics i LOVED - like his undying and complete commitment to his girl, his ability to compromise - even when he didn't want to, and his COMPLETE respect of bella.
I will finis wih another qoute:
Also, and not particularly on topic, I’d like to throw out a message of support to Stephenie. Never in the history of writing, as far as I know, has an author been so excoriated by so many. She wrote a novel. She didn’t harm little children, betray her country or become an axe murderer. But wow has she been ganged up on in a holy shoot and (not on this site but almost everywhere else) very personal way, with people questioning her motives, her morals, her religion, etc. etc., which really fries my bananas. Absolutely every reader has the right to express her opinion and thank goodness for it!! But I can’t even imagine how much all the personal attacks must hurt and I wish I could send her a hug or three