Twilight and Relationships

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I wasn’t planning on doing a Learn From This about Twilight or even mention Twilight it’s message about relationships. To me, it felt a little too much like beating up a special-needs kid.

Obviously things have changed.

I had been planning to ignore the release of the penultimate movie in the fiction series that JUST! WOULDN’T! DIE1 !! but evidently a number of my readers are planning on seeing it – either against their will2 or with the benefit of some… shall we say chemical enhancement and they have all written in to insist that I write about the damned thing3. And since evidently I am nothing if not a sucker for constant nagging…

Well you win you bastards. Fine. Let’s do this and get it over with4

Twilight is, without a doubt, one of the largest festering cancers inflicted upon the literate -and movie-going – world today.

We’ll ignore the sub-par writing, the fact that Bella is a blatant Mary Sue stand-in for Stephanie Meyer or the fact that it means that Kristen Stewart continues to be convinced that acting consists of “bite your lip” and “dull surprise”.

ACTING!

I shall heroically restrain from pointing out that calling the plot “thin” is an insult to paper and the characters one-dimensional is an insult to spatial relations. I will even not point out the critical research failures that reach almost Dan Brown levels.

Instead, let’s focus on the meat5 of the matter: the relationships and just why this is forming a malignant tumor that will – unfortunately – shape people’s expectations of relationships and how women are supposed to relate to men for years to come.

You’re Nothing Without A Man

Bella’s existence is literally defined by her relationship to men. She’s something to be fought over, angsted over and passed around like a kit-bashed hash pipe at a Phish concert. All of her relationships are entirely dependent on the men in her life, whether father, boyfriend or the platonic-friend-whose-emotions-you’re-not-above-using-to-your-own-ends. Her home town? All about her dad. Her friends? All of them are entirely based on her relationship with two guys.

Quick: Name something that Bella is interested in that isn’t guys. A dream for the future. What she wants to be when she grows up. A freaking hobby.

Wait, motorcycle repair, right? No, that was all about Jacob and Edward. Um… travel? No, same story. Books? Nope: the only books she ever talks about are tied into her lurve for Edward. Movies? Nope.

Future goals? All about her man. No interest in college. No real interest in a career or life outside her relationship.

Oh, and an incredibly violent and painful death. But we’ll get back to that in a moment.

So hey, let’s get to the fact that Bella hates herself. Her entire self-esteem is entirely dependent on her status as “girlfriend”. In fact, when Bella thinks she’s been dumped she has the emotional equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death to the point of becoming suicidal. Over a relationship that is less than a year old. Prior to falling in love with Edward, she sees herself as unattractive, unpopular (despite all evidence to the contrary) and all-around useless at anything except taking care of her dad. Her self-description consists of mousy-brown hair and her klutziness. It’s only until Edward shows interest in her that she starts to feel the subtle stirrings of value.

To Bella – and the young girls reading this – this is the thrill of a man seeing past your unattractive exterior and finding your true self… a man so perceptive that he could find your good points that even you didn’t know you had. To a more jaded eye it’s someone putting the locus of their self-worth entirely in the hands of someone else.

Oh, and did I mention that this is one of the classic ways of controlling women in an abusive relationship? The perceived difference in their standing (Edward is perfect, Bella is lower than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut) gives him leverage over her; he’s so out of her league that she’s lucky he pays attention to her at all… so she needs to accede to him in all things. Keep this in mind too, there will be a quiz later.

There’s Absolutely NOTHING Creepy About Grown Men Wanting To Date 16 Year Olds

This is one of the things that tends to get glossed over as women gush about the dashing Mssr. Cullen is that he’s a grown man who spends most of his time hanging around a schoolyard. A senior citizen, even. By all rights his AARP membership kicked in well over 50 years ago. And he’s interested in a girl who is literally a 1/13th his age. To drive this point home: it’s about the same ratio as a 75 year old man wanting to date a 9 year old.

Pedo Bear Approved!

That’s not a May-December romance, that’s a Mayfly-December romance. But hey, as long as he looks 17, it’s all good, right?

No, not really. Just because his body quit aging, that doesn’t mean his mind didn’t. Time and experience are part of what makes for maturity, not just your physical age. Edward has had over 100 years of life and experience over Bella. Up until the day they met, her life’s biggest moments involved moving to the ass-end of nowhere. His incorporates 6 separate wars, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War, Kent State, the Days of Rage, the House Un-American Activities, the Lindbergh kidnapping, the assassination of a president, the Attorney General and two civil rights leaders in the same year, the Bay of Pigs invasion and one of the worst pandemics in modern history.

What, exactly, are they going to have to talk about? Her complete misunderstanding of Shakespeare and classic Victorian literature? Her algebra homework?

If you really think about it, it's about like this. And good luck getting this out of your head.

Evidently this is a thing for Mrs. Meyer considering that one character falls in love with a two year old and another falls in love with a newborn. And somehow… nobody has a problem with this.

(We’ll ignore that the readers are expected to believe that in the 100+ years since he’d been turned, Edward has never ever had sex. Or a blowjob. Or apparently even masturbated.)

A Woman’s Role Is Marriage And Children. Period.

Remember when I asked about what Bella’s goals are?

They are, in order:

  1. Get married.
  2. Have lots of sex.
  3. Get her throat torn out by a serial-killer and spending eternity as a teenager drinking the blood of the innocent and never having permanent roots in any area for fear of being murdered by the locals and/or causing ecological ruin6.
  4. Have kids.

By the end of the last book, she’s managed to accomplish all of these. But what else does she manage to do? Well, besides ignite a vampire civil war, anyway?

A part-time job. Graduating from high-school.

That’s it.

The only thing of value that she achieves is have a child. The very fact that she gets pregnant at all is seen as a wondrous miracle that every other female character gushes over; it’s repeated over and over again about the void that the female vampires feel because they’re unable to fulfill their womanly duties and how they’d trade everything in order to be fertile again. They’ll have to settle for eternal youth and beauty, riches beyond dreams of avarice instead… and the un-subtle message that they’ve failed as women.

The only female werewolf is similarly cursed; she’s a “genetic dead end” because she can’t do her womanly duty and provide little werewolves to the tribe. Keep in mind: breeding and childbirth is so important to the werewolves that they choose their mates damn near as soon as the girls are born. Leah Clearwater’s infertility is practically her defining trait, over and above her value to the tribe as a warrior.

Bella on the other hand is special because she’s a mom… so special that her sprog is literal deus ex vagina, so special that the bad vampires want to kill it out of sheer jealousy. Giving birth means that Bella gets it all: the super-sexy husband (who will never go to seed, lose his washboard abs or succumb to the ravages of time), the life of leisure, the wealth of Croesus and the satisfaction of being a mother.

Being a mother without the work, by the way. Because her child is so super duper special that she skips the whole “midnight feedings, screaming and shitting herself” stages and leaps straight to adult-hood in the span of a year… so all Bella ever has to do is provide love and all the motherly wisdom and guidance an 18 year old with only a high-school diploma and no life-experience can provide.

(One might be forgiven for noticing the levels of Stephanie Meyer’s frothy mix of resentment, wish-fulfillment and self-justification dripping from the pages…)

Abuse is Love

And here we get to the elephant in the room: Twilight is a four book, five movie treatise to how awesome abusive relationships are. When it comes to the bad relationship advice propagated by Hollywood, Twilight is the poster-child7.

But don’t take my word for it.

Over the course of the series, Edward threatens Bella’s life, threatens to kill himself, scares her with his driving, damages property when angry, makes all the decisions for the both of them and tries to isolate her from others – especially Jacob Black, his romantic rival. He’s thrown her through glass tables and has sex so violent that she’s covered in bruises and broken ribs. He pushes the relationship further and faster than anyone should be comfortable with – by the time they decide they’re dating, Bella is spending literally almost every moment with Edward.

Oh, and he breaks into her house, watches her sleep without her knowledge and follows her wherever she goes.

But it’s ok… he loves her. He just wants to make sure she’s safe.

Now, keeping all that in mind, look up the warning signs of domestic violence and abusive relationships. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Pop quiz: how many of those moments I list were classic warning signs of domestic abuse? SPOILER ALERT: ALL OF THEM.

But again: it’s ok. Edward would never hurt Bella… intentionally. He can’t help it that she makes him want to hurt her, what with her super-delicious blood and all. He doesn’t mean it. He loves her.

Not, mind you, that Jacob is much better. By book 3, Jacob goes from being a living example of what happens when you get stuck in the Friend Zone to deciding that the best way to make someone love you is sexual assault. Bella doesn’t help matters when – even after punching Jacob and running the hell away she decides that oops, she may have feelings too! Not, y’know, enough to keep her from going back to her other abusive boyfriend of course. Just enough to keep jerking Jacob around a bit longer until Edward’s finally willing to come across.

Keep in mind: Bella literally welcomes this abuse as signs that Edward loves her. She compares Edward and herself to Wuthering Height’s Heathcliff and Cathy, apparently never stopping to consider that Heathcliff is an abusive sociopath. Her fondest wish is her violent death at Edward’s hands!

Ladies and gentlemen: the role-model for young girls around the world. This is what people are growing up to believe is “romantic”.

Some motherfucker's always trying to ice-skate uphill.

The only real solace to be had is that the national obsession with Twilight will be coming to a screeching halt once the last movie comes out and girls can model their future relationships after Katniss and Petra instead.

  1. See what I did there? []
  2. suuuuure []
  3. So hard not to use “bloody” instead. I hope you appreciate my restraint []
  4. That’s what she said… []
  5. Look, jokes are just about the only way I’m getting through this, ok? []
  6. Hey, they just feed off animals right? Mostly predators. That makes ‘em ok, right? Sure… until you realize what happens to an ecosystem when you get rid of all the top-level predators []
  7. You know… the one with a black eye who always wears long sleeves and “runs into doorknobs” a lot. []

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Comments

  1. Here here

    • LMWilliams says:

      So, this conversation (dare I say debate?) has gone in many a different way and I can no longer keep my thoughts to myself.

      Yes, this about Vampires and Werewolves… If I recall correctly, those are spooks that come out on Halloween with all the other MONSTERS. Yes, we all love a good sexy vampire flick, but the best one of recent ages was probably Underworld, and guess what? Those were portrayed as MONSTERS, too.

      The thing about Twilight and relationships (this coming from someone who has chosen not to watch or read the things, I'll admit) is the re-iteration of the classic idea that when a woman secures a man into her life, he may be a slob or have flaws unappealing to a traditional relationship (VAMPIRE) but that's okay because she can tame that beast with her… self? On top of that, this whole novel serious is essentially fan fiction written by a woman with the hots for beasts. It's someone's fantasy put out there to be loved and lived by others. So what, young girls can't even imagine for themselves any more? They just dream of themselves in the place of Bella and call it good? If chicks are into this sort of thing at a young age, then we reinforce the idea that "once you have the attention of more than one monstrous guy, you're doing it right."

      Wrong.

  2. Now do one for the relationship of Kermit and Miss Piggy

  3. I am horrified that my 13 year old niece has read this harmful drivel. S&M sounds gentler than this Twilight.

  4. room temp: At least Miss Piggy and Kermit had the decency to let us know what they do is comedy, Unlike this vicious cycle relationship guide which tells girls to take seriously.

    Dr Nerdlove: laughed myself stupid at "Some motherfucker's always trying to ice-skate uphill"

  5. My sister in law tried to loan me twilight years ago. I got through the first 2 pages and quit. It was quite obviously a (badly written) tween book, and worse, its the kind where the characters make poor choices just for the sake of making poor choices and you can clearly envision the author sitting at a desk thinking "hmm.. I need to create tension and drama… but for stupid people." Anita Blake tried the same thing and by Obsidian Butterfly I wanted to throttle Laurell K Hamilton.

    That in itself is fine, I can ignore the book. What frightens me is what is wrong with people that get so mind-bogglingly obsessed with it. What could possibly be missing in your life that you freak out over imaginary SPARKLY man-children??

  6. It's a series about VAMPIRES…unless you believe in vampires, you can't attribute it to real life. You people are ridiculous…unless of course you believe in vampires, then you're just stupid.

  7. Jennifer: So, the only reason we shouldn't look at this as a problematic relationship is because there are vampires and werewolves involved? If all the characters were completely average humans, would we be able to take it seriously then? Are we not supposed to believe that fiction can illustrate and explore real human issues?

    • Oh and on a side note…no I don't think books, movies, TV, music, or video games should be taken this seriously. People have more influence. I worry more about what my kids see on the news and know to be true. That I take seriously…

      • Dr. NerdLove says:

        Yes, fiction has no influence on society. Which is why The Jungle, Roots, Atlas Shrugged and Lady Chatterly's Lover have never ever had any influence on society whatsoever.

        • I didn't say it doesn't have any influence. I said people have more. Do the research.

          • Dr. NerdLove says:

            You aren't familiar with Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, are you? This was a novel – a work of *fiction* – that forced the federal government to regulate food processing in America – particularly in meat-packing plants and slaughterhouses – and then found the Food and Drug Agency to ensure the safety and purity of the very food we eat, the water we drink and the medicines we consume.

            Novels have power, even when you don't want to believe it.

          • Aren’t authors people? They use their writing to help spread their ideas and opinions. They might not have physical contact with everyone who reads their work, but that’s the point of the written word: it spreads ideas farther than anyone could in person.

          • Sure people have influence. Obviously. But so does literature. Look at mein kampf. And the problem really with twilight is not only just how awful the themes are (It genuinely is no exaggeration that Bella has nothing going on other than Edward watching her sleep/ trying not to kill her/ ditching her left right and centre) but how wide spread it is. It has been one of the top selling books for such a long time, and honestly it is hard to see a single positive message it sends out.
            The media I think has a lot of power over people. Especially when directed at teens, as a teenager myself I am fully aware of how much of a time it is to question things, and try to learn as much about views other than the ones you grew up with.
            Twilight is an easy target. Maybe too easy. But it doesn't change the fact that is inflammatory, and goes against so many of the rights that people in the past have fought for.

          • anonwhatev says:

            The bible

            /discussion

        • then surely you must be against all porn and violent movies, dr. nerdlove.

          before you go on about those movies only being available to 18 and older, it's a scientific fact 18 year olds' brains are not mature and are indeed adversely affected by these types of shows. you're a doctor; you'd know that. so, why the fixation on twilight? why isn't the concern spread uniformly?

          speaking of age, edward has never had a romantic relationship with anyone in his entire life, making him extremely immature in that way. that's not to say it's okay older virgins hook up with youngsters in real life. :P it's explained that aging is different for vampires; their phases are longer, some lasting for decades or centuries. in linear time edward may be 100+ but to other vampires, he's still very much a teen/young adult. and if you want to be all technical, bella is 17, which is the age of consent in most states.

          honestly, i feel twilight set the bar higher. i feel like my niece has higher expectations of boys because of it. edward is always concerned with bella's needs first. it's been shown that the most successful relationships are altruistic. altruism is becoming rarer so i'm glad this series highlights it so much.

          bella's self-characterization as plain was meyer's way of showing her humility. edward was first attracted to that, plus her selflessness, revealing his values and that he isn't some shallow perve who only wants to get in her pants. the message, in case you missed it, is that he loved her for what she is and not just what she looks like. "plain" looking girls are worthy of extraordinary love, too. she didn't have to go strutting around in stripper clothes and hooker makeup to get noticed. i say that's a GREAT message girls should be hearing these days.

          almost every complaint i hear about the series is proof to me our civilization is going down the tubes. this "it's all about me" and we-should-love-ourselves-more-than-anyone-else is completely reckless. these are certainly not christian teachings. i'm atheist but jesus is still one of my favorite philosophers.

          self-protection love is stupid. the idea that we should withhold love just in case it doesn't work out is ridiculous. if bella didn't hurt so much when edward left, i would say she didn't really love him very much. but besides that, bella lost an entire family in new moon, including her best friend alice. remember that this family immediately accepted her as their own and risked their lives to protect her. she'd have to be a psychopath not to be deeply affected.

          should she have diversified her friends better so the loss wouldn't have been so great? well, this aint investing and again, self-protection love is stupid.

          i did not have very many hobbies as a teenager. i didn't do anything significant. all my girlfriends were pretty boy crazy. i had the same guy through all of high school. what's wrong with having a protagonist that represents jane average high school girl? clearly a large number of women relate. they've got the same idea in porn- extraordinary things happening to average people. ;)

          oh, and bella constantly bites her bottom lip in the books. kristen stewart was perfect for the role.

          • "if bella didn’t hurt so much when edward left, i would say she didn’t really love him very much."

            So if people don't engage in activities that put them in harm's way, stay catatonic and refuse to move on, and make a suicide atempt (which she did, don't you deny that she wasn't perfectly aware that the dive she took could have killed her) after their relationship is over, that means they didn't really love that person that was with them? Well, that's healthy.

            "oh, and bella constantly bites her bottom lip in the books. kristen stewart was perfect for the role."

            You're right, she perfectly portrayed a boring, unimaginative, bland uninteresting teenager, but considering how low the bar was set, I don't she deserves that much praise.

            "bella’s self-characterization as plain was meyer’s way of showing her humility. edward was first attracted to that, plus her selflessness"

            How is she exactly selfless? What does she do in the entire saga that qualifies as selfless? Well, she did go to try to save her mom, which is probably the one thing that proves she's not a sociopath, but she loses points for emotionally manipulating the people around her, dismissing her father's feelings and for starting a civil war.

            " i feel like my niece has higher expectations of boys because of it. edward is always concerned with bella’s needs first."

            Which is exactly why he forbids her from seeing her friends, decides her every move, and tries to make her terminate a pregnancy she clearly states she wants to carry, what a nice guy, and what a nice lesson for your niece, she's such a lucky girl.

            "it’s explained that aging is different for vampires; their phases are longer, some lasting for decades or centuries. in linear time edward may be 100+ but to other vampires, he’s still very much a teen/young adult."

            Because he's younger compared to them, just as Bella is younger compared to him.

            You mentioned you were in an abusive relationship, and I really don't want to get personal or rude, but since you already gotten personal and rude with the other commenters, I will say that you seem to be still a little damaged if you can't recognize the signs of an abusive relationship in others despite your own experience.

          • "if you want to be all technical, bella is 17, which is the age of consent in most states."

            Sure, let's get technical: http://ageofconsent.com/washington.htm

            The story is set in Washington, where age of consent laws dictate that someone over the age of 16 but below the age of 18 may consent to sexual intercourse if their partner is no more than 59 months older than hir AND the older person is in a 'significant relationship' with hir.

            Technically their relationship is illegal.

            —————————————————-

            'why the fixation on twilight? why isn’t the concern spread uniformly?'

            Because this is an article about Twilight and because people do not view porn as a relationship primer, by your own admission your niece does do this with Twilight. There is a very real (and partially justified) fear that impressionable teenagers will see the relationship between Bella and Edward as something beautiful and perfectly normal. However the article points out that the various aspects of their relationship are textbook examples of signs that a relationship is abusive.

            Do you need a neon sign to point out exactly why it is a bad thing for girls to think of something that resembles an abusive relationship as anything but horrifying? I agree with you that Edward isn't a shallow perv who just wants to get into Bella's pants (in fact, one of the few things I applaud the series on is the fact that it's a teen romance story that isn't driven solely by seeking and/or having intercourse) but the problem is that in the real world the people who classically display behavior that is similar to what Edward does in their relationships ARE the shallow pervs that would see and use their 'partner' only for their own gratification and make it extremely difficult to get out of such a relationship in the process.

            —————————————————-

            'what’s wrong with having a protagonist that represents jane average high school girl?'

            On its own, there isn't anything inherently wrong with having an average, middle-of-the-road protagonist in a story. In fact, I often like seeing entertainment that goes against the norm. However, committing to such a protagonist does mean that you're starting a step behind the rest of the pack in that you have a story to flesh out and a character that you need to make interesting without the added help of any interesting features.

            I'm not saying it can't be done (Napoleon Dynamite is a good example of an incredibly bland protagonist that is very well-received nonetheless) but it's a challenge to make such a character interesting at the best of times and one that Stephenie Meyer hasn't lived up to.

            You may not have had many hobbies as a teenager but at the very least you (I assume) did something to amuse yourself. Bella isn't shown to do ANYTHING prior to her involvement with Edward and after that manages to reignite a war after a long time of peace (albeit a tentative one) that will surely get a lot of innocent people killed in the crossfire.

            Note that none of this has anything to do with the way she looks though I do have doubts about a teenager that cannot see having flawless skin as anything but a blessing, especially considering how much of the teenage way of thinking revolves around the way someone looks (doubly so in America, where you're also also expected to wear the 'social uniform' of whichever subculture you want to associate with). But what the crux is of the argument against having Bella as the story's protagonist is that she is a horrible person. She's not above using others to get what she wants (like she uses Jacob just so she can get the adrenaline pumping and see Edward) and blatantly ignores advice that people (try to) give her when she's pregnant with what has been described as an impossible child, an abomination and something that could potentially be VERY bad if it were to be allowed to be born. None of that seems very selfless in my eyes.

        • SilentProtagonist says:

          Dont forget the Bible.

    • Cat – It’s fiction, and far-fetched fiction at that. Good parents would be teaching their children about relationships long before they would be old enough to read something like this. If you’re not teaching your kids, then of course they’re not going to understand it correctly. I believe that real live people, such as friends, family, and teachers have more influence on our children than anything else. So I say DO YOUR JOB AS PARENTS! Don’t let them read it if it bothers you that much. And if you do let them read it, talk about it! Don’t just assume that they will take it for what it is, fiction and entertainment.

  8. Marcus (badassdragon says:

    you know the funny thing about this is is that the state that the author is from the schools are making this a required read to the students. So after reading this article two things came to mine:

    1. Part of the state of Connecticut is going to think this series is well thought out classic literature

    2. There's going to be a "surprising" number of abusive relationships in the state of Connecticut

    Seriously man, this NEEDS to be on CRACKED

    • It depends on exactly why it's being made a required read though. If it's used as a lesson for kids to pursue their own dreams (of becoming a writer, even if all they have to go on are their own fantasies and dreams) or in a literary discussion (i.e. can you point out the flaws in this) or even plainly as an example of what not to do I can't see a problem with this becoming required reading ;)

  9. Jennifer: You’re right that parents, friends, and real people *should* have more influence than movies, TV, or books, but it’s undeniable that the stories kids, teens, and even adults, consume help to shape their world view.

    Teens and tweens, especially, are much more affected by popular culture than most people realize. Look at the stuff you watched as a kid and as a teen, and seriously ask yourself: “Did this shape my views?” I know the stuff I watched and read sure did. And when it’s a series like Twilight, that has such a devoted, sometimes obsessive, following, how can these young people not be internalizing these stories, projecting themselves onto these characters, and imagining what their lives and relationships might be like? How many of these girls say, “I wish I was Bella”? How many wish they had a boyfriend just like Edward? Can you see how other people might take this (and stories in general) seriously, even if you don’t? Can you see how, perhaps, your kids might, even if you’re not aware of it?

    Fiction has always been a way for people to explore real ideas and issues in a way that allows them to put those ideas and issues into contexts that are removed from real life, so that they can get some distance from them and gain a greater perspective, or idealize them and take them beyond their real-life representations. Stories have, since the beginning of human history, been used to tell cautionary tales, to gather people together into a community, or as a form of wish-fulfillment.

    Many young girls see Twilight as a wish-fulfillment. The problem is, they don’t have the perspective or the life experience to see that the relationships depicted in the series are problematic at best, and abusive and controlling at worst.

    • Well I don’t believe that they “should.” I believe that they “do.” And I was taught the difference between fantasy and reality. I really think that parents have become too lazy and complacent. They don’t monitor what their kids are doing and then decide that it’s someone else’s fault and cause a big uproar about it. Wake up and pay attention! Don’t let them read the book in the first place. Talk to your kids instead of complaining about it to strangers.

      • I'm not saying that people can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality; I'm saying that fantasy and fiction play a large part in the way that people view the world. And many of the people who read Twilight are adults. Many of them are mothers. And perhaps they hadn't thought about the things in this article, and hadn't thought very deeply about what types of relationships Twilight portrays. On the surface, it's a very romantic story. But if you look deeper, like in this article, you might see things you didn't see at first, and wouldn't have thought much about how young girls might be reading something that isn't really all that positive, and which portrays relationships that aren't healthy. And that might change someone's mind about whether they let their kids read it or watch the movies.

        This article certainly isn't "complaining about it to strangers." It's critically examining a work of fiction and how it portrays relationships. That is what this blog is about: relationships.

        • cat, you remind me of fox news when they start off with, "some would say" or "some might feel" when no one actually has said anything but it's a cover to voice an agenda. i'm not a psychologist but my studies took me to a student clinic in palo alto where the issue came up. there's not one single iota of evidence that girls are being adversely affected by twilight and it's been out for years. so far, there's no talk in the psyche community of girls going nutso over twilight, putting themselves in harm's way, or having unhealthy relationships because of it. i'm pretty tired of the twilight hate being disguised as some righteous cause to protect women.

          concentrate on real problems. name five other recent big movies involving a relationship where women are deeply regarded while fully clothed. aaaaannnndddd GO!

      • FilmKiller says:

        Are you speaking for yourself of the entire human race? I can believe the former, and for that you are fortunate. (EDITED BY DR. NERDLOVE)

      • No, Jennifer. You weren't taught the difference between fantasy and reality, because you know what? Children's minds have an EXTREMELY hard time differentiating between the two, and even if they do it doesn't mean that the fantasies that they encounter don't effect them. Just because you "believe" that they "do" doesn't mean you're right. Children in modern America spend the vast majority of their time interacting with media and their peer groups, not with their parents, and it's not just because parents are lazy or complacent. The modern society that we live in makes it extremely hard to spend time with your children, especially when they're teenagers. It's also difficult to monitor what your children have access to when you can't be around them all the time.

        • Anonymous says:

          Seriously – and I DID study psychology – and I'll back Kaitlyn on this. There have been studies since the 60s that show children take in fiction, commercials, etc. as if were truth… they can NOT differentiate.

    • funny, cat, but what you'd probably propose be written for girls wouldn't have their interest at all. please don't live in lala land with unicorns and rainbows. it's right up there with teaching abstinence only. twilight approaches many subjects that young girls want to hear about in a way they want to hear it and if you try to make them only see preachy afterschool specials, they'll smell it from a mile away and won't have anything to do with it.

      like teaching abstinence only, denying teenagers' feelings will get you nowhere. teenagers are obsessed with love and yes, sometimes they almost feel like dying. most girls identify with bella for a reason. stop the denial! when you get in their face and say they're ridiculous and shouldn't be feeling anything they're feeling, you've disrespected them as people and you only drive them away. see the teen gay suicide rate.

      twilight is G compared to the stuff i saw and did as a teen. i'm thankful that's all my niece is into. don't knock it, embrace it! it's innocuous enough. i've used it as a bonding tool and my niece has opened up to me about so much she never would have shared before. taking my nephew to a girl-filled opening night led to easygoing discussions about girlfriends and safe sex.

      or keep going as you are, puritans. go ahead… alienate your kids.

      • Janelane: Wow. Just, wow.

        Did I say that Twilight was negatively affecting teens? No. I merely suggested that we, as readers, should examine this work of literature in a way that looked beneath the veneer of "look how romantic this is," and consider what these relationships might really mean, in the context of how the characters behave. You, my dear, are putting words in my mouth. Stop it.

        What I'd propose be written for girls being "la-la land?" Where the fuck did you come up with this? Because I'm criticizing something that is, on the surface, all "unicorns and rainbows," and saying that it may not be what it seems? I'm calling bullshit on that! I'm saying that we shouldn't look at something that can be seen as portraying VERY unhealthy relationships, and candy-coating it.

        And when did I say anything puritanical in this discussion? When did I preach abstinence-only? Oh, wait, *I* didn't say that, STEPHENIE MEYER PREACHES THAT IN TWILIGHT!

        When did I say that kids shouldn't read Twilight? Oh, that's right, I DIDN'T. When did I advocate censorship? I DIDN'T.

        Did I say that girls shouldn't be feeling what they're feeling? I DIDN'T. Again: You're putting words in my mouth. Stop it.

        What do I advocate that girls read and watch? Stuff like Buffy, Angel, Firefly (pretty much anything by Joss Whedon, because he knows how to write strong female characters). I advocate that they read difficult and challenging material, which they need to engage with on an intellectual level. And, I advocate that, every now and then, they read fluff like Twilight, and realize that it's fluff.

        It seems, Janelane, like you could benefit from a critical reading course, yourself, since you apparently didn't read my comments very thoroughly or critically.

        Five movies:

        Tangled

        Inception

        Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

        Midnight in Paris

        Thor

        There you go!

      • nomnomchompsky says:

        (upsparkles to Cat! Amen.)

        Yo Janelane: it is a fallacy to suggest that intelligent writing for young women and girls cannot also be interesting and engaging AND relatable. In fact, I think it is insulting to young women and girls to say Twilight is the most relatable material for them.

        If someone had offered me Twilight when I was 15 and told me she thought I could relate to it, I would have assumed that person wasn't smart enough to understand how smart I was, politely declined the offer, and walked away (and, notably, not toward an aged adult boyfriend who, despite my obvious crisis of self worth and total absence of identity, would marry and promptly impregnate me whilst breaking my ribcage).

      • Anonymous says:

        Go ahead – enable destructive tendencies in the name of 'bonding' so that you feel like a "good aunt"…

  10. I am one of the people that is not a teen, tween, cougar, sicko or any other of the descriptions that people want to pin on anyone that loves the Twilight movies. I love the fantasy of a love worth dying for, a love that someone wants to last forever. I am a grandmother, wife, professional, educated woman that happens to enjoy sci-fi/fantasy. Do you think the people that enjoy the Halloween movies, Scream, The Exorcist are all of sound mind and judgement? Do THEY think about what these movies are teaching children? Come on people…..enjoy the entertainment for what it is….entertainment! An escape from reality. A chance to be somewhere and be someone that you aren't day after day.

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      Well since I'm fairly certain that most of the people watching Scream or Halloween aren't either thinking "Man, I'd *love* to be killed by Michael Meyers!" or "I really want my life to be just like Scream!", I'd say they have a leg up on the people who wish that they could marry Edward.

      This includes Stephanie Meyers, BTW.

      There's also the fact that the movies you mentioned are explicitly NOT FOR CHILDREN, whereas Twilight is a Young Adult series; that is, marketed specifically to tweens and younger teenagers… whom are in that stage of life where you're starting to form the expectations of what you want and deserve from a relationship.

      • i think it's dumb people read so much into it. i think it's simple.

        sex and looks were heavily stressed in the first. the author wrote twilight while enduring a hard time in life when her husband was having trouble with his disease (crohn's), probably meaning they couldn't have sex. the author gained a lot of weight with all the stress. edward loved bella for what she was and not what she looked like.

        the fantasy made reality easier for her. i think that's why she was so embarrassed for her husband to read it.

        • Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

        • You obviously have no idea what crohns disease is. (EDIT: No personal insults. – Dr. NerdLove)

          • actually, i know about ulcerative colitis, which is almost identical to crohn's disease, quite well. nothing says sexy like a colostomy bag or losing control of one's bowels during the heat of the moment. how nice for you that you only know of the milder versions who can control it with medication. for people i know and stephanie meyer, they weren't so fortunate. you should do some reading on how these conditions have ruined people's lives, never being able to even take a plane ride or make a speech in public without worrying about the nearest bathroom and shitting their pants.

    • GG: I actually read the Twilight books (all four of them) when I was in my early 30's, and just coming off of a long and psychologically abusive and controlling relationship. I read them because I'd heard so much about them, and wanted to know what the fuss was. I also wanted the escape that you talk about in your comment.

      At first, it was a great escape. It was a reminder of what it was like to be a teenager, and have that first really intense crush that is, in its own way, real love. In fact, some aspects of Bella's relationships with both Edward and Jacob mirrored aspects of two specific relationships I had when I was in high school.

      As I read on, however, I kept thinking, "Oh, Bella, no… don't do that!" As an adult, who had some perspective on what relationships are like when you are 17 or 18 years old, I could see everything that was wrong with the way things were going, and the way (for example) she was treating Jacob, and the way that she was pinning all her hopes for the future on her relationship with Edward. By the fourth book, I was thinking, "Some 13-year-old girl is reading this, and getting all the wrong ideas about relationships!" The relationship I had just ended started out very much like the relationships in Twilight. Did I get any broken bones or black eyes from it? No. I wish I had. Because those signs of abuse are much easier to see and harder to rationalize than the patterns of behavior that emerge over the course of time in a manipulative, controlling relationship.

      The point of this article is that when we take a moment and step back and analyze what's going on with the characters in Twilight, it's not as romantic or ideal as it looks on the surface.

      • cat, i'm sorry the books hurt you but this is fiction and i think you should seek help if it reminds you of such bad times. i'm here 'cause i'm super sick and things like star trek and twilight are kind of a hobby of mine. it concerns me that you're on here so much just to relive abuse by talking about twilight.

        anyway, i, too, have had an abusive relationship, as almost every single woman on the planet has in one form or another, but no, there's no similarity. i've married to a wonderful man now but the previous guy was jealous, stalkey, and physical. the comparison has me scratching my head. i don't get it. every action is judged differently based on intention. if i hold a baby up by the crotch, it's very different than a pedophile doing it and gaining some sick enjoyment just as my gynecologist can feel me up while a dude on the street can't. everything in context.

        13 year olds aren't stupid but they probably you hate you all seem to think so. they're not babies who only know right/wrong, black/white. they understand context. a guy with boney ASIS's giving me bruises on my thighs during sex is not abuse. a vampire in a fictional story watching out for a fragile human against other vampires isn't stalking.

        well, the norco is kicking in. g'night. and im serious, cat. please get help.

        • When did I say the books hurt me? When did I say they made me relive my abuse? I just said that, with the perspective of an adult who has lived through different relationships, I could see how these relationships weren't healthy…. Talk about reading something into what someone has written… sheesh…

        • Edward O'Malley says:

          Wow, Janelane, you are REALLY crossing a line here.

        • Inigo Montoya says:

          Yeah, I used to think 13 year olds were smart too… when I was 13.

          The fact is at 13 you don't have the life experience necessary to sift through the bullshit with the perspective of a mature adult – and there's a LOT of bullshit in Twilight.

          It's really not difficult to see that a romance novel involving an abusive relationship is a horrible idea. The fact that it's a romance novel means that it's selling it's model of "love" to readers. It doesn't matter that vampires and werewolves are tossed in as a contrivance, it's a piece of romantic fiction centered around a very blatantly abusive relationship. PERIOD. The only person who "context" comes to mind in a clear case of abuse is a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.

          Oh, and at least Cat got out of her abusive relationship – Stephanie Meyers has been novelizing hers.

    • Catherine says:

      When your teenage female clients, many of whom do not have the home life on could wish for a minimum, give you that doe-eye look and say "Edward is the Best Boyfriend EVAR" your heart chills. My poster child for this I think figured it out and is in a healthy relationship, but considering what she was dating at the time? Yikes.

  11. When reading this article, I personally got no sense whatsoever that it was some sort of personal stab at mothers who don’t know how to instill common sense into their children. I know far more grounded adults 20 to 40 obsessed with twilight. Its wonderful that you know the difference between fantasy and reality Jennifer, and i’m sure some parent’s have become lazy and complacent. But what does that have to do with this critique? That’s a problem with how people respond to it, not the issues inherent in the story itself. Just saying everyone should handle it as you do doesn’t take into account differences of situation and temper within others.

  12. Excellent article, though to be fair your second point about grown men wanting to date teenage girls could also be applied to Buffy and Angel, and probably several other vampire romances in pop culture.

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      This is a good point… and also one that was eventually handled in the course of the show. By season 3, Angel broke up with Buffy *specifically* because he was 200+ years old and she was 18. She also had a number of other people -friends, parents and trusted adults alike – pointing out how inherently unhealthy her relationship with him was.

      They also covered one of the potential consequences of sex: how guys can change afterwards… leading to the Angelus story arc.

      As a side note: this is also a significant difference between Buffy/Angel and Bella/Edward: Buffy is more of Angel's equal, on a physical level at the very least. When their relationship becomes explicitly abusive, Buffy *fights back* and saves *herself*.

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      (Also: I'm not a huge fan of the vampire romance genre as a whole, but that's more due to it's being played out than anything else.)

  13. I'm happy you wrote this article just for the amount of attention your getting!

  14. oh yes, every girl will take this seriously and grow up to be abuse victims just like all the boys who watch porn will grow up to be sexual predators. yeah, 'cause none of them know the difference.

    but seriously, i knew many women whose main goal in life was to be a mother. i personally don't want any and prefer to travel the world but who the heck am i to tell them their goals are less than mine? who the heck are you?

    like it or not, almost everything one does every single day is because of sex, attracting or at least impressing the opposite sex. most people feel empty without a partner and the majority of their time is spent finding one. what world do you live in?

    since when did every story have to have characters that fit your ideals and abide by your code of ethics? i assure you that even if they did, they'd still offend millions in another country.

    oh, and i get bruises all the time from sex. what's wrong with liking it rough? it's fun. you should try it, puritan.

    • Jane, I may not agree with all your points, but they are well argued and well written. Thank you for that!

      Like you, I do not want children, and like you, I know many women whose ultimate goal was/is motherhood. Honestly, I feel like society doesn't understand (and doesn't want to) a woman who has no desire to have kids. I'm not saying that motherhood shouldn't be valued, I'm saying that women like us are marginalized. We're called "selfish" for not wanting children. We're told "You'll regret it!" We're told that all the other ways in which we define ourselves is nothing compared to reproducing. But that's really beside the point…

      Twilight is not simply an example of the elevation of motherhood; Bella Swan really has no defining characteristics aside from her insecurity and plain looks. Even a woman whose ultimate goal is to be a mother should have something else that makes her a unique individual. Perhaps that characteristic is something that would make her particularly good with children. Perhaps it's something that just makes her happy, like painting or knitting, or writing poetry while the kids are napping. The problem with Bella as a character is that she doesn't feel she has any worth without a man. Edward makes her happy. Edward makes her feel beautiful. Jacob makes her bold enough to get on a motorcycle. (Which she does expressly for the purpose of putting herself in danger so that she can get Edward's attention.) And as for Edward being attracted to her, it's not because she's kind, or selfless, or interesting. It really comes down to one thing: She smells so darn good!

      The problem isn't that she loves Edward; it's that she falls headlong into a relationship that becomes the be-all and end-all of her existence. Yes, it's understandable that someone is devastated after a breakup. But borderline suicidal? That's not healthy. Yes, many people tend to be happier when they're in a relationship; but being able to be happy on one's own is a precursor to having a healthy, happy relationship with a partner. When someone ties up all their self esteem and self worth in a relationship, what happens when that relationship is no longer there?

      We all love happy endings. We all love romantic stories. The concern with Twilight is that it depicts relationships that are not all that healthy, and it elevates them to a romantic ideal that many readers (not just tweens, but adult women, too) see as "perfect," when they are far from it. It depicts behavior patterns that, in the real world, are not good ways to engage in relationships.

      PS: You might want to click around the site a little more: Dr. NerdLove is hardly a Puritan.

      • thanks for the compliment sandwich, cat, but with all due respect, aren't you the one sending the bad message to our tween that unless we have some kind of cool skill or certain physical attributes, they can't expect to find love or extraordinary things happening to them?

        wtf is wrong being plain? right now, girls are flooded with media images sending the message that they must either flaunt t&a or be ridiculously smart to get ahead. and while it could be argued this generation has too much self-esteem, the numbers show low self-esteem is the bigger problem. how can girls ever live up to the standards they see in the media? guys have it all the time where they see fat ugly guys getting the girl but this is close to the first time our females get to see a plain girl being celebrated. she is worthy of love. bella is "every-girl" and you want to shoot that down?

        the simple fact of the matter is that most girls ARE plain and don't have anything particularly special about them. it's not for the lack of trying; it's just the way it is. why do twilighters take the insults so hard? because when you insult bella for being ordinary or plain, you're insulting them personally for not being extraordinary. i'm not saying celebrate mediocrity but like i said, low self-esteem is a rampant problem. in a world where the media only celebrates tits and ass, we need to let our girls know it's okay to dress modestly, be a biology nerd, respect our parents, and great things can happen to them . even though twilight is just fantasy, "we gotta give 'em hope!". geez, boys get to grow up with nerdy peter parker and clark kent. why can't we have a plain jane turning into a kick ass vampire that protects her entire family, plus some, and saves everyone?

        ill have to save the rest for anothe time but like i said in my other post, in addition to losing the lover her life, "bella lost an entire family in new moon, including her best friend alice. remember that this family immediately accepted her as their own and risked their lives to protect her. she’d have to be a psychopath not to be deeply affected.".

        if i lost an entire part of my family in one day, i can assure you my reaction would not be "healthy" in your eyes. i hope you're not a doctor becuase i'd be disturbed if you thought not being deeply troubled at the loss of one's entire family is normal.

        • Jane, allow me to take back that compliment (which wasn't a sandwich, because there was only one), because your arguments have lost their quality. They now present no supporting evidence, and demonstrate a complete misreading of the comments to which they refer.

          I did not say a girl needed to be extraordinary in order to be loved. I said a girl should not be a shell of a human being with no interests of her own, waiting for a man to come and make her a whole human being. I used "knitting" as an example of an interest, specifically because it's something that is rather ordinary.

    • Since you brought up porn there are many people who looked into the effect of watching porn has and it's something that has been talk about in academia for years. It's only far that something like Twilight also get looked at.

      It should be noted porn is just sex scenes, where Twilight is about relationships and actually have characters that people may identify with. So when you do come across those who are using things they see as a template for what they should do in life (if they are realizing they are doing it or not) the porn watchers effect will just cover things in the act of sex, while the twilight fan could easly fall into abusive relationship because they think that is true romance.

      Giving that this is a blog about relationships I think Dr. Nerdlove knows people spend a lot of time thinking about sex and trying to attract others.

      and there maybe many woman who make having kids but is that there only goal in life? don't the womany you know like that also have other goals or at least other things in life they like to do besides finding a man and getting knocked up?

      Dr. Nerdlove is just pointing out that if you look at the relationships in the twilight series then you will see many signs of abusive relationships and that is the main point he has a problem with.

      • porn is just sex scenes? i'm a girl so i don't just fast forward to the actual sex scene. haha. there's plenty of dialogue, particularly in lesbian porn, and yes, our kids are getting an idea of how to speak to one another from it. this is where they're learning how to attract others and initiate sex in their relationships.

        • Dr. NerdLove says:

          Trust me: more people are getting their ideas on how to attract others from John Cusack movies and Mystery than they are from porn.

  15. Arguing with the Twihards is useless, they already love the novels and movies, so they're obviously not thinking the same way we are to begin with. They'll make any excuse not to admit any major problems with it.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how some people can't look from the other side of the fence when someone criticizes something they like. As a Disney fan, I've heard all the arguments about how the princesses are a bad example for little girls when it pertains to how to behave in society, how one goes about carrying themselves, or even how girls are suppose to look. And I'm not bothered by those points one bit. I don't like hardcore rap music, but I understand why some people do, especially the ones that can explain their fandom in a way that doesn't involve the phrase "you just don't understand."

      So there's some good thing with Twilight that people have latched on to or are reading into the series. That's great, but that doesn't mean that those people should attack the ones who are finding the faults in the story, its representation of relationships, and so on. Granted this isn't as stupid as "Harry Potter is all about devil worship and drug use," but the way the fans are defending every critique about the series is kind of pushing Twilight into that territory.

      @Dr. Nerdlove: Thanks for the wonderfully written article. Your timing couldn't be more perfect, and I hope this isn't the last of your wonderful article on fictional romances and how they do and do not apply to real world relationships.

    • i think males are intimidated by it, plain and simple. i know nerdlove thinks different but what most women are actually taking from twilight is that they deserve better. it's a common joke that after watching twilight, women want to dump their boyfriends and have ridiculous standards(pretty true). that's exactly opposite to the argument that twilight will make women victims. i think the latter was made up because males are intimidated by the former.

      • Edward O'Malley says:

        Twilight is intimidating to guys because it tells girls they deserve better??? It tells girls that they have no inherent value except that ascribed to them by boys. I can tell you from experience that you must be able to make yourself happy, you cannot depend on anyone else to make you happy. Happiness is your own responsibility. Therefore you need to be something you are happy with. And I am NOT saying they need to have model/movie star looks. I am NOT saying they need to have any particular skills, intellectual abilities or professions. They only need to do what is personally fulfilling for them that makes them feel like they are valuable in and of themselves. Twilight gives the opposite message.

      • This is straight up wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bwahahahahahaha! Ahem… yeah… right.

  16. I love the argument "It's a simple story. It wasn't meant to be looked into and analyzed. You're looking too into it." It can be applied to anything. It's almost like telling people to stop "hating" on a bad song because it wasn't meant to be thought about, but people only bring that up when something has no merit or value.

    • To put on my anthropology cap for a minute: Stories are how people pass on any number of things within a culture. From societal standards to history. The telling of stories is the most basic and common way humans educate other humans. If you examine religious texts, a very great many of them come in the form of stories. The Torah is almost all stories. Christ taught people through telling stories. Hindu texts are based around stories. Native American religions are still entirely passed down through the telling of stories. Medicine in some traditional South Pacific cultures is accompanied by the telling of a story (I know the one for a difficult childbirth, but not the medicine that goes with it).

      Point is, stories make up a great deal of what we, as a people are. Americans spend billions every year on stories, from television, to newspaper, to movies, to books, to going to see a stand-up comedian (yes, most comedians are telling humorous stories, to paraphrase Gabriel Inglesias; Comedians don't really write material. They just tell find a funny way to tell you about the crazy stuff in the world). And they have power, some more, some less, but the goal of any storyteller, from the journalist to the novelist to the comedian, is to have an effect on their audience. Being a storyteller gives a person the potential for a lot of power, and in today's world with a hyper-competitive market for storytellers, the stories available for mass consumption pack quite a punch.

      It would be wrong to dismiss anything that gets published, put up on the screen, told on a stage, or used for wrapping fish (sorry newspapers) as 'just a story.'

  17. I love what the Doc's doing with this site, and this is a great article. An observation from here and other, similar, discussions: As much as I LOVE a good debate, it's near impossible to have anything resembling proper discourse with the diehard fans of these particular books. So many, though not all, are too young to be objective toward the subject, If one can't make an attempt at objectivity, how can one be expected to properly follow along with an argument? Several of the opposing comments are in response to ideas that either weren't presented in the article or don't even accurately represent what is given in the book by the writer herself.

    Not that any of this is unique to discussions of Twilight, but for all the reasons illustrated in the article and more, it really infuriates me to listen to people defend these books as anything beyond dime store harlequin "romance", though even that may be giving them too much credit, and to have their argument of support be, "Nuh-uh! You're SO wrong!" pushes me over the edge. When "Why?" is asked of them, the typical answer is "Well, because!" If this constitutes an argument for this generation, of which I may technically still be a part of (maybe?), I am saddened. When one can't articulate a coherent thought, that is the very essence of illiteracy.

    Note, I'm not calling every Twilight fan illiterate, just MANY of them. There are at least a couple pro-Twilight responses here that give me hope. For the others who are incapable of objectivity, it's okay for something you love to be–wait for it–imperfect. Everything already is, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    And by the way, Fiction is what all recorded history and civilization is based upon. Whoever was denying the importance of fiction in the world must have never heard the term mythology,..or history, for that matter.

    • There needs to be a way to "like" comments here. I "like" this. A lot.

    • during these times when one can hardly get a kid to pick up a book, they finally do and the snobs come out of the woodwork to shoot them down. shame on you. i didn't know what twilight was but when i saw a 300+ page book in my niece's hand, reading intently, i didn't care.. i was just happy. it's all better than snooki and the kardashians. she was looking up words she didn't know. this reading led to other reading–a gateway book or foot-in-the-door technique, if you will.

      • Where, in the article or the comments, has anyone said that people (of any age) shouldn't be reading Twilight?

        Here, I'll help out:

        The thesis of this article is: "The relationships in Twilight are held up as a romantic ideal. However, upon closer examination, those relationships can be viewed as unhealthy."

        There is no call for Twilight to be banned, burned, or removed from bookshelves. There is no cry of, "Won't someone *please* think of the children!" (read with Mrs. Lovejoy voice)

        There is no prediction that Twilight will warp young minds and make girls abuse victims.

        What there is is a call for people to do a little critical reading and thinking, and not just accept what is presented to them at face value.

        For the record: I never have, and never will, advocate the censorship of any work of literature. I never have, and never will, denigrate the reading choices of a child, teenager, or adult. What I will do is ask them questions about it, ask them to examine it from an objective standpoint, and ask them to articulate their views about it.

      • Inigo Montoya says:

        There were words she didn't know in Twilight?

  18. The thing I love about Twilight is how it promotes Necrophilia, Beastiality, and cheating. Seriously though, she dates a dead guy, cheats on him with Scooby-Doo, and there's no inclination she really feels bad about it later on.

  19. I agree with Stephan. I've tried arguing with Twihards before. It doesn't work. But the debate is fascinating. Somewhat odd for a critical analysis of a novel as reviled as Twilight. Normally you only see that for acclaimed works. It's a nice look at the other side.

  20. As a young adult fan of the series (atleast until the last book), I've found it hard to articulate why I enjoy it since I have grown to personally detest fairytales. Perhaps I like Twilight because it's a little more complicated than "he loves me, I love him, there's a bad guy, okay happy now!"

    One of many things to point out is that Bella's character exists in so many REAL girls. Most of which are chasing boys who add no value to their lives. She's really no different than her mother who had a new man and who Bella left to let her be happy. A man that is not Bella's father — who obviously couldn't provide that "happiness." These women also exist in real life. There's nothing new with simply wanting to feel fulfilled — for some women this is a career, others it's a a baby, a husband, a cat.

    And while I cannot relate to someone who is not goal-oriented, because I was at that age, I can relate to wanting someone that sees more in me than what I look like — as both Edward and Jacob do in Bella. From 17 to 77, men and their thoughts of women consist first of what she looks like.

    Second, Bella is not 16 – she's 17, going on 18 and at a very different maturity-level than the girls her age in Forks. While Edward may be well-read, well-traveled, etc., he really knows very little about relationships. But unlike Bella's other male schoolmates who could not hold her interest, Edward is more than a pretty face (though she's definitely obsessed with his looks at first).

    I was honestly expecting this post to dive a little deeper into the various relationships than it does. What about Jacob, a nice kid with a crush who then falls in love with Bella (who is both selfish and needy) and turns bitter and angry? This is an all too real scenario that leave some REAL men hating women forever — they are just as sad to see. Granted, the other relationships around Jacob add to that bitterness.

    And while Bella's absolutely unable to survive without a man, almost all of the Twilight men set an interesting standard that most guys (at any dating age) fail to meet unless girls will push the issue. The girl's life is literally filled with "men" that won't give up on her while in reality, I can name very few of my friends who can count on their fathers for anything — or their lovers for that matter. I'm not ashamed to say that addition to the bar my own father has set (a man than will do anything to protect the women in his life), I use these characters as well.

    I'll end my rant there. Great conversation-driving post.

  21. Ethan (Chucky G) says:

    All I know is that Jasper in the first movie was turned into a vampire well after Edward, but for the sake of having some kind of 'leader-type-Cullen', in the 3rd movie, he was suddenly a Civil War hero, turned well before Edward. And that's only the beginning of many, many continuity problems I've noticed from the movies the first time watching them, and not even getting into the books (which I can easily get into, but that'd make this comment WAY TOO LONG). And, that's only getting into Continuity issues, and not poor characterizations, or any other number of issues I could get into. Point is, the books and by extension, the movies, are not good AT ALL. They're laughably funny. They barely fit the definition of Melodrama. They are remarkably implausible, even in the context of a harlequin romance. And, the worst thing: they're 40-50 minutes of movie prolonged into 2 hours of unimaginable tripe.

    (EDIT: I cut the last part of this comment. No insulting the other commenters, even in broad strokes please. – Dr. NerdLove)

    • Not that you care, but it was pretty apparent that Jasper was not turned after Edward. He was the most recent to join the Cullen family and their "vegetarian" lifestyle, which is why he has less self-control than the others.

      • That was the point of the comment…that Jasper was at first the youngest (with the least control), then suddenly became older than Edward (if Edward was turned in 1918, and Jasper was turned during the Civil War, Jasper would be older).

        It be nice if Twihards actually made logic-based retorts, and read the comments they were responding to, rather than just saying any thing to disagree with a criticism of the Twilight series.

  22. However, the one thing I will argue about is Jennifer's idea that fiction apparently has no basis on real life. Going by this, no novels are allegorical, and no novels have messages, and no fiction is symbolic. I'd love to ignore how blatantly false that assumption is, but it's sticking in my craw.

    Candide is Voltaire skewering Gottfried Leibniz's "Best of all Possible Worlds" theory for 120 pages. Animal Farm isn't just about cute farm animals kicking out the farmer and taking over the farm, it's an allegory for Stalin-era Russia.

    Hell, even books that don't directly deal with philosophical or political concerns typically have some sort of message. The Dresden Files books are by no means works of high literature (and that's fine, they're great anyway), but they each have some small message about family or morality.

    Whether it was intended to or not, the Twilight series can serve as an allegory for abusive relationships.

    • Jim Butcher is not free of his own problematic issues in his writing (particularly the white-washing of the cast and problems with his depictions of Chicago), nor is his protagonist, but I find his handling of romance lightyears ahead of Meyers (especially Karin Murphy) and most romance authors right now and Lara Raith would dribble Edward Cullen's head for amusement. Butcher never lets us forget that even the most amicable, good natured, and kind vampires are still monsters.

      Which leads me to my problem with Meyers: not even addressing her poor grammatical (where was her editor?) skills and bland writing, she is systematically afraid of giving her characters any level of complexity or conflict. On top of the problematic issues of the relationships in Twilight and how they structure women and have some very creepy parallels to the Mormon culture and faith – the books are just flat out BORING.

      • chrisjozo says:

        Having just read the first 5 books in the Dresden files I can honestly say that the Dresden files should not be looked at as a role model for relationships. I'm a guy and even I can see that Dresden is a chauvanist. The characters views of women are very narrow minded. Admittedly Karrin Murphy decently written but he even makes her seem overly emotional and constantly acting irationally based on those emotions in the first few books. Plus don't get me started on how Susan Rodriguez is written. She exists solely as the nerd male fantasy of the hot girl who likes us despite our nerdiness.

        • I definitely agree that the early Dresden books show fairly poor role modeling for relationships but one thing that allows is to contrast the less chauvinistic approach Dresden begins to take in later books. Later books also portray Murphy, Charity, and Molly as motivated actors in their own right who aren't reliant on Dresden and save him more than the reverse. Portraying someone as being offensively chauvenistic and still a good person who over time learns to respect women and their own ability to make choices is a really worthwhile example (particularly for younger people) that having made bad choices that hurt people you care about doesn't mean you need to keep making those bad choices. The chauvinism in the first books is really bad and pretty painful but I personally found that the evolution of the character almost redeems it.

          Also, I find your interpretation of Susan really amusing because I always saw her as a User who took advantage of those around her to get what she wants rather than a geek wet dream and disliked how shallow a character that caused for totally different reasons.

  23. I enjoyed this article very much. While I'm definitely a fan of the Twilight series, the behavior of the characters is infuriating more often than not. I believe it's important to discuss our entertainments in an open and transparent way. When I was a kiddo I loved all kinds of dark and morally questionable stories. But my parents are smart and proactive people and they were never afraid to talk to me about any subject whatsoever. I loved the movie Heathers especially and J.D. was my favorite character. I would talk about him all the time. My Dad told me one day that it was fine that I loved this movie character as long as I realized that he was crazy and the things he did were not okay. It's a relatively simple sentence, but I think if more people spoke up then we'd all be better off.

  24. Sam Brutuxan says:

    To be honest, I got a kick out of reading some of these comments and just how bat-shit insane some of these explanations were. Keep up the fantastic job Harris! This was definitely a great read.

  25. A good friend of mine is a fan of the boks and considers them on the level of harlequin romance (cheap and dirty with no real redeeming value), but she cannot stand the movies. From what she tells me, there is so much in the books that is only glossed over or completely omitted that she personally enjoyed in order to make something even cheaper and dirtier with no value period. While the books aren't high literature, by any stretch of the imagination, apparently if someone with a working frontal lobe and some artistic vision made the film and not producers trying to sell Hot Topic t-shirts, the movies might have at least been tolerable. Wouldn't be the first time a movie has completely missed the point of a book (not that this series had much of a point).

  26. Disclaimer *I would just like to say that not all of us Twihards think Bella is a heroine, at least i don't.*

    Dr. Nerdlove, wow. I mean pretty much everything you said is right. Yet, i still love this series. I just saw Breaking Dawn friday and I was screaming and passing out in the theater. I don't know why, but I just read the books because I love them. (And the books do not portray Bella like the movies do. Kristen Stewart kinda changed the character so if you really hate Bella's character in the movie, that's kinda because of her doing.) After reading this, I kinda feel ashamed for being a 17 year old Twilight fanatic……….

    • Amia: You can still like something, even if you realize that it's not all that great. In fact, it's what we call a "guilty pleasure." Liking it doesn't make someone stupid; trying to defend the greatness of a piece of crap makes someone stupid.

      If you can look at something and say, "You know, I can see that it's terribly flawed, and I can see how problematic the characters/plot/whatever is/are, but I still just like it because _____" that's just fine!

    • Hey, as long as you acknowledge that it has faults and that nobody else has to like it, you can like whatever you please. Heck, I have friends who like Twilight AND the Star Wars prequels, but are still willing to admit that both have ample room for improvement. It's when people get adamant about people disliking whatever they like that flame wars commence. Don't be ashamed. You can't always help what you like.

    • sorry, i think amia is a typical 17 year old who could be swayed the other way if she read another article so convincing. she was passing out in the theater over a movie. i prefer she's on your team, dr. weirdlove, or whatever. :P

      • Doesn't seem she was swayed, to me. She said, "I see your points, but I still love it." And that's fine!

      • So 17 year old girls are impressionable and easily swayed when they read a short article on Dr Nerdlove's blog, but 13 year old girls who read Stephenie Meyer's novel are way too smart to internalize any of the abusive messages, right? ;)

  27. The mental gymnastics Twihards are putting up to defend this dribble is astounding to me. It is absolutely ridiculous. Also Jennifer have you tried talking to a teenage girl obsessed with Twilight and how it should not be used to base a healthy relationship on? It is like trying to convince someone that gravity doesn't really exist or the WBC that no one likes them and they're all a bunch of tools. I've met grown women so adversely effected by Twilight they are literally waiting around for someone like Edward to show up and worship them. Girls obsess over him and that is just as dangerous as the abusive relationship part. Plus the movies and books are such moronic nonsense that it has lowered the bar for what constitutes a decent franchise.

  28. I'm not so sure that Katniss and Peeta are a model relationship, but it's a step up at least?

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      It's not a relationship I would endorse for my daughter no, but Katniss at least is an active character rather than one who has life happen to her.

      Also, she's not in love with death the way that Bella is. Bella may be willing to die for her love, Katniss wants to LIVE for hers.

      • It was just the very last few pages of the last book that ruined it for me, it felt too much like Katniss "finally realizing what's good for her", i.e. coercion. Maybe it's cause I often seem to end up with "nice guys" who can't take no for an answer because I just don't see how perfect we are together yet. The resolution of their relationship just left a bitter taste for me.

        • I felt like that was her way of finally allowing herself to have something good. The rest of the time she was living for others. For Prim. For Snow. For Coin. Now she can finally live for herself.

  29. Dr. NerdLove says:

    Folks, it's getting a little heated in here. Let's keep things polite and civil. We can all disagree without resorting to personal insults. Just a reminder: I run the moderation queue with an iron fist. First time through I'll edit out the insults. Second time, you're either on notice or muted at my discretion, 'mkay?

  30. As a man, I believe that a woman does not need a man to have self worth. If anything, a relationship should enhance someones existing happieness. Not try to fill an empty hole. I can understand that there are women and tweens who may have the same view of themselves that Bella does of herself. But you can't really love somebody unless you can love yourself first. How can Edward really see those things in Bella if she can't see those things in herself? Mythology and fiction, believe it or not, do effect there audiences. Granted that kids these days are smarter than the previous generation was at that time, they are still impressionable tweens. They are still at a point in their lives where they are begining to form their views on relationships and the opposite sex. To use a rather extreme example, young boys and, some girls, who watch pro wrestling might try to do a tombstone piledriver, The Pedigree, The Last Ride, or what have you. They learn that that stuff hurts. They're learning from example. From something that is a kind of fiction. Fiction can be used as a parallel to reality to tell realistic stories with a fantasical backdrop. If a sexy vampire who kinda stalks you and breaks into your home and watches you sleep, it's all fine and well "because he loves you". But if a REAL person who stalks you and "loves" you breaks into your house to watch you sleep, it's creepy as shit and you have the right to shoot them without question in some states.

  31. Excellent article my good doctor, this has brought up some excellent points. I'm glad your bringing up a ligament argument as apposed to SPARKLY VAMPIRES ARE STUPID NANANANA!!!!

  32. The story is marketed toward tweens for the most part. Yes, there are adult readers, but the adults for the most part should be able to see the points that the good Doctor made in this article. Like I said, women( or people in general for that matter.) don't need a significant other to have self worth. You should be able to do bad all by yourself.

  33. Although these die hard fans are reminding me of religious extremists while I personally don't have any beef with badly written books or religion itself, when people begin going crazy over them that's when I get involved.

  34. ThisBadassDragon says:

    wow…this is a great discussion:

    I think you can get a twihard fan to understand that the series isn't something you should follow. It is fiction so right off the bat you should know that the events taking place are make believe, but at the same time you shouldn't look over the subtext its preaching (or have hidden) which it seems like the most diehard fans either can't see or fail to understand.

    yet if the fans response is that of "your wrong and you just dont get it" just simply walk away and say: "you know what your doing"

    either way great article and I'm really loving this discussion

  35. I blame Stephanie Meyer for the coming chimpocalypse.

    Great article Dr. Nerdlove.

  36. XD Its Funny Cuz its True

  37. Hi there; I just found this article off of Roger Ebert's blog. Excellent critique and very well written. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    I just posted my own article, Why I Think Twilight is Dangerous, Not Just Stupid at http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/why
    I am hoping to raise awareness of the specific kinds of abuse that come out of fandoms, especially ones like Twilight. If you are interested.

  38. Ive always enjoyed a good Twilight rant, But im calling bullshit on the "Abusive relationship" part

    "Edward threatens Bella’s life"

    Yeah, in the first one…but not because he wanted to hurt her, just because he knew that her being interestend in him is a baaaaaad idea, so even with a hard-on that he had for her, he did his (lame) best to scare her away.

    "Threatens to kill himself"

    Uhmm…No, he tries to kill himself because he thought Bella was dead. And as much as i hate this pale prick…If your girlfriend dies, You're probably get a weird thought like this every once in a while. The thing is with the Twilight movies that the part that makes everything looks so fucking ridiculous is that unlikable cunt, Bella Swan, so when Edwards gets suicidal we cant really take him seriously because all we can think atm is "really ? all this because of this dull bitch ? ".

    "scares her with his driving"

    Again, to scare her off…he knew bout the shit-storm that this relationship would (and did) bring onto them, so he wanted to put this to stop before their feelings for eachother amplify even more.

    "damages property when angry"

    Well, that's what really Angry people sometimes do…throw a pen, or kick a furniture…happends to all of us. But im guessing that if we had a superhuman strength, our hissy fits would be slightly more destructive.

    "makes all the decisions for the both of them"

    Can you really blame him ? Were not talking bout some stubborn relationship decisions that He's been asshole about, But a dumb 17 yr old twat that knows fuck all bout life, and wants to be undead blood-sucking killing machine, so again…its not really Edward being that much of an asshole but Bella being dumbass…again.

    "tries to isolate her from others – especially Jacob Black, his romantic rival"

    Seriously ? Dude doesnt even hide the fact that he wants to fuck Bella, so im not sure how the fact that Her boyfriend has a problem with that is unnatural .

    "He’s thrown her through glass tables"

    Well…he wanted to protect her from charging Harpo who wanted to munch on her ass….he did a poor fucking job on that but when the granade lands near ya, i dont think pushing someone out of the blast-zone counts as a 'physical abuse".

    "And has sex so violent that she’s covered in bruises and broken ribs"

    That he warned her about for 2 movies…again, she was being a complete dumbass about that. And got bruised, but to be fair…she liked it, so maybe she's just into some heavy sado-maso…Who are we to judge ?

    "Oh, and he breaks into her house, watches her sleep without her knowledge and follows her wherever she goes."

    Yeah, he was a creppy fuck there, but wasnt it before they ware together ? He's a stalker, creppy old fuck with a hard-on for jailbait ass and i really dont want to defend this shithead but sometimes when i watch a review or read an article even i go "Youre just seeing what you want to see" and over-interpreting movies based on books that ware written by world's oldest 12 year old girl that thinks this is how "romance" looks like.

    • i am lmao!

      for the bruises part, here you go: edward is hard as marble… ALL OVER. so of course bruises are inevitable just like my thighs after being with a skinny dude.

      anterior superior iliac spine bruises on the things are a mutha!

    • But don't you see you're exactly making Dr. NerdLove's point? You're using the movies to justify AWFUL behavior. None of these things are OK, but the movies paint them as such.

      • Not really cuz looking at some of Edward's behaviors you kinda need to put yourself in his position…And i think ive managed to explain pretty clearly why being in his place…most people would do the same thing (not with everything ofcourse…Cuz the creepy stalker part is still creepy) . But the Glass cabinet thing ? Really ? he shoved her away from the MORTAL danger, unlucky for her she got cut from the broken glass buuut either This or being Harpo's meal so i dont see how can you see this as AWFULL behavior.

    • ..Way to blame her for his actions. That's a sign of abuse, and victim blaming.

    • as far as the "he warned her" argument, how about the relationships where a guy warns a girl that if she doesn't keep in line she's in for some trouble, as in getting roughed up? Are those guys okay? are those relationships more valid or less abusive because the girl has been warned?

    • StoneGirl says:

      Really? I can't stand Twilight myself, and think that Bella is a horrific character but really? Bitch? Cunt? Why is that necessary?

  39. Joel with an N says:

    Daaaaaaamn. Most commented article yet!

    And now, let's see what happens when you do one about Star Wars.

  40. apostrophe s says:

    Disclaimer: I typed this on a cell phone, I can barely see what I'm typing, so please forgive any bad spelling/grammer.

    Since the subject was brought up, I pratically did my thesis on all the negative effects the rapid popularity of porn has had on our society. I could spam this entire site full of data but I will respect the Dr. and obstain. Its not always bad of course but, for the record, it is way more dangerous to the furture of the youths' human relationships than Twlight could ever dream.

    Onto the point at hand

    Bella has no personality, I will freely admit that. She's a sypher, her lack of any strong charateristics makes it easy for the reader to imprint themselves on the charater. She is the female equavalent of the everyman…is that concept more familiar to you all?

    I've seen the movie but I haven't read the books (I find them painfully boring). I've grown far to jaded to find many "romances" enjoyable and I think vampires are lame. I do, however, I know plenty of inteligent well adjusted women who are fans of the book but rather than assuming they've all drunk the koolaid I took the time to ponder why. My insight?

    The popularity of twilight is a direct result of how starved women/girls are for a charater they can relate to and a romance that doesn't feel superficial. Do I prefer that it was better written? Less creepy? Yes and yes. But that's what happens when pickings are slim. Its friggen vampires and werewolves you aren't supposed to take it seriously. I know some teenage girls may take it to seriously but lucky for us, vampires and werewolves don't exist! As for the crazyed tweens clinging to their vampire fantasies beyond reason…this is the dr.nerd love right? Do I need to point out the number of guys waiting on there princess Layas?

    Edward may be a creepier but he loves Bella in that idealized selfless way. I reiterate it could be presented without all the violence and obession but I'm pretty the fans are into it for the romance not the threat of death (although personally that's the only part that really appeals to me lol).

    I'm not sure why romance is where the genders tend to do battle. Supposedly it makes the ladies swoon and the men roll their eyes and grumble. Are men really not fond of loving relationships presented in ficton?

    If I look to the male equavlent of Twilight, *insert generic action movie here* I will certainly see an the obligatory "love" story. Even if its hamfist, last minute and largely unncessasry. So it stands to reason that men like romace too. Of course the different between these romances and Edward winning Bella's love is that the males didn't actually have to do much of anything to gain the females affections. Mostly they just had to be in the vacinity of the female charaters and these chics couldnt help but jump on their dick and admit to undying affection.

    Hmph kinda like how Edward fell for Bella…

    I will end with this

    There is an odd trend where any and everything that becomes popular because of young women is trashed and dumped on.*cough* Justin beber *cough*

    These people happen to be the most powerful demographic in the country. They can make the object of their addoration wildly rich and famous but they also have short attentions spans. Twlight will fade away way like the 90s boybands. You're, by this I mean grown men, opinions on the things they like is of absoultely no consquence. But this completely unfounded yet consitently rabid reaction just teaches them that their toughts and feelings are stupid and/or have no value. I don't see twlight screwing up the girls of the furture anymore than the billions of other negative influences in their lives. But I can forsee a self esteem boost if these men stop shitting all over the things that make these girls enjoy.

    Just saying…

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      The fact that it deals with fantasy or fantastical creatures doesn't exempt a story from having an effect on people and affect how they see things, otherwise nobody would care about The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte's Web or Watership Down.

      And if you hadn't read the site, you'd see that, no, guys aren't waiting for their Princess Leias. They're waiting for their Zooey Deschanels (see also: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2011/10/four-lies-m…. Tween and teen girls want their Edward who loves them for no reason whatsoever. Guys want the magic indie pixie girl who will come and shake them out of their humdrum lives.

      The romance genre, especially romance novels, is porn for women, frequently literally. Men are visually stimulated; we get aroused by sight as much as anything else. Women are more emotionally and intellectually stimulated; this is why women oriented erotica (such as the Red Shoe Diaries, Harlequinn romances or the infamous "slash" fanfiction) focus on the story as much as the sex, if not moreso.

      Movies, especially ones for men, tend to have love interests for three reasons: 1) it's a cheap and easy way to give the hero something to fight for, 2) it gives the producers an excuse to throw in some boobs and 3) It reassures the more uptight audiences that there's no possible way this manly man is homosexual.

      As for your assertion that popular culture for women being trashed… well, it all depends on whose ox is being gored. Right now, young girls are a dominant driving force in pop culture because marketers have realized that they spend the most of their disposable income on the average of the demographics. Ergo, they're the ones being marketed to. However, they're hardly alone in having their sources of entertainment disparaged. One barely needs to turn on Fox News to see someone wringing their hands over the sex scenes in Mass Effect, the "impact" that the God of War or Grand Theft Auto series has on young men or the fact that there are gay superheroes in comics and how this may be a plot to convert young men.

      • apostrophe s says:

        I am fully away that many geek guys are waiting on their idealized hot quiry nerd girl. As much as I enjoyed scott pilgram (comic and movie) I couldnt shake the naggin question of why a girl like ramona would ever date Scott despite her well estabished horrible taste in men/women.

        But I'm not talking about the Ramonas I'm talking about those who are literally waiting on Princess Leia the gun toting space princess who makes slavery look hot, they exist, you know they do. Leia, who might I remind you picked the bad boy just like all the other women. (Yea Luke turned out to be her brother but we all know that even if he didn't she would have still picked Han). I was in no way claiming that twlight or anyother piece of literature doesn't effect the reader, it does! I was just saying that because it fantasy the reader is forced to see it as fantasy. No matter how much anyone might want an edward of their very own they have to recognized that vampires don't actually exists and Edward by extenstion.

        I'm gonna disagree with you here, Porn for women is porn. Yes women generally need to see more than balls and vajay to get off but their is a great deal of porn with somesort of "story". Do you really think teenage girls everywhere are finger painting to the story they read in twlight? Really? REALLY? Erotic lit does exist and that is often used as porn but the romance genre is not propular because women use it to get off. Its popular because women like romance, espeically when they're young and niave or bitter and heartbroken. And honestly they enjoy the fantasy of seeing some charater they relate to or find compelling, or would like to be get with some impossibly perfect and goodlooking guy.

        I brought up action movies specifcally because they are targeted at the same demographics with the genders switched. Your a smart guy I'm sure you realized I was drawing a parall. The point is the nature of the relationship between the male and female charaters is present in the same/similar ridiculous

        way. Twlight is far from the only offender.

        I am well away that teenage girls are on of the driving forces in pop culture…one of manny. But it is mind-bogglingly absurd that so manny grown men without any children take time out of their day to dump allover the thing teenage girls find groovy this month. It has nothing to do with them! No one is forced them to listen to Justin Beber or watch Twlight with thie eyes pinned open like clockwork orange. And before anyone goes "waaa my girlfriend is making me watch it", guess what? You picked her, that was your decision. Do you have any idea how boring comic con is for someone who doesn't read comic books? And that's all damn day! If you're in a relationship with someone you're gonna have to occasionnaly do something you don't want to…suck it up and stop whining.

        Twlight and all other teen age girl funded phemenom get way more shit than comics/video games imo. And atleast in those cases its the result of actually caring about the young boys (however ridiculous the complaints may be) and not just being annoyed that twlight sold better than the latest halo novel.

        On a side note what do you have against motherhood? that whole bella baby section stuck me as odd. What's wrong with her wanting a baby or the other women doting on her for being a mother? Id argue that wanting to be a housewife is just as valid as wanting to have a career. I have a friend who's working on her phd at Yale. Do you know what she wants more than anything? To be a wife and mother. As much as that drives me up the wall who am I or anyone else to judge her for making that her ultimate goal?

        This was a good article by the way. If I had a daughter it would be more than enough to prompt me to sit down and talk to her about exactly what it is she likes about twlight.

        • Dr. NerdLove says:

          Two points: You assume that female love interests are included in action movies because guys like romance too. Now it's true, they do… which is why movies like Scott Pilgrim or Chasing Amy exist.

          But a lot of female roles are included in action movies solely at the behest of producers; as I said, either as a quick shorthand for "this is what he's fighting for" or to reaffirm the character's sexuality. This is part of the reason, f'rex, Will Smith is ALWAYS horndogging over a new girl in the Bad Boys movies. It's cinematic shorthand of saying "no homo".

          ( "no homo" btw is dumb as fuck and inherently homophobic. Unfortunately, it's also useful descriptor for the production notes that result in movies like these. Just an aside)

          As for being a mother and my supposed objections:

          I have no problems with women wanting to be mothers. However, in Twilight the subtext is that motherhood is what *all* women should be aspiring towards and any woman who doesn't bear children has failed. Bella *has* no life outside of Edward and her relationship with him. She has no interest in a career or education. The only reason she graduates from *high-school* is because he requires it. She is all about Edward.

          Period.

          And this is a *good* thing in Twilight.

          As a result of her singleminded devotion to the goals of marriage and motherhood, even at the risk of her own life (and there's a LOT of Mormon beliefs about abortion wedged in there, BTW), she gets superpowers and an angelic baby that doesn't need to be raised or fed who becomes her new bestie.

          Meanwhile, a powerful warrior for the Queilute tribe laments the fact that she may be strong and a valued member in the defense against the rampaging vampires but she's genetically a "dead end" because she can't bear children and thus ultimately a failure.

          The message that girls are nothing but baby-making machines is not something I find terribly appealing.

  41. I completely agree Harris,thanks for saying what needed to be said

  42. On a different note: I once read a very interesting article about the "formula" for a romance novel. As someone unfamiliar with the genre, I was surprised to learn that they are all generally quite predictable, though the author went on to explain that different characters in different settings acting out the same basic plotlines are comforting to readers. After reading the article, i flipped through a few novels and found the formula to be spot on each time.

    The formula is: 1) a girl/woman finds herself relatively isolated in an unfamiliar setting, then 2) meets the hero, who at first repulses/offends her for some reason, until 3) she finds herself in a threatening situation and he saves her, leading to 4) a seemingly ideal series of moments in which they are madly in love, followed by 5) a conflict of some sort in which she is again in danger and he is separated from her due to forces outside of his control, but he, being a hero, manages at last to 6) rescue her, and they live happily ever after.

    I read only the first of the _Twilight_ books. I understand that they gain in complexity (or something) as the series unfolds, but the plot of the first one felt familiar somehow…

  43. I honestly have no idea how this got popular. It really damages my faith in humanity as a whole. It has been made very obvious that Stephanie Meyer is a terrible writer. I always give the pre-teen/teen books a little more slack, as the readers are still developing, but the point of books is to stimulate the brain and make it grow, not rot it from the inside out. The writers for games have 10 times her talent, even in a game as shallow in story as god of war – at least that trilogy has the message of 'revenge will kill you in the end'. I see kids at my university reading Twilight and they are talking about how deep and complex the story is. I want to challenge them to pick up Stephen King, Lovecraft, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, or Tolkien and see if their brain starts to dribble out of their ears.

    From the snippets I have suffered through reading, the character descriptions are laughably lackluster compared to books that belong on the Best Sellers list. REH, for god's sake, had the most amazing ways of painting a scene with his words and giving a sense of strength or sensuality and barbarism about his characters. As was quoted earlier in this article, Bella's description is 'mousy brown hair' and a few other scant details. From the Conquering Sword of Conan, the main protagonist is described as 'having skin the color of polished bronze with muscles like steel cables, bulging and stretching with his labors of battle… Sullen eyes as blue as ice and a jaw like and anvil with a mane of long hair, black as midnight.' As sexist and racist as the conan stories may have been, (ie. a 'black giant' named 'N'yga') they had the character start in a bad place. In the beginning, Conan was a total bastard, but as he matured, he became a great king who would fight to the death for his country. None of the characters in Twilight change as a result of what they have been through. If Bella had been a real person and not some breed of zombie, and then gone through all the bullshit in the books, she would probably be locked away in a suicide watch ward, too busy choking on her tongue to bite her lip like a complete imbecile (I hate the acting for the movies soooo much….)

    Even in stories where marriage is a big part of the character's arc (it should, as marriage is a big part of anyones life), it should never be the sole purpose of that character. For example, In Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Perrin got married very early in the series (book 5 out of 15) to his wife Faile (Fay-lee). While she was introduced as a romantic foil for his character, it turned out she was the daughter of a powerful general and is something of a warrior princess, who at times can be tougher than her husband (not physically, but mentally, as Perrin is sometime a little slow). Their honeymoon was a battle for their home, and they end up marching to war with an army together to help their friends and families. THAT is an amazing couple, right there. No abuse (aside from the occasional tug at Perrin's beard) and no brain washing (hypnotism through breasts/buttocks not valid).

    I really hope SM just quits writing and wallows in her ill-begotten money for the rest of her life so she doesn't turn one tumor in to a case of Black Plague Boils. We know that just because she wrote Twilight, those blindly dedicated to her work will buy it and go see the inevitable movies that would follow, thus continuing this sick parody of the Circle of Life.

  44. Edward O'Malley says:

    Hey Doc,

    I'd love to hear your response to a critique from certain people (not on this comment thread) that claim the only reason you are against Twilight is because it espouses conservative Mormon ideals…

    • Edward O'Malley says:

      Also part of this person's argument is that Edward is the loving self-sacrificing good guy and Bella is the manipulative evil bitch.

      • Dr. NerdLove says:

        I'm having a very hard idea seeing how Bella could be seen as being manipulative.

        I mean, that would require that she actually *does* something.

        • Pfffft, Doctor, I think I'm falling more in love with your brilliant mind with every comment and article I read.

  45. Puerto-Greekan says:

    Found a great "Here's What You Missed" video about Twilight to watch before the Article to get you caught up. (Even if it is a bit snarky). Listening to the lines in the movies in their context makes it even creepier after reading what Nerdlove has got to say. It should definitely be creepy even on first watch or read.

    People who only look on the surface of media and take things on face value are a little bit naive. The arts, especially entertainment pieces, are riddled with subtext. In fact it being fiction means that there is whole lot more beneath the surface than let's say a biography of George Washington. The subtext to non-fiction can tell you more about the person or event that's being written about while in fiction it seems to be more of what the author is feeling and how they want their audience to feel.

    http://www.screened.com/heres-what-you-missed-the

  46. Karley Wahl says:

    THANK GOD THE HUNGER GAMES ARE COMING OUT!

  47. Terpsichoria says:

    Props.

    Though I do wonder what this (reoccuring) trope of relationships from young women can tell us about psychology and our society. If this book were written instead to detail a male POV (Bella were a Gary Stew), how do you think it would change or remain the same? (Would it become a harem anime like "Tenchi Muyo!" and "Negima?!" ?)

  48. Innocent Bystander says:

    Great article on the whole – Twilight does indeed have a truly abhorrent message about relationships, and every bit of getting the word out there is helping.

    But I'm not sure I'm down with the Kristen Stewart hate. Robert Pattinson gets all kinds of respect for the way he acts in interviews and media, obviously disgusted with a lot of what he's doing in the film (which he is doing of his own free will and getting paid a lot for, but let's not begrudge people a living). Yet Kristen Stewart's incredibly wooden performance is always a sign of how utterly terrible an actress she is, and never:
    1. A form of commentary, showing just how emotionally flat and dependant Bella is as a character, and thus in the same vein as Robert cracking jokes in interviews.
    2. The director's fault. Acting isn't a total free-reign exercise, whereby the stars do exactly what they want within the script. The director calls the shots, and that can include things like facial expressions. Maybe she was told not to emote so much?

    Anyway, I don't really know what to make of the fact that every time someone mentions Twilight, it's immediately "Stephanie Meyer is an awful writer", "Bella is the worst character in fiction" and "Kristen Stewart can't act.". These are the three most important women in the Twilight debacle, and yes, they have flaws. But there are a lot of men involved that seem to be getting a much easier time of things. And maybe the women carrying the can for the shockers while the men get a free pass is something we need to look at as a community?

    Once again, kudos for the main message. These stories and films have a deeply twisted idea of a good relationship, and we need to do whatever we can to make sure that people don't start thinking that this is somehow "ideal", let alone "normal" or "healthy".

  49. Javamsanii says:

    I read the books, and then went back and re-read some classics. The best was Wuthering Heights, which made the Twilight books look like models of a healthy, loving relationship. While I agree with Dr. Nerd Love on the broader message, it's worth mentioning that he misconstrued some elements of the book. E.g. "it’s repeated over and over again about the void that the female vampires feel because they’re unable to fulfill their womanly duties and how they’d trade everything in order to be fertile again," – not true. Only one other character talks about the how she wishes she could have children. I don't recall anything being said about "womanly duties" or trading "everything in order to be fertile again." Like I said, I agree with the broader message, but it would serve folks better to be accurate in their portrayals of the books. And then re-read Wuthering Heights. Yeesh.

  50. As someone who started reading the 'Twilight' series when I was in 5th grade, the year it came out, I can honestly tell you that it is terrifying stuff. I was 11 when my group of friends, the small clique of nerdy/geeky/etc. girls, became, frankly, obsessed with the book. We voraciously devoured the pages as if it were the newest, (dare I besmirch the names?) 'Artemis Fowl' or 'Harry Potter' novels; despite being the smart girls of the class, the ones who got good grades and were able to do fairly decent literary analysis by middle school standards, we started to emulate Bella Swan. We wanted to be as personality-less as she, if only so that the boys in our class, and the ones we met at inter-school events, would fall madly in love with our ability to be utterly devoted to them. My friends and I would talk at lunch about how we had reread 'Twilight' the night before; we would argue over who was more like the lifeless female lead and swoon over 'how romantic' Edward was, this disgusting perversion of the Byronic Hero.

    Then, as the years progressed, and I started pursuing romantic relationships myself, and as my school started educating all of us on the aspects of an abusive relationship, I started to notice something wrong. My friends had lost the interestingly quirky aspects of ourselves that had drawn us all together as children. Maybe it was just middle school drama, or puberty. I really don't have enough hindsight to know for sure. At this point, I was still reading the Twilight books, Eclipse had just been released. I started to get a bad taste in my mouth whenever Bella was thrown into another pit of despair by a hangup in her romance. And the relationship I had with the older boy I met a camp, the 'protective' one whom all my friends called romantic and compared to Edward, it didn't make me happy. I eventually realized that trying to form my personality about Corey, like Bella does so well, (in fact, I think at one point it's stated that she 'orbits' him) was ridiculous. I was dumbing myself down and wallowing in self-pity instead of fighting back and pressing on like Hermione would later do after Ron abandons her in the woods.

    I sound completely melodramatic in my account, and I'm sorry for anyone who actually reads through that drivel. My parents would never dare censor my reading choices because they respected my autonomy as a rational human being, as I think most parents should. However, I think that Twilight should not at all be marketed 1) as a great romance novel and 2) as a 'tween' novel, because, at the risk of sounding narcissistic, I was a pretty bright 11 year old who had been reading fantasy novels for forever (think LOTR at age 8), and this was the one that got to me, because it played on my own burgeoning insecurities and weaknesses. Not to mention the fact that it helped make me fairly boring and uninteresting for a year or two somewhere in there.

  51. Anyone who passes this off as a vampire fantasy is idiotic. They are not vampires. I have read fantasy since I was about 12 and this is garbage. I believe this blog is correct. She completely bounces between loving edward and teasing jacob throughout the books/movie. I went to see this crapfest of breaking dawn with a friend and listened as 8-12 year olds whined and cried about all the blood and gore of her getting ripped open through childbirth. They had to dull down the sex scene so that it didnt get an R rating! You would let your kids read this. Now when they go out and get pregnant at say 14 because they want to be bella and they found the perfect edward you have no one to blame but yourself for letting them have access to this kid of movie. The book/movie is more for an adult crowd except adults despise how it was written. I'm sorry the girls who brought there books full of post its to the movie theater and were taking notes, ridiculous and obsessed. Why not let your kids smoke crack, its just as addicting and wrong.

  52. I think when discussing the failings of Twilight it's very important (especially from a male author) to make sure criticisms of Bella and her behaviors and desires are free of the misogyny and victim-blaming that often comes into conversations of domestic abuse – and I think you did a fair job of that here. Spot-on critique, Doc.

  53. Buffy the Vampire Slayer kills her boyfriends to save the world. Now that is a role model.

    • Dr. NerdLove says:

      It was a choice between killing Angelus or literally letting the world go to hell. What, exactly, would you have her do instead?

  54. Portia West says:

    Thank you. As a woman I want to express how much I HATE this series. Twilight-bashing is common among me and many of my friends. I'm pretty horrified that this series is as popular as it is and I really don't want many guys to think that all girls love this kind of stuff.

    I always give people three reasons I hate the Twilight franchise:

    1. As you've expressed, this series has TERRIBLE messages about relationships for young girls. And since it is aimed at a young adult audience, this is a problem. Some girls will long for this type of unhealthy relationship because it's been romanticized. I don't need to elaborate, as you have.

    2. The writing is terrible. Did these really have an editor? And the descriptions of Edward…. uck. I am glad, I suppose, that these books are getting people to read, but the quality….. it's painful. I wish people cared a bit more about writing quality these days.

    3. This is my own personal thing– but to me these are not vampires. I usually don't mind a little playing around with vampire mythology but S. Meyer's way of doing so is just ridiculous (virgin vampires? sparkling?). And from my understanding she doesn't even know the mythology she's writing about and changing, she hasn't read/seen a lot of vampire stories. Frankly, I used to love vampires but it's hard to these days with all the over-saturation and the Twilight associations.

  55. How one can defend Buffy but condemn Twilight in the same breath is a bit baffling.

    Also don't think the comparison to the Jungle is apt at all. Books like the jungle had a central and explicit point about a real problem, books like twiilight are pure entertainment. You can comb through for hidden messages or themes, but hidden messages and themes (just like subliminal messages in heavy metal :) don't have the impact of a clear and direct message.

  56. everythingshiny says:

    I worked as a summer camp counselor for a few summers in the US (I'm from New Zealand) and the girls at camp convinced me to read Twilight. I'll admit that I read the first one pretty quickly, and although I always found sparkly vampires to be daft, I didn't mind it. I never really liked Edward, always preferring Jacob, but the books went markedly downhill from there and by the last one I was only reading it in order to point out to the girls just how terrible it really is.

    I've seen most of the films as well, for the same reason – I was at camp when Eclipse came out, I watched Twilight on the plane over because I knew the girls would ask if I'd seen it, I saw New Moon with a friend who dragged me there (and I laughed out loud several times, much to her annoyance).

    I used to stage "dramatic readings" of Twilight at camp in the evenings with some of the campers, where I would read out passages of the book. A particular favourite of mine that I returned to again and again was when Bella doesn't want Edward to carry her through the woods on his back, because last time it made her feel sick. Edward "convinces" her by slowly pressing her back up against the car, literally pinning her back so she can't stop him (does he hold her by the wrists? I think so but I can't recall exactly) and then slowly kisses her neck, moves up to her lips. When he does kiss her lips, she kisses him back and he immediately yells at her. "Dammit Bella!" That's a direct quote. I read it out so many times, I remember it. Later, he kisses her again and "this time I held obediently still" (or some such line).

    I found that scene to be disturbing, but when you skim read the book, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. Especially as Bella constantly makes excuses for Edward's behaviour. So I would read it aloud, so that the girls could see it the way I did. I didn't tell any of them not to read it – in fact I know I was directly responsible for one girl starting to read it (only because I was laughing so hard at Breaking Dawn that she wanted to be in on the joke). I don't mind if they read Twilight, I just want them to see that it's not as romantic as they might think.

    We would also play a game where I would read out a passage of Twilight that spent a lot of time embellishing Edward's incredibly perfect good looks. On and on about how perfect his bronze hair is and perfect muscles and Adonis-like face. Then I would re-read it, omitted any physical description of Edward. His actions suddenly seemed a lot less appealing. Then I would read it for a third time, describing Edward as being physically unattractive. And then they all said "eww, he's so creepy!" If he follows you home and watches you sleep and he's not good looking, suddenly it's not romantic at all. At least not to the brain of a teenage girl.

    I get it. I understand that teenage girls loves stories about romance, and handsome boys sweeping them off their feet. I understand the appeal of a boy who loves you for who you are, even with your flaws (clumsiness, lack of athletic ability – Bella's more intrinsic personality flaws e.g. her lack of self-esteem are not admitted to directly by Bella). I even understand the appeal of someone coming in and helping you to organise your life – teenage girls are in a constant state of emotional turmoil, and having someone who loves them to guide them through that seems like a dream come true. But I don't like how, amongst other things, Edward constantly belittles Bella. (One scene in Twilight has her getting into a monster jeep of some kind to go for a drive, and she sits in the seat with the racing harness seatbelts and tries to do it up but it looks far too complicated, so with a big SIGH Edward leans over and does it for her. Such learned helplessness offends me. If Edward had smiled and teased her gently and she had teased him back, I wouldn't have minded. But she doesn't think she can do it, he clearly accepts that she doesn't think she can do it and then without asking, does it for her. While she sits there passively. Edward wants Bella to be passive, Bella is fine with this – that offends me. That's what makes Bella so different from Buffy, for example. Buffy is a fighter. Bella is a victim.

    I am also slightly concerned by the comments of some people on this blog saying that "everyone longs for another person to fill a hole in their life". Um…no. I don't need a man to make me feel whole. I look forward to finding someone to share my life with, but I have a life of my own as well. Nothing is less sexy (or exhausting) than someone with zero self-worth, IMO.

    Sidenote on the subject of the movies, I also think that Kristen Stewart has been given a rough time. not only for her acting ability, but frequently I would see gossip mags that had stories like "Sour Kristen cramps Rob's style" etc – I recall one where they were complaining that Kristen only ever wanted to stay at home in the evenings and be boring, and Rob wanted to go out partying and boozing and who is Kristen to stop him from doing that? She's dragging him down OMG… Imagine if the gender roles were reversed here? What if Rob wanted to stay at home but all Kristen wanted to do was get drunk and drape herself all over guys? If Rob was photographed with other girls, it was Kristen's fault for not going out partying with him. If Kristen had been photographed with other boys, the headline would probably have been more like "Rob's Heartbreak" – I feel sorry for Kristen Stewart. Whether or not she can act, she is frequently villainised by the media. Even those teenage girls who empathise with Bella tend to attack Kristen. Prsumably because she "has" Edward… from what I can tell, Rob Pattinson is a far cry from Edward. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but girls do get confused sometimes. I'm still not convinced taht he is attractive at all, I just don't see it. I suppose others do, but my theory is that it's a bizarre sociological experiment, whereby girls are brainwashed by reading Twilight and learning that "Edward is HOTT and perfect". then they cast an unattractive guy but call him "Edward Cullen" and girls just think he's "HOTT and perfect" despite all evidence to the contrary… :P Ok I'm kidding here but I just don't get it…. Then again when I was 15 I was obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio, but when I rewatched Titanic last year I thought to myself "Really?" I don't see it anymore (not in that movie anyway).

    Gossip magazines almost have more to answer for than Twilight, promoting that kind of drivel.

    One final thing. I grew up watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and I currently enjoy "The Vampire Diaries." Both shows have strong female protagonists, and TVD recently did a great episode where Elena told her vampire boyfriend Stefan that she didn't want to become a vampire. Because she wanted to have a life and a future, and that while she loves him now, she's only 17. She doesn't know that he is what she will always want. That right there was a big middle finger to Twilight, and I loved Elena for it.

  57. I find that the people who boast about their own sense of self worth (while attacking others for "needing" a man or woman) are often just falling on a defense to hide their low self esteem.

  58. it seem to me a lot of female dont respect bella aka stephenie myers decision and or mindset.

  59. Aurelia Verity says:

    I read somewhere (unfortunately i cannot find the link) a review of Twilight by someone who was Mormon. Apparently for poor Mormons the books is even creepier because not only are the Cullens a perfect Mormon family but Edward Cullen clearly resembles John Smith, the man at the root of the Mormon religion. everything in the way Edward is described; his looks, his demeanor, many of his beliefs, is creepily reminiscent of John Smith's portrayal in Mormon writing.

    Meyer not only wrote obvious fan fiction, she wrote fan fiction about her religions spiritual leader.

    To put this in Christian perspective that's like reading creepy, self-inserting, wish fulfilling, sex and baby filled fan fiction of a grown woman with Jesus.

  60. Butterfly says:

    Yes, I used to be a Twilighter as well. For about a year and a half, I'd think about little else. In those days, I used Twilight to seperate me from others, as weird as it might appear. But in my class, I was one of the first to read it and even though I was not exactly popular, rather the opposite, I kind of was the beginning. Okay, go on, judge me.

    But of course, with thirteen, I didn't see Twilight the harsh, anti-free-will-for-girls-way. Only a few months later, I started to doubt it, and I found better couples to romanticise. Katniss and Peeta, Arwen and Aragorn, Rosa and Alessandro. I am not saying that romanticising is great, actually quite thoe opposite. But especially as a girl, I think I just can't help it.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to find real love as a teenager. We know that, but still, we dream. And as a dreaming, hormone-controlled teenage girl, you just don't see what you don't want to see, that's just not how it works. We make up our perfect guys, imagine perfect situations etc..

    I do not, heaven forbid, justify the way Stephenie Meyer portrays love. But as far as I see it, she wrote down her own fantasies, her own dreams, and it happened to be turned into a book. And if you're not looking for highly sophisticated literature and don't look too deeply into it, Twilight is another helplessly romanticised story. Yes, it's flat. Yes, it's more than a little stupid. BUT THERE IS WORSE.

    Now you're allowed to go hating on me. It's fine. It's just my opinion, all right?

  61. I once went on a date with a guy who, by the end of the first date, wanted me to quit high school and move in with him.

    I told him no fucking way and dumped him.

    He threatened to hurt himself if I didn't stay.

    I cut off all contact with him and dumped him anyway. Don't know if he actually hurt himself or not.

    I also broke up with a girl who was basically making me jump through hoops for just the merest hint that there might be a reward. I don't care if she's "difficult" or "has trouble opening up to people"– I know when I'm being bullshitted and strung along, and I put a stop to it. Y'know, like normal people do when they realize something's not right and they can do so much better.

    Twilight is an embarrassment to anything it can be remotely connected to. Paper, literature, romance, vampires, even glitter. It is an insult to glitter. It is the kind of costumed villain that Spider-Man would swing over and say, "Okay, sunshine, who let YOU leave the house in that getup?" before webbing it to a lamp post for the cops to find.

  62. Twilight is great if only because I can hold it up to geeks and say, "This is what it's like to be a geek girl."

    Then they say, "Entirely dependent on abusive men?/ Worshipping the ground your boyfriend walks on?/ Obsessed with vampires?/ A boring, clumsy, low-life nobody?/ etc. etc."

    And then I say, "No! Not the main character, silly! You! Right now! How you feel looking at this obviously lowest-common-denominator tough of pig slop and realizing it made more money and cultural impact than any criticism you make will change? And people worship it without a second thought? THAT'S what it's like to be a geek girl!"

  63. Jacob black and Sethclearwater. from twilight breaking dawn are so so sexy. I want to marry seth clearwater so badly I hope I could see him in really life

  64. denellephant says:

    I was a twihard a couple years ago, and I felt that the romance between Bella and Edward was true love.
    I was fooled, and actually ended up in an abusive relationship. I won't go into details, and I do not blame Twilight for leading me into this relationship, but it did seem to have a grand effect. Especially for those who, like myself, have never had a real relationship, books and media are guides into what a relationship should be like. Fortunately, after 13 months, and disregarding his constant threats to commit suicide if I left, I had gained enough strength to break up with him.
    I am not some idiot who fell for whomever would love me. I was a great band member, 4.0 student with a heart for the wounded. I just ended up with the wrong guy and looked to the wrong role models.

  65. I find the Hate Twilight receives frustrating. It's a Fantasy that sends some questionable messages, so do all the old Gothic Romances, so do plenty of things no one attacks Men for liking. The real Sexism to me is the people who constantly judge Women for liking twilight. And for everything attacking from a Feminist perspective most are just being blatantly misogynist and Homophobic.

  66. I keep trying to subscribe to the Letters thing, but there’s nowhere to do so! Once i sign in, under the MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION website link, there’s only my Book Club subscription. How do I add the Letters thing for $5?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] everything – EVERYTHING – Edward does shows up as a red flag in DV handouts (something Dr. NerdLove addresses well in his recent Twilight post). And as I mentioned on Twitter, I know of too many young girls who wonder why their boyfriend [...]

  2. [...] to movies, here’s how Twilight confuses love with abuse. You’ve likely seen this before, because it’s not like it’s a subtle book or [...]

  3. [...] of shit. I’m also not going to rail on what ‘message’ I think it sends because that’s been done. and done. and [...]

  4. [...] and knowing how way leads on to way on the Internet, a review of his very popular article on why Twilight is a horrible example to draw upon for pictures of healthy relationships lead me down the rabbit hole onto a commenter’s blog entries about how she lost her faith in [...]

  5. […] course, this doesn’t work well; in fact, many people get trapped in abusive or exploitive relationships simply because they think “that’s just how relationships are.” […]

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