Bite Me! (Or Don't)

Bite Me! (Or Don't)
Article by Christine Seifert, published in 2008; filed under Books; tagged abstinence, fan fiction, objectification, porn, sex, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, vampires, YA fiction.
Stephenie Meyer’s vampire-infested Twilight series has created a new YA genre: abstinence porn

Abstinence has never been sexier than it is in Stephenie Meyer's young adult four-book Twilight series. Fans are super hot for Edward, a century-old vampire in a 17-year-old body, who sweeps teenaged Bella, your average human girl, off her feet in a thrilling love story that spans more than 2,000 pages. Fans are enthralled by their tale, which begins when Edward becomes intoxicated by Bella's sweet-smelling blood. By the middle of the first book, Edward and Bella are deeply in love and working hard to keep their pants on, a story line that has captured the attention of a devoted group of fans who obsess over the relationship and delight in Edward's superhuman strength to just say no.

The Twilight series has created a surprising new sub-genre of teen romance: It's abstinence porn, sensational, erotic, and titillating. And in light of all the recent real-world attention on abstinence-only education, it's surprising how successful this new genre is. Twilight actually convinces us that self-denial is hot. Fan reaction suggests that in the beginning, Edward and Bella's chaste but sexually charged relationship was steamy precisely because it was unconsummated—kind of like Cheers, but with fangs. Despite all the hot "virtue," however, we feminist readers have to ask ourselves if abstinence porn is as uplifting as some of its proponents seem to believe. 


Given that teens are apparently still having sex—in spite of virginity rings, abstinence pledges, and black-tie "purity balls"—it might seem that remaining pure isn't doing much for the kids these days anyway. Still, the Twilight series is so popular it has done the unthinkable: knocked Harry Potter off his pedestal as prince of the young adult genre. The series has sold more than 50 million copies, and Twilight fan fiction, fan sites, and fan blogs crowd the Internet. Scores of fans have made the trek to real-life Forks, Wash., where the series is set. The first of a trilogy of film adaptations of the books, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, was scheduled to hit theaters in time for Christmas.


Nowhere was readers' multigenerational infatuation with Bella and Edward's steamy romance more evident than in their "engagement" party at a Sandy, Utah, Barnes & Noble store. On the evening of August 1, 2008, before the fourth book was released, guests flocked to the store wearing formal wedding attire to celebrate the happy fictional couple. Preteen girls in princess dresses, "My Heart Belongs to Edward" stickers plastered to their faces, posed for photos. Grandmothers in flowing gowns or homemade "I Love Edward" t-shirts stood in line to play Twilight trivia. Clever teen boys in Edward costumes fought off ersatz Bellas. 


The air in the store was electric as fans broke into two groups: the much smaller group of Jacob fans (Jacob is Bella's best friend who is hopelessly in love with her, but it's a doomed relationship since Jacob is a werewolf, a lifelong enemy of the vamps) and the group of rabid Edward fans. The questions of the night were: Will Edward and Bella finally do it? If so, will the magic be ruined when the abstinence message is gone? But nobody seemed to be asking an even more important question: Has the abstinence message—however unwittingly—undermined feminist sensibilities? 


The answers came sooner than expected. After the engagement party, fans rushed home with their copies of Breaking Dawn, only to discover that Edward and Bella go all the way in the first few chapters, after they get married, of course. But it seems that in the context of marriage and parenthood (which comes quickly, natch), Edward and now-19-year-old Bella are just like our traditional grandparents. Or the Moral Majority. 


Breaking Dawn's Bella is a throwback to a 1950s housewife, except for the fact that Edward has turned her into a vampire. But this act is one of '50s-esque female self-sacrifice: It's precipitated by Bella's need to let her human self die in order to save their half-vampire baby. Their monstrous offspring is frightening, but what's really frightening is Bella and Edward's honeymoon scene. Edward, lost in his own lust, "makes love" so violently to Bella that she wakes up the next morning covered in bruises, the headboard in ruins from Edward's romp. And guess what? Bella likes it. In fact, she loves it. She even tries to hide her bruises so Edward won't feel bad. If the abstinence message in the previous books was ever supposed to be empowering, this scene, presented early in Breaking Dawn, undoes everything.


What's worrisome is that fans are livid about the last book not because of the disturbing nature of Bella and Edward's sexual relationship, but because they consummated it in the first place. Shimmerskin, a poster on the message board Twilightmoms.com, summed it up best for a number of defeated fans: "The first three books were alive with sheer romanticism but I never felt it in [Breaking Dawn]. The sweep and scope of a grand love affair in [the first three books] was absent. The brilliantly innocent eroticism that took our breath away was also gone." Some fans are so upset at this loss of "innocence" they've created an online petition demanding answers from Meyer and her publisher, Little, Brown. "We were your faithful fans…," the petitioners write. "We are the people that you asked to come along with you on this journey, and we are disappointed." 


Perhaps some of this bitter disappointment stems from book four's departure into adult territory, where Bella becomes a traditional—and boring—teenaged mom. The removal of the couple's sexual tension reveals two tepid, unenlightened people. Neither character has much to offer outside the initial high school romance storyline: Bella doesn't have any interesting hobbies, nor is she particularly engaged in the world around her. Her only activity outside her relationship with Edward seems to be cooking dinner for her father. Edward hangs out with his family, but the bulk of his 24 hours a day of wakefulness seems to go to either saving Bella from danger or watching her when she sleeps—you know, that age-old savior/stalker duality. Romantic! 


As other feminists like Anna N. on Jezebel.com have pointed out, Edward is a controlling dick, a fact that becomes abundantly clear in the leaked pages of Meyer's first draft of Midnight Sun, a retelling of Twilight from Edward's perspective. In those pages, available on Meyer's website, Edward imagines what it would be like to kill Bella. "I would not kill her cruelly," he thinks to himself. Ever the gentleman, Edward. His icy calculation of how best to kill Bella is horrifying, and it illustrates the disconnect between the two characters.


By extension, readers who interpreted Edward's reluctance to be near Bella in Twilight as evidence of his innocent "crush" on her are forced to recognize that even Edward—the dream guy—is not at all he's cracked up to be. Digging into Edward's mind reinforces the old stereotype that underneath it all, even the best guys are calculating vampires, figuring out how to act on their masculine urges. Edward holds all the power, while Bella—and female readers—romanticizes the perfect man who doesn't exist. It's no wonder that Midnight Sun has not been widely released: It would likely spark even greater fan ire. 


Such disappointment suggests something about the desire readers have for abstinence messages; it may also suggest readers' belief that, pre-sex, Edward and Bella were the perfect couple. In reality, the abstinence message—wrapped in the genre of abstinence porn—objectifies Bella in the same ways that "real" porn might. The Twilight books conflate Bella losing her virginity with the loss of other things, including her sense of self and her very life. Such a high-stakes treatment of abstinence reinforces the idea that Bella is powerless, an object, a fact that is highlighted when we get to the sex scenes in Breaking Dawn. 


Of course the paradox is that the more Meyer sexualizes abstinence, the more we want Bella and Edward to actually have sex. This paradox becomes extra-convoluted when we find out, in a moment that for some is titillating, for others creepy, that sex could literally equal death for Bella. In one scene in Twilight, Bella asks Edward in a roundabout way if they would ever be able to consummate their relationship. Edward responds, "I don't think that…that…would be possible for us." Bella responds, "Because it would be too hard for you, if I were that…close?" Yes, Edward tells her. But more than that he reminds her that she's "soft" and "so fragile" and "breakable." "I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident." 


And it's not just Bella's life that's at stake—it's her very humanity. The closer she and Edward get, the more tempting it is for him to bite her and turn her into a vampire, and the conflation of his vampiric and carnal urges is obvious. As Midnight Sun reveals, Edward's bloodlust is every bit as potent as his romantic love. It doesn't take a Freudian to read Edward's pulsating, insistent vampire lips pressed against Bella's pale, innocent neck as an analogy for, well, something else. From clandestine meetings in Bella's bedroom to time spent in a forest clearing, Edward almost always has his lips on Bella's neck—a dangerous activity, as we learn in Twilight that "the perfume of [Bella's] skin" is an unbearably erotic and tempting scent for Edward. When they do kiss, Bella often loses control of herself, which means Edward must be ever-vigilant in controlling "his need." After their first kiss, Bella asks if she should give him some room. "No," he tells her, "it's tolerable." He goes on, "I'm stronger than I thought." Bella responds, "I wish I could say the same. I'm sorry." 


Fan fiction reveals fans' tacit understanding of the serious dangers of sex and the excitement of it, illustrating that readers have picked up on Meyer's analogy where the sexual penetration of Bella's human body is akin to the vampiric penetration of Bella's skin. One piece of fan fiction was posted to TheTwilightSaga.com on June 22, 2008, before the release of the fourth book, by a particularly ardent fan (hardy'sgirl). In the story, Edward and Bella have gotten married and are on their honeymoon. Edward begins kissing Bella (on her neck, of course), and then begins removing her jeans. Bella, with a pounding heart, asks herself, "Would I really let him go all the way?" Keep in mind that within this story, Bella and Edward are married; waffling about "doing it" with your husband might point to the age and maturity of the writer, but it also taps into the fear of intimacy that Meyer establishes in the books. The fan writer picks up on that fear as she continues her story: As Edward becomes more sexually aroused, he turns into something Bella doesn't recognize, and she begins to fight him. The fan writes: 


Edward had become a monster. that dangerous vampire he held hidden away from me…and I was the one about to pay for it…he held my arms above my head pinned onto the bed in iron clasps. i was panicking and my breathing was fast. Edward sat up above me…and the look in his eyes weren't ones ive ever seen before…unless he was about to feed. 


The rape fantasy is apparent, of course, but even more salient is the fan writer's subconscious understanding of the theme Meyer has been establishing: that sex is dangerous and men must control themselves. It's a matter of life or death, and ultimately men are in charge.


It's clear from both the books and the fan fiction response to them that Edward has taken on the role of protector of Bella's human blood and chastity, both of which, ironically, are always in peril when Edward is nearby. Bella is not in control of her body, as abstinence proponents would argue; she is absolutely dependent on Edward's ability to protect her life, her virginity, and her humanity. She is the object of his virtue, the means of his ability to prove his self-control. In other words, Bella is a secondary player in the drama of Edward's abstinence. 


Reader Shimmerskin again astutely notes, "…it's so clever that these books aren't just about sexual abstinence. Edward is fighting two kinds of lust at the same time. Abstaining from human blood has probably been good practice for tamping down his sexual appetites now that he's with Bella.…"


It's arguably clever, sure, but it's also a sad commentary on Bella's lack of power. Ultimately, it's a statement of the sexual politics of Meyer's abstinence message: Whether you end up doing the nasty or not doesn't ultimately matter. When it comes to a woman's virtue, sex, identity, or her existence itself, it's all in the man's hands. To be the object of desire, in abstinence porn is not really so far from being the object of desire in actual porn. 


Christine Seifert is an assistant professor of communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She teaches classes in professional writing and rhetoric. 


Comments

403 comments have been made. Commenting is set to read-only for this post.

You guys should really have

You guys should really have put a warning on this article. As soon as you gave away what happens in the fourth book I stopped reading. I was really interested in what you had to say, i found the first few paragraphs gripping, but any article that gives away novel plots should have warnings and I wont continue to read because of that.

LOL

You shouldn't continue to read the series anyways since it's a horrible piece of tripe and all of the trees that have been sacrificed to print this thinly-veiled Mormon bullcrap would best be served by being recycled.

Just my opinion.

Yes, let's all stop reading

Yes, let's all stop reading books that Begemot doesn't like. The world would be so much more wonderful if we could only all have the same taste in everything. Fiction or not, if Begemot doesn't like it we shouldn't waste our time! Yes, don't even bother finishing the books even if you're already enjoying reading them. That just means you're defective.

Just my opinion.

just an opinion

yeah, it was just an opinion....

I agree.

It's sad really that the general consumers of poular culture cannot assess what theyre reading. No wonder, popular culture is always reduced to mass cultures. It is products such as Twilight that reinforce this. Such garbage.

Stop reading? Right, that's What America needs

Begemont, do you watch C-SPAN and use eco-friendly products with the same self-righteousness? Down here on planet earth we're glad teenage girls are reading at all... it leads to good things like better books and higher education rather than endless hours of Grand Theft Auto and MySpace flirting. Just my opinion.

yeah lets give a bottle of mustard to a starving child

at least they're reading?! No MAM! (or sir). Just because they read does not mean that they are getting anything out of it( or anything good for that matter)! Books have a huge impact on people. My point? The jungle was just a book so was Tom Uncle's Cabin. What you read is important and your ignorance on the matter is frightening because that's exactly the mediocre views we have on our youth.

Why don't you just throw an 11 year old The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty?

Yeah, I mean just as long as they read right?

I wish I could be this

I wish I could be this idealistic. But I actually work with young people and I know how the media marketplace competes for their attention. Getting them started reading ANYTHING is the first step. Being all judgey and high-horsed about the content that people choose hasn't worked for me.

It's the reason you see a ton of Manga in libraries these days. Yeah, there's pictures. But librarians will tell you - it gets kids into the library, it gets kids reading, it gets them to understand that the activity itself is pleasurable and worth the time.

Twilight sucks. But they've read it. So either step up and donate your time to talk/teach about it, or stand aside and dither about "shoulds" and "ought to's" - I think you know which choice might have a chance at real impact.

From one of those young people

I understand where you're trying to come from, but generalizing the reading habits of young people is tricky business. I know many "young people" who read voraciously (and not just the ones going to college either), so to me it doesn't seem quite so counterproductive to suggest better reading material. And yes, the reality, of course, is that some of us youngsters will still read crappy books, but at least the idea will have been introduced that perhaps they might encounter some issues worthy of questioning.

And also, just on a personal note, manga, in many cases, is a lot more than just pictures...if you pick up the right kinds, the content engages with all sorts of worthwhile social issues.

I read manga, I'm a young

I read manga, I'm a young person, and thank you for understanding that it's not just a picture book. I read this series, started it before the mania, and now that it's full blown I find it interesting that most of the fans want to find their Edward, no one really wants to be Bella. I aspired to some of the characters in the good books I read. It gives me hope to think that, consciously or not, girls reading these books don't want to be like Bella because they realize she's not someone too look up to.

jus sayin....

On the contrary she is someone to look up to, in more ways than one. She has the wit, the innocence, a good sense of right and wrong, she's affectionate beyond her years and cares about the people she loves so immensely, above all she's faithful to some extent (more than what i can say for 40% of the earth's population), she's stubborn and sacrificial, she's weak yet so strong in her own way. But i would understand if all those attributes wouldn't mean anything to you, no offence, or perhaps you have no true insight on what this book entails and reveals to us and what the fictional and metaphorical characters teaches us in the way that Stephenie portrays them, but inspite of what you might have read in other justified good books, you might have known this before but everyone is special and good in their own way...and though it doesn't help to contradict against you in the same way it doesn't help to be making comparisons...jus saying...

No. Just no.

No. Just no.

Yes and No

On the one hand, there's a small scrap of logic, it would seem, to the idea that "kids won't read at all, unless they're reading... at all".

And yeah, I can confirm that when I was a kid, everybody was reading Goosebumps and Animorphs (both of which were in hindsight varying degrees of dumb, though Goosebumps WAY moreso, probably because it was actually aimed at a younger audience), and this included kids like me that graduated later to say, Isaac Asimov and Mary Shelley (well, ok, Frankenstein was actually assigned reading for AP English, but I still loved it).

However, this ALSO included WAY more kids who never bothered to read fiction more complex than Goosebumps.

And I have noticed a disturbing pattern: some of the really young, really rabid Twilight fans?

Will OPENLY ADMIT that they a.) think Twilight is the Best Series Ever, and b.) have never willingly read another fiction book. EVER.

Seriously! Yes! I have seen posts from Twilight obsessives that will proudly claim that Twilight is better than say, Harry Potter, but then they'll turn around and admit, sometimes quite proudly, that they never read Harry Potter! These are the same kids that when Stephen King GENTLY criticized Stephenie Meyer as "a good storyteller, but I'm afraid she's not a very good writer", pointing out (quite fairly) that's really not very good on the writing end, but on channeling characters' emotions onto the page, she's quite good... flipped their S*** and actually said, in total seriousness and total ignorance of their own ignorance, things like "what does Stephen King know about good writing, all he does is stupid crap about creepy clowns and killer cars" and "what the hell does Stephen King know about teenage girls!?". Apparently they were so ignorant, they didn't realize that he wrote "Carrie", or if they did, they probably thought "it's some dumb story about a girl who goes crazy". They also were, hilariously, quite ignorant of the fact that he wrote Shawshank Redemption (the film won an Oscar, to boot!). And when questioning "what does Stephen King know about writing", they proved they had never heard of "On Writing". Moreover, an entertaining exercise for you: Google "Stephenie Meyer is a good writer". Now Google "Stephen King is a good writer". See which one gets higher results.

Now, are there some Twilight fans out there that will probably move on to better books? Well, yes. Statistically speaking, there will be. There are even quite a few people that read the series only as a Guilty Pleasure, and otherwise are ok, even nice people with good taste and a wide variety of fiction/nonfiction that they read. But the core, rabid fanbase, particularly amongst the youngest teens and tweens, has often behaved in a way that made me sad for the sake of this generation's future.

We are NOT seeing the same "gateway drug to reading" effect that we had with Harry Potter. Put bluntly, the Twilight books on average aren't a "gateway drug" to anything but the Twilight franchise. Which is sad, really. But it's also apparently the truth.

The Value of Reading-Whatever

I have to weigh in here. I am a writer and reader of literary fiction and the occasional classic. I now get excited when I find out there is a new translation of War and Peace that is different than all others that came before it. Would I have cared about this twenty years ago when I was sitting up all night reading Clive Barker's "Books of Blood"? Definately not. Would I have slogged through "Atlas Shrugged" to get a better idea of what the other side believes? Not on your life. I would have stopped reading if those were my options though that's what my mother would have preferred. If I hadn't developed the patience and ability to sit still for 1,000+ pages while reading "lesser" works, I wouldn't be able to do it now.

When I was in third grade I started Anna Karenina because the book was pretty. I didn't get past the first page for obvious reasons. I still think of this as a personal failure. Strange but true. I did read seventy pages of Jaws around the same time before tiring and moving back to whatever it was that was more at my level. I loved the front cover and tension the author set up from the first page.

My mother constantly harped about my choice of reading material, "Garbage in, garbage out." I persisted because I got something out of reading, it took me away and made me forget about all the BS that comes with growing up. I learned early on that reading was a worthwhile use of my time. Though I love Charles Dickens and his zany characters, there is no way I would have appreciated them, nor been willing to take the time to find them when I was fifteen, or even twenty.

Kids and anyone for that matter, should read whatever the heck makes them happy. Whatever. Because if they pick up the habit and make reading and words a part of their lives, they will continue to do this as adults. If they find nothing worthwhile to read when their tastes are less mature, one might say, they won't make it to the place where they can appreciate anything better (I realize that "good" and "better" are subjective terms).

I am living proof of this. I would even argue that my tastes surpassed my mothers by the time I was thirty. She never got beyond your non-fiction political stuff. She SAID Dickens and the classics was what I was supposed to be reading. What did she open up at bedtime? Shirley Maclaine and Ronald Regan biographies.
Here might be a good time to point out the hypocrisy that always comes with these types of discussions. "Good Literature" is something most people can pretend to agree on. What they are actually reading when no one is looking is a good story, whatever form it takes.

You're a writer and you

You're a writer and you can't spell definitely? Kids should not read whatever they want; kids are impressionable. Young girl's should not be influenced by this drivel.

you shouldn't criticize

you shouldn't criticize spelling, in your own sentence it should be "girls" (no apostrophe needed as it is not possessive simply plural) and why is it only girls you want to protect? Not that I agree with your sentiment in fact but even reading what you think is truly awful is in fact still developing a skill (reading) and there are just as many sexist movies/tv shows/videogames that I hardly think shutting down the not "worthwhile" books will solve the influences you'd like solved.

Manga is different

As an adult who reads manga, I would like to point out that a lot of series have coherent plots, and most series that have weak-willed women in them also have strong-willed women to even the balance and remind readers that not ALL women are wimps--and that therefore, female readers don't have to be.

Most teen-friendly mangas send positive messages or raise ethical questions in the mind of the reader. ("Those creatures are persecuted by their human neighbors just for being different." "Is science always a good thing, even if scientific advancement comes at the cost of human lives?" etc.) It's more than just a comic book with flashy characters--it's a mental adventure. The only exceptions I've ever come across tend to have graphic sex and violence, and thus aren't suitable for minors anyway.

Twilight, on the other hand--well, just read the review above. I doubt that teaching women to be identity-free doormats is what people want out of a book.

The Good and Bad Of Twilight

Firstly, to Carla Girlpants - many manga stories are, in short, MASTERPIECES and INCREDIBLE! They are as Tati said engaging in all sorts of things that "Twilight", unfortunately doesn't. Have you ever read Yuki Kaori's "Angel Sanctuary"? Or the manga "Paradise Kiss"? Or even the mangas "Death Note" and "Rurouni Kenshin"? And Of Course the metaphysical masterpiece "Revolutionary Girl Utena"? They are great pieces of work that show the psychological and, as Tati said, social issues in the world. I'm not criticizing you, I am just saying that unlike average/typical Western Comic Books (though I love them too) many manga are highly exceptional pieces of work that deserve awards.

Now, about "Twilight" - I won't deny that there was some parts I did love and found addictive - but as a whole I DISLIKED IT. Why? Well, I remember some scenes were beautifully written, made you want to read it but overall Bella's STUPID CHARACTER and Edward's "I'm so perfect" attitude doesn't really work for me. I am still reading the first book and Bella is ANNOYING AS HELL. First of all she is condescending and egotistical. I thought I first hated the book because I had a premature disdain for it but even when I tried reading (though I have to admit the book has more depth than the movie) it was infuriating to listen to Bella at times. I loved the fact she loved reading books and I love the fact she liked bookstores but what's her problem? She says she sucks at everything else then she goes on condescending people (Mike, a golden retriever?). She is egotistical in this way and for a girl who brags on how she read Chaucer, Faulkner, Shakespeare, Bronte, etc I cannot believe her prose would seem rushed. As I said at parts it is beautiful but I mean come on - it also becomes tedious and annoying!

The only thing I loved about the books in some way was Jacob and the clash of vampires and werewolves (which unfortunately doesn't seem like the main theme of the books) - from what I heard his chemistry with Bella seems genuine; but I am not a Jacob fan yearning that he hook up with her. Edward and Bella are not the greatest couple - their relationship is cute but caring and actual affection seems mitigated and unreal.

I genuinely felt BAD - I saw "New Moon"'s trailer and I loved the cinematography and some of the scenes were beautiful - but, I feel bad that "Twilight" , a book whose potential and unexplored dimensions I can love, were never even touched. Does Bella and Edward need to be together? Is there any true feeling, any true logic?

The characters could have had more - I love the potential in them that I can visualize but as my friend said they are not fully developed, they are painstakingly involved in a stereotypical "self-sacrifice" and boring sexuality.

Why did the books potential left unexplored? I do not know. I think Meyer's "The Host" is a better book and I think I will enjoy that - the idea was INCREDIBLE in that book but I have yet to read it. I just hope it uses it's potential which I think "Twilight" did not do. I will read all the books though and see if the story does win me but up to now Bella is not a favourite narrator of mine.

yeah..right.

wow, you are seriously comparing comics to a book? i don't even know where to begin on that one.
but your definatly being way too condesending about the whole thing. i would love to know what kind of books you read to the point where you feel you can talk this whole series down. i believe they're great books, i've read them all many times & bella's character has true emotions, ones that are realistic, that girls can relate to easily.

Though I do agree her

Though I do agree her general attitude was condescending, she is right in placing comics on the same level at books. You have some shallow comics which are more cheap candy than anything, but you have some that are just downright brilliant and intelligent, and they use the comic medium to create stories just as potent as their novel cousins do.

A couple that come to mind are Maus by Art Spigelman and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. And I'm going to second Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Also, I agree that Bella's emotions are very similar to those that a lot of girls experience. For a girl with an abusive spouse, her emotions are very realistic indeed. The problem is that the series sugar coats and romanticizes an abusive relationship, and it sends the message to a younger audience that this is okay and what love is supposed to be. And I'm sure I'm beating the dead horse to a pulp by this point, but good lord, kids (and yes, even teenagers) are impressionable. If you send the message that this sort of relationship is okay and healthy, they're going to believe that, surprise, it's okay and healthy. It would be different if Meyer at least pointed out Bella's passiveness and Edward's abusiveness as what they are, flaws, but alas, she doesn't.

I totally agree with you--

I totally agree with you-- using the "mustard to a starving child" comparison is so far removed it just doesn't work in practice. Also, though, could I point out that a starving child would actually be happy with just a bottle of mustard if that's all they could find? The Twilight series are not so incredibly disturbing or harmful that they deserved to be banished to the 9th ring of hell, as that person seems to think. I have several teachers in my family and friends, many of whom are women, and as the oldest of a family of four children, I've experienced firsthand the resistance to reading ANYTHING. I would rather get the kids to experience a novel that has some (yes, some) redeeming qualities than keeping their eyes constantly glued to the many many harmful and disreputable (to say the least) sources on the internet and excruciatingly anti-feminist movies and myspace ads that are out there. If you're not willing to put in the time and effort with these kids, your right to complain about the injustices of the few novels they like is GONE.

re: yeah, let's give a bottle of mustard to a starving child

"Why don't you just throw an 11 year old The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty?"

Exactly. Reading trash is the same as watching trash on tv. Doesn't do anything for the mind.

Quality matters

I'm with Marissa. The quality of what our kids read is just as important as their reading at all. The twilight series' popularity scares the shit out of me, because it's utter crap and it propagates just what the article's author asserts: women are first objects who grow up to become roaming sexual energy that must be channeled by a man.
Nothing bothers me more than the phrase "at least they're reading." The phrase is so inane because it devalues the power of literature. Where our mothers had Gertrude Stein, we will have...what? Stephanie Meyers, mormon housewife who teaches us that sex is, essentially, the domain of a strong man and at the same time, the destroyer of our values?

Do not dismiss the power of influence of teen books because "at least it's not MTV or Myspace," when these books are just as damaging as all the other pop-culture slime that our children's whole sphere of influence seems to be awash with.

How to get kids to read better books

To any parents that might want to have some control over what their kids read. I recommend you and your kid watch the movie version of the book you want them to read first that way they know they like the story. from personal experience I can can tell you that Masterpiece Theater has had a very large impact on my choice of literature. and it was only because of watching the movie versions with my mother that I had read every book ever writen by Jane Austen by the time i was a sophomore in highschool. If parents watch more movies based on books with their children the kids may discover types of literature they never knew they would like.

Subtifuge Through Satire

"Twilight," however, may influence abstinence in teenagers but I haven't seen any positive effects in influencing people to move forward. Instead, it tells us that if we don't conform to the beliefs of a group, we will be harmed (where it be used, forgotten, live miserably, or die). If you ever seen the legion of fans that the book has and their repression of criticism... Imagine the Two Minuet Hate from 1984 with Goldstein's face replaced with those who have publicly criticized the "Twilight" saga and the more rabid fans (there are saner fans who do poke fun at the flaws and hate their fun being repressed, of course) of the series are the Junior Anti-Sex League and The Inner Party combined...

Really???

If you're just excited that teenage girls are reading at all, maybe you should raise your standards. Do you honestly want girls walking around with the idea that the best guys are dangerous? Even worse, you'd rather girls suck in tales of rape fantisies. Reading teenie smut is not the way to college; common sense and education are.

We are all making comments

We are all making comments about these books from our viewpoint - what we get out of it. But what's to say the young girls that read these books are taking away the same messages we are? We all read into things differently; our interpretations are fueled by our personal experiences and connections we make between situations and results. How I - a 25 year old woman with feminist leanings, a college education, and damaged childhood - read into these books is going to differ from how a 17 year old girl who might just be learning about the intricacies of sexuality reads into them. If we are trying to preempt how the younger generation "might" read into something, no books are going to remain on the bookshelves. We cannot shelter them forever.

I agree...

I wholeheartedly agree with what you've said here. I don't think that we should presume to think what the younger generation of readers is going to think. And we can't force them to think like we do. Not everyone sees the world the same way, and someone can't be forced to think something's wrong just because another person(s) thinks it's wrong. For instance, if I think that an author is boring and that the text they've written is sub-par or too convoluted, it doesn't give me a right to tell other people that they should think the same thing. We have to say "This is what I think the author means" rather than saying "What I say is right, and if this novel means this to me, this is the obvious interpretation." It would be like my classmates saying to me in high school that Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (The House of Seven Gables, The Scarlett Letter) were horrible authors that we should never have to read, while I really enjoyed reading their works a lot. I took into mind my own interpretation of the books, without listening to my peers. This is sort of the same case with the Twilight Series. Just because it seems like Meyer's writing is sending this message and everything, it's still our interpretation. And it doesn't mean that it's necessarily right.

I hate the fact that people

I hate the fact that people think it's ok for YA to read crappy books, as long as they're reading.
Wouldn't it be better for them to enjoy reading GOOD books that promote healthy themes.
Harry Potter, whether you're a fan or not, promotes really good themes. Loyalty, friendships, nobility, and so much more. I mean, the characters in that book aren't parents UNTIL they're at least 30 years old.
The literature standards need to be raised. Its NOT ok for some critics to praise these books, when they're awful.

As a teenage girl myself I'd

As a teenage girl myself I'd like to stop this stereotype of teenage girls never reading. Many teenage girls read and man definitely do not read the twilight series. In my opinion i think i've read many better books (note its my opinion like its other people's opinion that twilight is a good book, so don't start shooting me down just because i don't like a book because you might be quick to shout that you detest books like 'Sabriel' (by Garth Nix))

As a teenage girl myself I'd

As a teenage girl myself I'd like to stop this stereotype of teenage girls never reading. Many teenage girls read and man definitely do not read the twilight series. In my opinion i think i've read many better books (note its my opinion like its other people's opinion that twilight is a good book, so don't start shooting me down just because i don't like a book because you might be quick to shout that you detest books like 'Sabriel' (by Garth Nix))

Seconding an opinion

I also am a teenage girl who would love to abolish the stereotypical teenie-bopper air head. Many of my friends read as many books as humanly possible, from as many genres as we can. Sometimes we read Young Adult literature but sometimes we read sci-fi or the classics.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I have read all of the books. My initial reaction to them we like many teenage girls', I was very... enthused about them. But when I read them again, the pull was gone. They weren't as good as the first read was. I haven't gotten to the point of being p.o.'d at any of the characters (except for Jacob, he can be a dick at times) but I just don't understand why so many people are so obsessed with them. They weren't that good. I can think of a lot better books that have a 'magical' or fantasy creature falling in love with a human (one of the best is The Hollow Kingdom trilogy).

Excuse me, I am a college

Excuse me, I am a college student earning two degrees. One who enjoys the hell out of some GTA. And I have to say when I was that teeny-bopper age I stayed well away from tripe like this. "Oh, they're reading at least! Let's give them Mein Kampf! It's something isn't it?" Sorry, the "at least it's a book" doesn't fly.

So true.

So true.

Hey Now

I absolutely agree with everything...except the "Mormon bullcrap". Being an LDS myself, I'm terribly embarassed that Meyer is also LDS, as everyone now bases their opinions on us off of her. The only "mormon" thing I could find in the series was Edward being abstinate until marriage, which I agree doesn't make sense. As he's a vampire. Well, hypothetically anyway. It would make more sense for Bella to be abstinate, but that's besides the point.

My point is, it's not fair to rag on LDS because of Meyer. If you want to base our religion off of someone, base it off of our Prophet and President, Thomas S. Monson. Not hack writers like Meyer.

If you talk about a sect

If you talk about a sect President being a prophet, you know...that should be a hint.

How you can even begin to justify that sect is simply beyond me. Apart from the fact that we're talking about the bronze age equivalent of Star Trek The Next Generation in terms of being founded in reality.

This is inappropriate

This is inappropriate and akin to saying there is no justification for Islam or Judaism simply because they believe in prophets. Just because the LDS church believes there are modern-day prophets and that is different from other Christian religions does not make the religion "unrealistic." It would be appropriate if Mormons called their prophets by pointing at some guy in the street and saying, "Hey, he's a prophet now!" but this is not the case. Each Mormon prophet has the same religious value to Mormons as Muhammad or Abraham does to Muslims and Jews.

LDS -- yes...

If you honestly think that Edward's abstinence until marriage is the only Mormony thing in these trash books, then please Google "LDS Sparkledammerung".

The writer of that blog is an ex-Mormon who can point out a lot more LDS-pattern items about these books.

Between the things the writer of the article points out, and the items pointed out by that blog, I sure wouldn't want my kid reading these books.

My fault completely for

My fault completely for thinking this was a discussion on twilight ... but can't help wondering why when something becomes popular a large portion of the population feels a desperate need to attack it A) because of a percieved religious undertone or B) as a religious group who was told by a head figure of their organization that it is evil and hurts their cause. When did a book stop being a book that every reader took something different away from as it applied to how they lived and grew and were raised by their families?Isn't that the point of literature as a whole? Everyone gets something different from it and learns from it in some way, regardless of the opinion of those who think they are to intellectually advanced to bother reading such bad writing. But of course they have an opinion on it because they heard from a friend of a friened that it sucked.

More an LDS idea than anything

I also agree with everything in this article and the post above me. Being an LDS youth, nothing irked me more than seeing Mrs. Meyer's undertones in this piece of "literary" work.

And, like the above post mentioned, Edward and Bella wait until they are married - but that doesn't stop them from coming too close. Mrs. Meyer scuffed out the line between chaste affection and smut with the four books, and now hundreds of young LDS girls think it's okay to neck and touch because Mrs. Meyer is LDS and her books teach that it's okay to do that kinds of things. And parents don't do anything, because Mrs. Meyer is LDS and her books MUST be okay to read. I work at a bookstore, and it's almost sad to see parents coming in and telling me, "Oh, my nine year-old daughter loves these books. She's going to be so excited I'm getting her this one!"

There are more LDS themes than abstinence. Mrs. Meyer tries (and does so poorly) to enter themes of eternity and living together forever by the end of her books. She hardly succeeds. What she has succeeded in is breaking down the vampire stereotype that has been in the making for hundreds of years. Vampires are not supposed to be sexed up. The original Dracula was an ugly old man who thirsted after blood before anything else. (Read the book by Stoker; it's very fabulous.) But Mrs. Meyer seems to think it's okay to crush this idea. I'm not saying that new ideas are unacceptable, but Mrs. Meyer leaves little room for other options. ALL of her vampires are sexy, sparkly, toned, good-smelling...things. To enter back the idea of an ugly old vampire will not succeed, simply because of the fact that rabid fangirls will crush the figure instantly and cling to their marble-chested, alabaster, stone-skinned sex-god. Mrs. Meyer has brought in this new figure and obliterated everything else. We see how this generation is being brought up. It's sad.

Sexing up Vampires

I'm sorry, but Meyer castrated the vampire myth; she definitely did not sex up her vampires. Vampires on principle should be overly sexual and wanton creatures: that is where all of their scare comes from. They are such a perversion of morality and goodness because of what they are and how they behave that people should hate them. Stoker's three female vampires dripped with sex and definitely provided Harker with more ecstasy than his lovely Mina ever could and I think it is incredibly ignorant of you to think that Dracula being old and ugly meant all vampires should be old and ugly. Not to mention the outrage Dracula portrayed at the lovely vampires feasting upon Harker when he stumbled upon them; Dracula may well have been homosexual. Seeing as you thought Dracula was such a great novel, I'm baffled that you should think Meyer "sexed up" her vampires. But Stoker wasn't the first to sex up his vampires: vampires have been overly sexualized from the origin of the myth. Lilith is often considered a vampire figure: as a demoness of illness and death, she preyed on newborn children and copulated with men in their sleep to spawn hundreds of demons each day. She can be seen as a Succubus figure. Lamia, often seen as the Ancient Greek vampire, seduced men so she may drink their blood and consume their flesh. Does any of Meyer's vampires ever seduce or even drip with sex? No.

Meyer created her vampires to be completely asexual. If Edward were a Victorian vampire, he'd be bisexual, have sex with anyone he pleased, and the entire series would be considered smut. If Edward were anything like Lilith or Lamia, he'd have wooed Bella into some sort of romance and then kill her and drain her blood. He does nothing of the sort. The entire series is filled with heterosexual couples who probably sleep in separate beds and barely touch each other at all. What I found completely amazing is the number of people who let the vampire myth be so distorted by an LDS author. Who in their right minds would enjoy reading Harry Potter as written by a Catholic priest? Who in their right minds would enjoy reading Uncle Tom's Cabin as written by the KKK? Who in their right minds would allow such a moral and religious figure to rape the vampire myth - a myth so filled with sex and unconventional sexual orientations?

Have you read any Anne Rice? Her Lestat pretty much turned his gay lover into a vampire because he seriously wanted some of that body. Or maybe you've heard of Carmilla, the lesbian vampire who preys on young women? The vampire myth has always been of very sexual creatures who feed upon humans. Meyer's creatures are neither sexual or feed upon humans.

I agree - it's embarrassing

I agree - it's embarrassing that women are spending their time ingesting this patriarchal brinwashing talentless literature. Read a REAL BOOK.

Bravo!!!

Bravo!!!

I thought I was the only one...

Thank you for putting so eloquently what I have been feeling about these books all along. I thought I was the only one who noticed that Bella doesn't have a personality and that Edward is a crazy obsessive stalker.

Thanks again for this article- Now I have something to show to all my Twilight-obsessed girlfriends who can't understand what I don't like about the series.

I know I'm replying to this

I know I'm replying to this post late, but I am just shocked with this comment and others like it. You are complainibg about not having "spoiler alerts" for a book that's been out for four or five months!? Are you being serious? This article even provides readers with all four book images, which would let most people know that series will be discussed as a whole, yet people are still complaining about their reading experience being ruined.

My advice: If you don't want your reading experience hampered, then don't read articles about the book(s) you are reading or planning to read.

lol

I don't think this article was a movie review.

No warning.

You guys should really have put a warning on this article. As soon as you gave away what happens in the fourth book I stopped reading. I was really interested in what you had to say, i found the first few paragraphs gripping, but any article that gives away novel plots should have warnings and I wont continue to read because of that.

I can clearly see Breaking

I can clearly see Breaking Dawn's cover up there. From this, I can safely assume it will be discussed. That you can't employ deductive reasoning or use context clues this obvious, just proves that Twilight is the book for you.

Spoiler

Despite the fact that I found Seifert's analysis quite trite and lacking imagination (for example, do we really need another assertion that being self-sacrificing is a throwback to the 1950s housewife? this type of extremist belief system is what prevents feminist ideas from being more widely accepted and understood) I was most bothered by the significant spoilers contained in the article. As mentioned by previous posters, it's quite irresponsible for an author (not to mention a publication like Bitch) to provide such pertinant information about a book's plot without providing a spoiler alert. This is my first issue of Bitch and I must say, I'm quite disappointed.

comments here=evidence that bad books make people stupid

you're right - a woman sacrificing herself for a man is so totally empowering now that we are post-feminism & all. i mean, it is definitely extremist to consider historical context of gender oppression and ask questions about why a young adult book would portray a woman as being so willing to give up her life for a man. uh.

as far as spoilers go. anyone who complains about spoilers after intentionally reading an article about a book they have not yet read? is seriously lacking common sense. come on. bitch is a respectable magazine. about POP CULTURE. it should be assumed when you read anything about a book/movie/etc that it might give something away. i would definitely not take it seriously if they tacked "SPOILER ALERT" onto every single thing they wrote (because hey! if you are going to analyze/criticize something, you'll need to um, back yourself up with evidence from the work you are writing about. this is basic stuff.)

my point: use your head. do not click the link next time.

Hmm, and here I thought this

Hmm, and here I thought this book was about a young woman choosing her own life, giving up nothing and gaining a lot of stuff she had always wanted--strength of body, strength of mind, a large, loving family and the chance to stand out for her own talents.

The history of gender oppression lead western society to fight for women's rights to choose. Voting, pants, abortion, being a doctor/lawyer, speaking your mind. It doesn't say a woman has to do any of those things, it just says she has to choose. Now that we've given women choices about all these things, don't take them back by saying, "Oh I'm sorry, now you have to be strong, in control, witty and ambitious, that's the only way to be a woman." Bella (and many other women out there who really only want to raise their children and knit) chooses her life. Who are you to take those decisions away from her because they remind you of how things were before she had a choice about it?

The books are badly written, yes. It's pure escapism and fantasy and is aimed at people who want to escape from the real word for a while too. Yell about that, if you want, but don't make these books a "social issue" when they're too fluffy and silly to even register on that scale.

This argument sounds familiar!

Oh my goodness. Stephenie Meyer ... is that you?

LOL @ "pants"

did you read this article? how did she 'give up nothing' if she DIED for him? she literally lacks strength, both physically and emotionally - hellooooo, she actually describes herself as 'nothing' without her boyfriend. that is the total polar opposite of a strong woman, your argument FAILS. (and what talents? seriously?)

your second paragraph makes no sense, lacks a point, and seems to be addressing nothing of any relevance whatsoever - so i'm going to skip that entirely.

lastly, if you think anything is too fluffy to be relevant on a "social scale" as you put it, then you are really stupid (not to mention, wrong) and obviously don't even read bitch magazine since it's a feminist analysis of POP CULTURE. so why are you even here?!

Popularity

Anyone with half a brain can work out that the books are poorly done. But the problem is, a large chunk of the population are not quite as intelligent as they like to think they are, particularly (and I hate to say it, because I am one) teenage girls.

The books therefore need to be acknowledged as a social issue, if so many people (most of them easily influenced) are reading them and absorbing their message. Not everyone can understand that the novels are escapism and fantasy- and this is probably what Meyer is relying on to get her thinly-veiled message across.

They themselves are fluffy and silly, yes, but the message is clearly much darker- and could prove to be damaging.

excuse me?

"a large chunk of the population are not quite as intelligent as they like to think they are, particularly (and I hate to say it, because I am one) teenage girls."

teenage girls as the least intelligent demographic . . . really?

Well teenage boys (by and

Well teenage boys (by and large) aren't reading this crap.

Shockingly,

I learned a few weekends ago that young boys (nine years old) at my friend's little brother's school are, indeed, reading Twilight.

Which means the girls probably are, too.

Good for you.

I commend your ability to read into the book's actual message instead of being swept up in the artificial romanticism and clever marketing of it all. Meyer's writing is just bad. The characters are wooden and shallow, and the plot is just an excuse for flowery language and pseudo-intellectual brooding.

Literature, not just the "classics," is an art form. Painters use brush strokes, a sculpture uses marble and writers use words. Whether intentional or not, the stories we tell communicate a message, an idea or a worldview that makes a statement about our culture, human nature and the world around us. The fact that you are as young as you are and you recognize this is wonderful. As a literature teacher, this is very reassuring seeing as some of my college sophmores could barely write a paragraph.

If you're interested in the Gothic style of literature but want something with more substance, and can actually be called art, I suggest some of the Victorian novels like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

Best wishes for you. :)

A much better book to read

I agree that Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre (by Emily and Charlotte Bronte respectively) are much better alternative. both books have a similar tone but with much better messages.

I would like to add one more recommendation. Anne Bronte's second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. When she was young and naive the book's heroine Helen foolishly entered into a marriage quite similar to Bella's. She spent several miserable years with her controlling and alcoholic husband trying to make the marriage work. After realizing that he would never change and that he was a terrible influence on their young son she leaves in the middle of the night. Helen and her son move to a small village under assumed names and she supports herself by selling paintings.(in the time this book was written only a man could file for divorce and a divorced woman would never get custody of her children)

The younger Helen (this part of the story is told from her perspective through her diary) was weak and foolish much like Bella. she was so infatuated with her husband she was blind to his darker nature. as Helen matured she began to see more clearly. the disillusioned Helen slowly became more and more self reliant.

After she left her husband she was a new woman.(this part of the story was from the perspective of a young man in love with her) she now had her own opinions and she was responsible for her own happiness. she was strong enough to fall in love again this time with her eyes open and without losing her identity or compromising her values. but Helen would not let herself be with the man she loved while her husband was still alive. She put her morals and values above her emotions. (i won't tell you how it ends i guarantee you will want to read it for yourself)

The Twilight series is a dark romance with an unhealthy relationship. Wildfell Hall is more of a comparison of healthy and unhealthy relationships. the is dark and full of passion and sadness. the two lovers cant get together till the end because of Helen's marriage. The storyline in Twilight is as behind the times in its messages as Wildfell Hall was ahead of it's time (even Charlotte Bronte thought her sister's novel was much too feminist and that it was not appropriate for a woman to write about some of the issues dealt with in the book.) Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a good book for young women because they would learn from the heroine's mistakes rather than repeat them. If you are unsure if you want to bother reading the book watch the movie first. :)

Amen on Wildfell Hall

It's by far my favorite of all the Brontes and very progressive in its philosophy. Thanks for bringing it up.

aaaaand....

if you are interested in poetry at all, i recommend carol ann duffy, sylvia plath, ann sexton, and stevie smith (and a lot of her poems are accompanied by drawings, which is neat). i could write you a mile long list, but i'll stop there. read them you'll flip your lid.

Jane Eyre is one of my

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever. Right up there with Howl's Moving Castle, The Alanna series, Harry Potter,The Great Good Thing, and a couple others.
The thing about my favorite books is that I love them immediately and pretty much forever after that. Twilight? I thought it might've had some vague sort of potential if someone else had written it. And then I went on to full on hating it.
I'm sorry for ranting, and don't blame you if you've stopped reading by now. Good luck with teaching literature, seeing as a lot of the people my age that I know have a tendency to read books like Twilight and House of Night and then completely refuse to open their minds to any criticism of it. A shame, really, considering.

these books are a social issue

these books are a social issue becaue they've become so insanely popular (for some reason I don't quite understand). You can't just ignore pop culture like it doesn't exist. It's more interesting and beneficial to analyze things and figure out why they are so popular.

Beauty of Feminism

Forcing all women to be placed into a box of "independent, in control, witty, ambitious, etc." is as harmful as placing them into a box of "passive, obedient, silenced, etc." The beauty of feminism is that it respects ALL women and their RIGHT to be who they are, passive or not.

Also, Bella is portrayed in this saga as a teenage girl, aged 17-19 throughout the seires. Is it unthinkable that she attaches such heavy importance to her relationship with Edward? Is it unfathomable that a teenage girl be swept off her feet for a teenage boy (vampire or not)?

I agree that these novels are a wonderful way to "escape from the real world". They provide readers with the opportunity to be part of a fantasy world. However, haven't we historically attached meanings of social issues to literature (The Golden Compass, The Da Vinci Code, etc.)?

I think the most important thing we can take away from Meyer's choice of characterization for Bella is that she is a representation of a teenage girl who is TRUE TO HERSELF AND HER OWN BELIEFS. Isn't that something all girls, women, and people in general should aim for?

Wow, you've clearly never

Wow, you've clearly never had the teenage years I did. When I was Bella's age, I got seriously involved with a guy everyone around me could tell was very bad for me. I ignored them for months, and even ended up having unprotected sex (oops!) with this young man.

Even after the fear of STD's and pregnancy had passed (To this day, I'm still clean and I didn't end up becoming a mommy before my time--other girls might not be so lucky), even after he suddenly became controlling and manipulative and told me to stay away from my male friends, it still took me MONTHS after that night to finally realize that I had made a huge, horrible mistake by getting emotionally involved with that guy, much less sleeping with him.

That's why books like this scare me. Yes, love is wonderful, but when you define your entire personality and identity in terms of your boyfriend, you're setting yourself up to be used and thrown away like a piece of tissue paper. I don't want other girls to suffer the way I did. There's a huge difference between praising young love, and encouraging kids to take stupid risks for no real reward. A night of sexual pleasure is not worth being lied to, controlled, or beaten for--but just look what Edward does to Bella! She's hiding her bruises--let me guess, does she tell her friends afterward that she "fell down some stairs?" If that doesn't sound like glorifying abuse to you, I don't know what will.

Agreed

I've been reading through these comments, and I think I've finally found the right place to reply, because I agree so much with this statement: "Yes, love is wonderful, but when you define your entire personality and identity in terms of your boyfriend, you're setting yourself up to be used and thrown away like a piece of tissue paper." This is so true, and this is why we need to take accountability for teaching our daughters about healthy relationships.

There's no denying that young women will read these books whether people think they're good or not... kind of like how I would watch MTV when my mom was gone, and change the channel before I turned off the TV when she got home so that she wouldn't know. But the important thing is to teach young women to look at things with a critical eye, and examine some of the messages in these books. What parts of it are good? What messages are worth listening to and which ones aren't? Which ones are bad?

After reading these books myself, I can admit that they are fun to read in the "can't wait to see what happens" kind of way. But we need to be talking to our young women about what is unhealthy in Bella and Edward's relationship, and that giving your whole life to another person (as Bella does when she stops seeing friends and family throughout the series) isn't how a relationship should work. Decisions about who one spends time with, when they have sex, and with whom are ONLY that person's decision, and not that of a controlling man (or any other person!), no matter how "dreamy" he may be.

wow

I dont know why im commenting but i get tired of alot of women i live around telling me everything is mans fault. i understand that you may say its our fault for abortions and rape and other kinds of bull crap that me myself a man i am against it. BUT abortion comes to where its the woman's choice? so then wouldn't it be her fault for getting an abortion? nope. it all depends on the matter of doing so. and im pretty sure you know the reasons. and as for what you said

"a woman sacrificing herself for a man is so totally empowering now that we are post-feminism & all. i mean, it is definitely extremist to consider historical context of gender oppression and ask questions about why a young adult book would portray a woman as being so willing to give up her life for a man. uh."

are you nuts? teen boys will give all there friends up for a girl would that be empowering? to you it might not be. but face the facts both parties are as equal as the moon and sun. both have a purpose and doesn't matter if you see it or not. so are you getting what i am saying yet? if not then ill make it more simple for you. Men and women are equal. there is allot of women that mentally abuse men or physically abuse or a school woman teacher rapes her student. BUT same goes for men. see? there is a balance and people should see it more that way. im not a sexist. i dont hate women. to be honest i love them. my fiance keeps me in check when i do something wrong. but guess what i do the same for her. if you go on in life feeling that you got to over power the male race. wouldn't that be sexiest? why do what men did to you? lol not all men are bad. : )

BTW, this part of what

BTW, this part of what you're responding to:

"a woman sacrificing herself for a man is so totally empowering now that we are post-feminism & all. i mean, it is definitely extremist to consider historical context of gender oppression and ask questions about why a young adult book would portray a woman as being so willing to give up her life for a man. uh."

was sarcasm.

Anyway, this part of what you wrote:

"teen boys will give all there friends up for a girl would that be empowering? to you it might not be. but face the facts both parties are as equal as the moon and sun. both have a purpose and doesn't matter if you see it or not. so are you getting what i am saying yet? if not then ill make it more simple for you. Men and women are equal. there is allot of women that mentally abuse men or physically abuse or a school woman teacher rapes her student. BUT same goes for men. see? there is a balance and people should see it more that way. im not a sexist. i dont hate women. to be honest i love them. my fiance keeps me in check when i do something wrong. but guess what i do the same for her. if you go on in life feeling that you got to over power the male race. wouldn't that be sexiest? why do what men did to you? lol not all men are bad. : )"

kicks ass. :)

The article writer probaly

The article writer probaly assumed that readers of a magazine called Bitch, wouldn't take ardent interest in Twilight. As far as the analysis goes there are some accuracies, especially when you observe Stephanie Meyer's background.

Housewife

Yes, I too, was thrown by the "Bella is a 1950s housewife" comment in the article. I wish she would have explained that more...because Bella is hardly ever in her house! LOL

Boy, that's looking at it shallowly

Not a "1950s housewife"?

Let's see, what were the values of the 1950s in regards to women?

1.) Take care of the men in your life. A man should never have to cook for himself, you know (Bella feels it's her OBLIGATION to constantly cook for her father, because her mother is absent).

2.) A woman need not have a profession, or any kind of career, after she's married; in fact, having a career after she's married is somewhat distasteful. (Bella never even considers going to college or doing anything with her life but boinking her husband for the rest of her days)

3.) A woman's virtue (virginity) is important (if you don't think vampirism is a metaphor for teenage hormones in that series, you're kidding yourself; notice how it's always up to Edward to "resist" deflowering her, with sex itself being treated as dangerous and risky).

4.) Abortion is wrong; a truly noble woman continues the pregnancy, even if it's at great risk to herself (this is exactly what Bella chooses to do in Breaking Dawn).

5.) A truly noble woman is self-sacrificing. Especially for her husband and child or children (yes, yes, and yes.)

Now, is it true that a true feminist would allow women to choose their own paths - i.e. if they really don't want to abort, or to go to college, don't force them? Of course. The whole point is to have freedom for women.

However, if you think there are NO problematic themes, absolutely nothing in the way Bella's character is portrayed that matches the "1950s housewife" ideal surprisingly well for something published in the early 2000s... you are kidding yourself.

Twilight is an extremely "socially conservative" series; it's kinky at points, yes, and it acknowledges teenage sexual urges; but it nonetheless endorses and romanticizes a view of women where they are only truly noble if they sacrifice themselves for their husbands and children, and it forces the characters onto a path where not only do they consummate their relationship only after a marriage, but where they're doomed to have a child, and then Bella is randomly (after stating previously that she DOES NOT want to have kids) assigned this point of view where even when abortion is available or even probably life-saving, it's preferable to die in childbirth than to get one.

There are some ways of reading the series that are harmless entertainment fluff... however, it's a very shallow view of the series that doesn't notice that it can be problematic in terms of what it romanticizes.

Twilight is poorly-written

Twilight is poorly-written crap. It's on about the same level as internet fan-fiction.

The story is predictable and the narration borders on painful. Bella is a pathetic, one dimentional character who is really nothing more than a Mary Sue.

And I'm saying this as someone who read and owns all four books. I enjoyed Twlight. It's fun in a very silly, indulgent sort of way. Because its a light-hearted high school romance with a vampire. I can get behind that. The rest of the series (and the climax of Twilight, actually) takes the fun out of it and turns it into a crazy potrayal of a girl who desperately clings to, and can't live without her boyfriend. I think you've expressed that very well. Bella is pretty much the perfect example if everything a girl shouldn't be.

These books belong in the same category as Harlequinn romances, NOT Harry Potter. I can't wait until people move on and forget about them.

At least "internet

At least "internet fan-fiction" writers can spell "dimensional." And "fan fiction" which doesn't have a hyphen.

At least...

Your second sentence lacks a subject and a predicate, and yet you harry someone else for her spelling.

Worst flame ever.

WAT

Making fun of someone's lack of grammar knowledge only shows that you're unable to see the truth in their argument.

Pretentiousness = automatic fail.

right on!

right on!

applause.

i tip my hat to you, madame/sir.

Pretentiousness = automatic fail -- Except for grammar police

When someone takes on the role of calling out someone else for their spelling, grammar, or any other misusage of language, they are not then allowed to get by with ordinary usage standards. They should, by their own expectations, be subjected to at least as high a standard as they were trying to impose on the other party. In reality, a sense of fair play dictates that they be subjected to the highest possible standards. It's really surprising that you didn't realize this, and thus an expected failure on your part.

Riiiight

If you believe that, you clearly haven't read much fanfic.

The only fanfics I've read

The only fanfics I've read that weren't "so bad they're good" tended to be along the lines of:

"'No, John. You are the demons.' And then John was a zombie."

I agree!

It really blows my mind that a series as poorly written and misogynic as Twilight is getting all of this attention.

Well...

There's a counter-force for everything. Just as Twilight gets this much well-received attention from Twifans, it also gets the same amount of negative reception from the few sensible people. Though I'm not sure how sensible some men are about this series; I think they just dislike it, period. And yes, I know about Twilight guy. Let him be intrigued with the books for all the world cares.

A good example of the male backlash

A good example of the male backlash toward Twilight is this video from cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/video_16776_5-reasons-youll-hate-movie-twilight.html (This is actually pretty funny.)

I've heard a lot of stuff from guys along those lines - like that if they treated their girlfriends the way Edward treats Bella, they would have been landed with a restraining order a long time ago. Or the creepiness of the fact that he's 100 years older than she is...

I wish it were all that intelligent though. So many boys seem to be just pissed off that Twilight is taking their girlfriends' attention away, and their most intelligent criticisms are about how Twilight "makes vampires lame" or, worse, how "gay" it is because Edward "sparkles." Please...

Ha.

That video was brilliant! Thanks for adding some humor to these comments.

It doesn't really surprise

It doesn't really surprise me, as someone who has read a lot of other teen fiction (although, not Twilight, which really didn't hit until I was about 16 and had moved on to adult fiction). Right before Twilight got popular, the biggest, most talked-about teen novels were stuff like Gossip Girl, The Clique, The A-List, etc. It made sense that when books full of teenage characters having "indiscriminate" sex left and right are dominating the charts, at some point there's going to be a backlash, and Twilight is it.

Still, though, it's disappointing. There are so many more intelligent teen novels that could have been that backlash: like Kelly Easton's The Life History of a Star, about a girl in the early '70s who struggles with old-fashioned expectations about what girls should be while not being interested in "girly" things and not wanting to gamble her education and talents on a guy after seeing one of her close friends drop out of school to marry a guy who turned out to be a controlling jerk. I've read so much teen-romance trash that's along the same lines of Twilight and am continually puzzled as to why this particular novel made it to the top of the heap.

Great point

From a writer and editor's standpoint, it's also a piece of trash. The plot was contrived at best, twists were predictable and cliche, the characters were extremely flat througout the four books (an astonishing feat, considering how long those things were), and worse yet in my opinion- Bella was a complete Mary Sue through half the storyline. Meyer lacks talent and imagination, and if this is what most teenage girls have to read I am very worried about what has come out in the saga's wake.

I believe the word is

I believe the word is "mysogynistic".

Wrong

I believe the word is "misogynistic".

nice.

nice.

Bite me (or don't) response

I also see that Bella seems to represent the old notion that women are Temptation. How Edward always has to Keep Bella in control to 'save her virtue and her own' Bella is tempting him. At least thats what I see.

Probably true

I've seen at least one recent feminist apologia (on OpenSalon) that defended Bella and Edward's relationship in the books on the grounds that they're actually really goddamn kinky.

See, the writer of this apologia's view of the series is that Bella is actually in control of her own destiny, in the sense that she doesn't let disapproval of her personal kink (submission/dominance play, violent sex) hinder her getting off on it. The essayist in question indicated that she did not think that Bella ever actually felt threatened by Edward, just turned on by his power, his dangerous edge, and his apparently borderline uncontrollable lust for her; this writer points out, for instance, that when Jacob kisses Bella when she doesn't want him to, she slugs him.

This is probably a valid view - or at least, valid to the extent that it explains the appeal of the series to millions of women and to its own female author, since "submission fantasy" is actually a common fetish among women even today - but even she had to admit "yeah, there are still things that are problematic". I have to admit that she did have a valid point: that just because a woman's sexual kink happens to be "submission", doesn't mean it should be discounted or marginalized, so long as she's doing it entirely of her own free will and is actually genuinely safe (and therefore technically empowered); to do so is counterproductive from a feminist standpoint.

Likewise, much as I hate to admit it (mostly because I hated this plot in Breaking Dawn), Bella's (stupid, incredibly risky, pretty much suicidal) decision to continue to term with the pregnancy that is quickly killing her should, if she were a real woman, nonetheless be respected so long as she genuinely knows the risks and isn't being goaded into her decision by other people or by social and cultural pressures. So in those senses, it's not inherently antifeminist as a series.

However, as we see from "Midnight Sun", Bella's confidence that Edward won't hurt her is severely misplaced. This means that while Bella "decides her own destiny" and all, she's also not doing it with good instincts or training for recognizing the "red flags" that Edward is honestly spewing left and right. While there's nothing wrong with getting off on kinky fictional relationships in and of itself, to me it is indeed troubling to see many young girls idealizing the characters' relationship, and most especially, idealizing Edward, who is a very dangerously flawed individual. In the real world, someone with Edward's psychotic psychosexual neuroses wouldn't turn you into a vampire and thus make you a gorgeous model with superhuman strength and speed and senses who will live forever and have fabulous, fabulous sex... he would probably kill you. This makes the series interesting on some weird, car-accident level, but ultimately completely unrealistic and somewhat problematic.

This has me convinced that Twilight CANNOT be read straight; either you have to recognize that they are very screwed up people (...and... maybe ignore the fourth book), or you can't enjoy it and still count yourself as someone who bothers to think about what they're reading. I don't think I would ever let my hypothetical daughter read that series without having some serious discussions about romantic risk-taking, for one, and I would definitely show her the "from Edward's POV" sections, to show that sometimes, Mr Hot Mysterious Guy is really, REALLY scary on the inside, so don't just assume he'd never hurt you AFTER he's already suggested he thinks he's capable of doing so. Red flag!

No Warning

I can't believe that you really had to give away what was in the 5th book?!?!?! I have deliberately not read Stephanie Myers excerpts because I did not want to know! That was mean and I believe completely rude!! How would you feel if I gave away the plot of the next mystery movie or your favorite book! Just because you feel this way about a book does not mean that you should ruin the plot of the next one for people who choose to be surprised! I am appalled at this site and you irresponsibility.... And as far as the comment about these being poorly written... that is part of their appeal. Who the heck wants to come home from work or studying philosophy of Biology or Chemistry to read something that is just going to make your head hurt more? I personally would rather read something that is easy and yet entertaining! I love the whole series! My friends asked me to come to the premiere the week it came out and I read the first one in less than 2 days (with school and work) then proceeded to read the other 3 in less than 1 1/2 weeks. That is what I love about this Series! Not that or if Edward is a control freak or Bella a weak woman. Their story is captivating. And personally I saw nothing coming! For Goodness sake she is a teenage girl dating a VAMPIRE!!! Tell me who the heck else has done that?? OR her best friend being a vampire? Or having a 1/2 human/vampire baby!? NO ONE!!! That is all I have to say! Besides some of you are out of your minds!!!

At the end of Midnight Sun,

At the end of Midnight Sun, James kills Bella and then he and Edward get together.

Seriously, its the same story as Twilight... how is that a spoiler? And if you didn't see sex happening eventually then... I don't even know what to say.

And this book has been out for... four months? She doesn't need spoiler tags.

"For Goodness sake she is a

"For Goodness sake she is a teenage girl dating a VAMPIRE!!! Tell me who the heck else has done that??"

Ever heard of Buffy? Or 95% of vampire novels nowadays?

I'd rather ...

... watch a Buffy episode marathon on TV, or read an Anne Rice novel (Just the erotica and Lestat books) anyday than read this garbage. For the record: Mormons are indeed being singled-out as controlling, bigoted repressives that only care about marrying in their temples for eternity and multiplying incessantly. Ever hear of Terry Tempest Williams, the environmentalist? I highly recommend reading her books, too.

So true!

It's sad to me that so many people hail this woman as being "original" when there are dozens of YA books that came out at the same time or BEFORE that had the exact same plot -- and almost ALL of these were better written. For example, the Southern Vampire series that inspired the HBO show "True Blood" has basically the exact same plot, except that it's smarter, better developed, and was widely read before Meyer ever had her "dream" about Bella and Edward.

Add on top of that "Buffy" and Anne Rice and pretty much every vampire novel ever written, and the realization that the writing in these books is incredibly mediocre, and then try to explain to me why this woman has somehow amassed more money than all these authors combined in the last -- what? -- THREE years.

It's just ... sad. I am disappointed in America that this woman is a celebrity.

Exactlly. I actually read

Exactlly. I actually read "Dead Until Dark" (the first book in the series that "True Blood" is based on) right after reading the first "Twilight" book.

Hm...that whole mind-reading thing...awfully suspicious.

I agree

I thought it very strange that so many people are crediting Meyer with having created a completely original vampire lore. I have read the "Southern Vampire Chronicles" as well as many other books about vampires, and did not notice anything unique in Meyer's writing except for the glittering skin, which I just thought was stupid.

D as in Dove?

D as in Dove?

I agree that there are so

I agree that there are so many better-written books out there about the same exact thing. ("Vegetarian vampires", for example, has been done so many times, it's amazing SMeyer doesn't get sued for stealing the idea).

Although, I don't exactly agree with you that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are well-written. I read them, and I love them, but I can't honestly say that the writing is genius. It pure cheese, not matter how much I love reading them :D

Stephenie Meyer's target audience was teenagers, who sometimes don't know good writing from bad writing. As you develop, you start reading more and more complex books. Most of the girls that read Twilight are really young; I don't really expect them to be thinking about the underlying themes of the books. I'm sure some of them do, but most of them are just like "Ohh pretty boy! I can relate to that!"

It is sad that so many amazing authors go completely unnoticed and something like Twilight gets all the attention.

I agree that there are so

I agree that there are so many better-written books out there about the same exact thing. ("Vegetarian vampires", for example, has been done so many times, it's amazing SMeyer doesn't get sued for stealing the idea).

Although, I don't exactly agree with you that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are well-written. I read them, and I love them, but I can't honestly say that the writing is genius. It pure cheese, not matter how much I love reading them :D

Stephenie Meyer's target audience was teenagers, who sometimes don't know good writing from bad writing. As you develop, you start reading more and more complex books. Most of the girls that read Twilight are really young; I don't really expect them to be thinking about the underlying themes of the books. I'm sure some of them do, but most of them are just like "Ohh pretty boy! I can relate to that!"

It is sad that so many amazing authors go completely unnoticed and something like Twilight gets all the attention.

Uh...

There are a lot of well written books that won't make your head hurt. Twilight makes my head hurt because the writing is god awful. The story has been done in better books and internet fiction/fan fiction and there also have been vampire best friends, including a movie released around when Twilight was released called Let The Right One In, which overall is much better than the Twilight movie. I take AP English, AP US History, Honors Discrete Math, Drawing III, AP Enviromental Science, and AP Studio Art but yet I still go home and read Nietzche. You, however, seem to not be able to think at all when you get home.

do you go to

do you go to harvard-westlake by any chance? the names of those courses sound familiar...

AP classes are taken

AP classes are taken nationwide, so they're pretty much ubiquitous no matter what high school you go to.

For Goodness sake she is a

For Goodness sake she is a teenage girl dating a VAMPIRE!!! Tell me who the heck else has done that??

Buffy.

OR her best friend being a vampire?

Do you mean a vampire or a werewolf, there? Either way, Buffy.

Or having a 1/2 human/vampire baby!?

Okay, you've got me there...
oh, wait. Blade.

NO ONE!!!

Or, films, books and television programmes that came well before and were and are far more popular than Twilight will ever be.

Better Vampire Stories EVERYWHERE

Don't forget Angel also had a child!

Vampire baby!

Well, then I'll get the lynch mob ready. I'll bring my 1/2 human 1/2 pigeon baby. You are getting worked up over a fictional novel. When from the reviews, I am reading; is not even worth wiping manure off the bottom of your shoes. You do realize that to back up any statements about any novel or movie, they are going to have to use actual facts and might have to give away the plot twists?

But I enjoy fictional (factual) books written about Anne Boleyn. Feel free at any time to give away that plot twist.

So...

So...

true!

true!

And of course, your syntax

And of course, your syntax errors and multiple exclamation marks speak volumes about the credibility and maturity of your rhetoric.

A little late, but I had to

A little late, but I had to reply to this completely asinine (google if you don't know what that word means) paragraph of gibberish which was obviously written by a someone with the intellectual capacity of a 12 year old. First of all, don't read an article about a subject if you are worried about finding things out you don't want to. Second, your comment, "That was mean and I believe completely rude", Are you kidding me? Completely rude? And mean? The absurdity of using these descriptions for a publicly written, published article is ridiculous. I mean, maybe if the author wrote you a personal letter telling you about the books your comments would make sense, but in this situation they do not. Maybe you should try reading things that "make your head hurt more", because then you might be able to pass the 8th grade.
If my grammar is incorrect, I really don't care, so anyone who wants to make a point about telling me about my grammar, kiss my ass.

Badly written books are appealing ?

Are you serious ? Just because you can read a book quickly doesn't mean that it is 'good'. Harry Potter is a good book that you can read quickly (in my opinion) and it isn't as two - dimensional as Twilight. What is Twilight except a love story ? Stephenie Meyer could of at least have some morals in it even if hidden. For instance in Harry Potter it has racism/discrimination that leads to what eventually happens in all books, it looks back to world war two. It has subtly hidden morals that the younger kids reading the books will realise later on in life. Harry Potter is total fantasy but also believable also showing true friendship and loyalty. Twilight's narrator 'Bella' is a two-dimensional character. She doesn't like Mike because he 'follows her around' he has a crush on her of course he's going to be like a love-sick puppy dog around her - Bella's analysis of him makes many people dislike him because he follows her around but Edward sneaks into her room at night without her knowing and thats 'romantic'. She only relies on the Cullens as friends she basically uses Angela, Jessica etc heck even Jacob when they leave, is it healthy to rely on one set of group and then think it's ok to use people when that group abandons us ? Is it ok at the age of 18 to try and kill ourselves just because your boyfriends leaves ? Is it ok after being depressed for months and nearly putting your lives in danger and when he comes back just forgive him instantly ? Is it ok to have a boyfriend so possessive that he bribes someone to keep you in the house so you don't visit one of your friends, even when that friend helped you when your boyfriend left ?

Of course not all the exact things will happen to you but similar things will happen and basically the Twilight series says that this is ok and it's not. Bella is pathetic and clingy and Edward is basically a creep. Bella is all for turning into a vampire and give up her life but as soon as Edward asks to marry her it's a life-changing decision and she isn't sure she wants to marry him even though she wants to turn into a vampire to spend forever with him, even in the end she doesn't marry Edward for love, sure she loves him, but the main reason is sex. She doesn't go all 'I love Edward so I'll marry him' she wants to so she can have sex with him. Even up until her wedding day she was thinking that, proof is in 'Breaking Dawn' (I don't know if this is the exact wording) 'I didn't know that I wanted to marry Edward until my wedding day' and because of the previous book he said he would only have sex with her if they were married it is basically saying the driving force behind her agreeing to marry Edward is so she can have sex with him NOT love. Is it ok to do that ? No it isn't in my opinion.

Maybe I don't like Twilight because even if set in a fantasy world I still like what I read to be believable and that comes before noticing a book is written well. Bella gets everything she wants - Edward, her friendship with Jacob and therefore the vampires and wolves get to be friends, a child, she has self control around humans therefore she can still have a relationship with her father and in the final battle she doesn't loose anyone - no life is that perfect and she doesn't suffer any loss that does not happen in the real world she could of at least not had a relationship with her father but her life ends up being perfect heck she could of gone without a vampire 'gift'. Thats what made me turn against the Twilight saga in the first place yes she is in an unbelievable world but thats why I used Harry Potter as an example it's set in an unbelievable world but has realistic issues, heck even Disney had realistic issues when they killed off Bambi's mother, Stephenie Meyer could of made the character more realistic but she didn't therefore I couldn't fully enjoy the series. Then the fact that it isn't exactly the best written book.

Uh...

Can you explain how their story is captivating? All I know of how their relationship began was because she smelled delectable to him, and she was curious about him at first. All of a sudden after that, her entire existence was for him. Later on, she basically committed psychological suicide by shutting herself down when he left with his family.

More people have done the human/vampire thing than you know. The Masquerade players, for one. Dungeons and Dragons players, too. Other better established and more esteemed writers for another. Videogames, movies, TV series, books, then and now have done the whole vampire/werewolf thing to DEATH (pardon the pun), so how is Stephenie's Mary-Sue story original?

Also, wonder why no one else has a Half-Vampire, Half-Human baby? Because you cannot create life from death. How his body can even produce sperm to impregnate an egg also baffles me. Also, the fact that he GLITTERS Okay, leaving that one alone.

To be honest, it's people like you that make me lose hope in humanity.

Wow. Imagine an analysis of

Wow. Imagine an analysis of book series having spoilers for the books. We've got some real brainiacs commenting here.

Interesting thoughts, especially about the fans' letdown when they do have sex. The fact that Bella becomes completely dependent and submissive to Edward wasn't something that could escape anyone's notice, but the disappointment surrounding consummation is interesting because in BD, once the chastity and vamp/human relationship aspects are gone, there's essentially nothing left of these characters to care about. The audience is forced to see what's always been there...an insipid high school romance.

Well done.

Wow, I'm absolutely amazed at how well you did that without even resorting to quoting from New Moon. Now that book definitely shows you just how horrible the character of Bella is. Here's what she says to describe herself after (Whoa, spoilers here!) Edward leaves her, "I was like a lost moon--my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation--that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity."
I'm sure we all want the girls of this generation and the next to look up to a character that considers herself a satellite to a man.

And the scene in Breaking Dawn where she starts lightly considering how to cover up the worst of the bruises? It totally made me sick. I had to stop reading at that point.

would her desolation at the

would her desolation at the loss of the love of her life be less offensive to you if the love of her life was a woman? does that change the meaning for you?

for me that paragraph is about love, not about power.

Wait just a minute

Did you really just say that? How old are you? How naive are you?

Love can be used to justify ANYTHING. You could say that a stalker was in love. You could say that an abusive husband still loves his wife. Tell me, in as many sentences as you would like, how Bella's love for a vampire is any more healthy or holy than either of those, and you might have a semi-serious point.

How I long for a time where "love" actually has a meaning.

really now?

It doesn't matter *who* she was with, it matters how she reacted. (or how the author chose to make her react implying that she believes all a woman needs is someone else to make them feel important)

That paragraph simply shows how pathetic Bella is and what a helpless little house-wife she'll turn out to be.

No person (man, woman, gay or lesbian) should be so obsessed with their partner that they actually feel 'lost' or 'like nothing' without them. I've been through breakups (a fairly bad one recently and I sure as hell loved them more than this insipid little girl loved Mr. Sparklypants) but never would I feel 'like nothing' without them.

It just goes to show that Meyer can take anything, (lust, obsession, *stalking*) label it as 'twu luv' and every child in the world will eat it up.

If you honestly think it's 'twu luv' to be *obsessed* with your partner, then I wish you a miserable little life.

After all, it's perfectly healthy to attempt suicide if your partner leaves you. That's not bad at all. [/sarcasm]

I agree, somewhat...

Yeah, but we have to remember that she's writing about a teenage girl. Or, if someone is offended by that, a teenager. Teenagers go to such extremes because of such high levels of hormones and everything (not that no one else does, but still), that they feel like their world has crumbled and disappeared if their "true love" has forsaken them. Their lives are like a soap opera, filled with drama, drama, drama. It's ridiculous and childish, but it happens. People have killed themselves over the loss of a "loved one." It's not going to change the fact that people want someone to be close to them, and if one leaves the other, it's devastating. So devastating, in fact, that some resort to moping about thinking that the world is out to get them, or even suicide.

My interpretation, and that's what it is: an interpretation, is that Meyer doesn't imply that a woman needs someone to make her feel important. I think that Meyer, with her subject of losing a "true love" being devastating, just wants people to think of their lives as teen soap opera, albeit laced with vampires and werewolves to add more drama. Remember how in New Moon, when Alice and Edward told Bella how drained of "life" Edward had seemed when the Cullens left? I don't think it meant that Edward needed a woman to make him feel important. In the book it states that he left her for her own good. He told her that he didn't want her anymore, but that statement was blasphemous. He really did "love" her, but he didn't want her to be hurt. He left and moped and even went to the Volturi when he thought she was dead, but I really don't think either case points to the one needing the other to feel important. They "loved" each other, and neither could see any point of life without the other.

Okay first of all...I wish

Okay first of all...I wish to god..I hadn't read this post.Though I didn't read all of it.I am still (tearing up) not even halfway through frickn ECLIPSE.I did not want to know all that.Damn!!

One thing. That's it. I

One thing. That's it. I swear. No ranting in this reply.
I am a teen, and I cannot stand the drama. Girl crying in the hallway? I back away from the soppy chic and hope it isn't contagious. Guy complaining about something? I have fantasies involving so much duct tape that it has to be surgically removed from his mouth.
And I'm not just like this to random people. When my friends start getting all dramatic, I put on my "sympathetic" face and nod, all the while tuning them out until they get back to normal. At least once every day I step back and wonder, 'What's with the bloody DRAMA?'
Oh, and sorry if I sound like a bitch. It's my nature.
Aw, dammit, I ranted. Guess I'm a liar.

I have two words for you.

After all, it's perfectly healthy to attempt suicide if your partner leaves you. That's not bad at all. [/sarcasm]

I have two words for you: Romeo, Juliet.

Don't get me wrong. I am not in the least bit defending the Twilight series. I just finished reading the first installment and it's terrible. Very badly written.

My point is that anyone can take any theme and turn it into classic or into crap. It all lies in the talents and skills of the author, and it's evident that saying Meyer is no Shakespeare is kind of like saying a basketball is smaller than the sun.

On the subject of feeling like nothing without your partner, that doesn't always have to do with obsession or unhealthy relationship. Some people are just insecure or suffer other psychological impediments, and are lucky enough to find supportive partners who buoy them. In the event of tragedy and they lose their partners, it's not unheard of to lose all confidence and direction.

Wait, what?

Wait, what? Seriously?

Anonymous, while I get that you are not "defending" Twilight, you're actually overlooking something a little here. I do think Meyer is a terrible writer, but that's actually not the biggest problem with the series, and certainly not the primary reason it can't be compared to Romeo & Juliet.

Half the point of Romeo and Juliet - a point that sadly people seem to frequently miss in favor of focusing on "how romantic" the play is, and sadly this includes many a Twilight fan - is that young love can easily run off the rails and become destructive; it's a tragedy, for God's sake! You forget, the title characters were THIRTEEN when they fell in love. And Romeo had JUST stopped obsessing over ANOTHER GIRL when he randomly sees and falls in love with Juliet. They actually know each other for an extremely short time. Did I mention they were Thirteen!? And yet, their emotions so controlled them that they ended up each killing themselves over it.

The reason Romeo & Juliet is a classic whereas Twilight never will be, is that Shakespeare wrote teenage obsession/star-crossed lovers REALISTICALLY. Whereas Twilight inserts all kinds of deus ex machinas to tack on a happy ending.

This isn't even a matter of subjective talent; it's a matter of deliberate choice in plot and characterization and meaning of the whole story. Meyer actively CHOSE to create a story that was entirely wish-fulfillment, and not in the least an actual serious examination of human nature. (You'll be happy to know that her other book, the Host, isn't nearly as bad on this point, although it's still not exactly Pulitzer-winning, to put it bluntly.)

Twilight would have sucked no matter what kind of fabulous prose it could have had, simply because the relationship was unrealistic to begin with. The story itself lacks common sense or wisdom, and this is entirely because of the intent in writing it: sexual wish-fulfillment fantasy for an apparently sex-starved Mormon housewife (and, eventually, sex-starved teenagers and other sex-starved housewives; and yes, it wasn't originally intended for publication. Meyer wrote it for "herself" and then a loved one she showed it to suggested that she send it to a publisher).

*bites*

Thank you for putting into words some of what has really bothered me about the Twilight series.

Growing up, I was told that the girl should be the gatekeeper of sexuality. Were a girl and a boy to have sex under any circumstances, it would be considered her fault for not being able to stop. The boy can't be held responsible, because boys will be boys and have those uncontrollable sex urges and all. I feel like I had a heightened sense of the negative consequences of sex (pregnancy, STDs, emotional hurt, loss of innocence) as opposed to male peers, who weren't expected to know any better because they were (supposedly) always thinking with their other head. A girl with sexual experience was a shameful slut who should have known better, but a boy with equal experience was worldly and enlightened.

Of course everything in that above paragraph is horse hockey, but understanding that mindset means sort of understanding the appeal of a "hero" like Edward Cullen. He's the one saying no, he's the one able to resist, he's the one who's painfully aware of all the negative consequences, and Bella is allowed to be all the more sexual because Edward has assumed the mantle of responsibility. It can be a bit of a relief to girls who are tired of bearing the full weight of culpability for sexual activity, or lack thereof.

Neither extreme makes for a healthy understanding of sex and relationships. In each case, one person acts as the force of willpower, and the other acts as temptation, and while the resulting sexual tension makes for a very good romance plot, it's far from ideal in an actual real-life relationship. A couple ought to make responsible decisions together regarding their sex life, without one holding power (of guilt, of control, of pressure, of societal expectations) over the other.* Neither person should just surrender their body or their judgment to the other. If love involves, sex isn't a conquest, it's a mutually giving experience.

Sorry if this was a bit long, but it was either this or a smart aleck remark to those above complaining of spoilers.

*Unless they have a kink involving power play, so your mileage may vary, but I'm trying to speak broadly here.

good point

Your first paragraph raised an interesting point I hadn't even thought about. In that way, I suppose you could argue that it isn't entirely chauvinistic (not saying its a healthy attitude, or anything), though it's still based in unrealistic and unhealthy sexual and gender stereotypes.

I know this is very belated,

I know this is very belated, but:

"Growing up, I was told that the girl should be the gatekeeper of sexuality. Were a girl and a boy to have sex under any circumstances, it would be considered her fault for not being able to stop. The boy can't be held responsible, because boys will be boys and have those uncontrollable sex urges and all. I feel like I had a heightened sense of the negative consequences of sex (pregnancy, STDs, emotional hurt, loss of innocence) as opposed to male peers, who weren't expected to know any better because they were (supposedly) always thinking with their other head. A girl with sexual experience was a shameful slut who should have known better, but a boy with equal experience was worldly and enlightened."

... Were you raised a Mormon, by any chance??

I was, and this is exactly the kind of b.s. that continues to be taught. I distinctly remember being taught at 15 an object lesson comparing a non-virgin girl to an "old sandwich that had been lying on the counter for days rotting".

I grew up with a very close knit group of Mormon girls who all are now married with multiple children (I'm 22). I attend classes with the husbands of all the poor Mormon girls who dropped out of college to put "the real provider" through Medical School.

I can't believe I happened

I can't believe I happened to wander back here and see your comment to mine.

No, I was not raised Mormon, I was raised Roman Catholic, nuns in my schools and everything. (My boyfriend was raised Mormon, though. Neither of us practices anymore.)

Mormons don't have a monopoly on stupid sexual teachings. The Pope says that condoms will make AIDs worse, and some Protestant groups hold "purity balls" for daughters and fathers (why not the sons!?). Women in fundamentalist Muslim countries are arrested and punished for being raped, and their rapists get leniency. And it's not even an entirely religious problem, either; plenty of secular sources push forward the notion of the madonna/whore. Popular magazines and internet blogs over-analyze the way young singers and Hollywood starlets dress, talk, and behave, whereas the boys escape similar scrutiny. (Unless someone can link me to a criticism of a Jonas brother wearing too short a shirt or something.) It's an extremely pervasive double standard.

"I distinctly remember being taught at 15 an object lesson comparing a non-virgin girl to an "old sandwich that had been lying on the counter for days rotting"."

Ew.

I’m confused about the

I’m confused about the spoiler controversy. When you read critique, I think it’s wise to assume the author will discuss the plot. Besides, good writing should still be enjoyable to read, even when one knows the ending.

I plan on reading the books in January when I borrow them courtesy of my teenage cousins. This is a priority for me because my job is largely working with teens on healthy relationship and dating violence issues. These books are widely read, and adored, by young women. I’ve had some discussion with teens about the books and they almost universally say the relationship in the book is a healthy one because Edward protects Bella from others who would harm her. That leads to a number of questions from me and has led me to wonder if Twilight is a rehashing of the same old tale. This article seems to confirm my suspicions. That’s really about all the books fans have offered me as analysis on the relationship, which makes me wonder what the heck happens in these thousands of pages.

"Controversy" might be the wrong word...

There is no controversy--just a handful of people who don't understand the difference between a magazine article and a forum post and believe all book reviews require spoiler tags.

Sick Stuff

I was pretty sickened by the fan girls fanfic. Not because you posted it, but because believe she (unconsciously) wanted that to happen to herself. Some uberhot and ubersexy vampire conquering a virgin is arguably some of the most sensual and passionate stories that has ever been told.

But I have been raped, I am not ashamed to admit, and believe me- I did not want it. I did not ask for it. I begged him to stop. It was only when I got my parents involved did I feel safe at last. This was over 14 years ago (I am 18 now, you do the Math) and that man and his act still haunt me to this day.

Thankfully, through the help of therapy I have been able to conquer those particular demons and I am doing so much better. But when I read this kind of horrendous material, I literally get sick to my stomach. That girl letting a man dominate another person like that is horrifying. She has no idea what it is like to have your innocence, your control, and your spirit taken away with one primal action. It is not romantic, it is beautiful, it is the stuff of pure evil.

I will be damned if any man will dominate from here on out. And I shall be equal damned if I let this kind of horrendous and submissive thinking continue. These girls need some reality put into them and I for one will gladly take on the job.

I've had a similar

I've had a similar experience, also at a very young age, and yet I would never be so presumptuous as to tell others what they should be turned on by.

Besides, it doesn't work. I guarantee you that the only way to "cure" a girl of a rape fantasy is to set up a situation where she's actually raped.

I beg to differ.

First:
I don't seem to recall seeing where she dictated what someone should and shouldn't be turned on by.

Second, about rape fantasies:
It has been my experience that people (myself included) seek to relive trauma. One way to take control of something is to recreate it. Raping someone that has rape fantasies may stop the fantasy, but it may also reinforce it to an extreme degree. Just as you assert that there's no way of knowing what will turn people on, there's no way to judge the reaction to rape.

Really "cure" it?

Who said I ever had to "cure" my kink?

First of all, yes I've been raped..and no I didn't want it, didn't ask for it or any of the other qualifiers I shouldn't -have- to add to it to make it more real some how.

Secondly,

When done by consenting adults, rape play can actually help one deal with the emotions and sense of loss by returning the ownership of the victim's body back to them.

It allows you to know and trust that it will be over, and it will be 'safe'. You can say no in the end. This allowed me to be able to analyze my feelings and come to terms with them. Very little in modern psycology or therapy can help you come to terms in such a dramatic way as this.

I know it is completly off topic but I felt compelled to share it.

thanks

I just wanted to say thanks for your "off topic post". I was raped about a year ago and was also abused as a child. I've had rape fantasies since I was sexually active, and have sometimes felt like maybe there's something wrong with me that causes this. Your comment made me realize that I'm not alone and that it doesn't make me quite as much of a sexual freak as I thought.

I don't think that

I don't think that necessarily because she's writing about Bella being raped by Edward, that it means the author is being raped herself. I mean, you're more than likely right, because we're dealing with fanfiction here, and fanfiction is usually about the author acting out their own fantasies using the characters in the novels. But as a writer I wouldn't say that stuff I have my fiction characters do is necessarily something I want to happen to myself, even with characters that are based off myself. Oftentimes, with these characters I like to explore alternate paths my life could have taken if I had made different choices or had grown up in different circumstances, for example. Much of the time, these "alternate paths" are far from fantasies, but rather negative directions I'm rather glad my life did not take.

Do not dismiss Twilight

Despite the obvious flaws of the Twilight saga and movie, it still bothers me when women completely dismiss them. Twilight is potentially empowering in that it shows the power of young women at the book counter and the box office. While it may draw the ire of critics to point to power of women as consumers, let us not forget that its success is precisely what creates more opportunities for women writers, directors, actors, and fans. It will make it easier for projects made for and about young women to be made. Twilight is a film made for young women, written by a woman, directed by a woman, based on a literary work by a woman, and it has been incredibly successful. One can choose to view this as a victory for young women. Many commenters who allude to the dangerous, potentially damaging nature of these books are underestimating the ability of young women to think critically while enjoying these works and while waiting for less problematic representations to match Twilight's success.

Are you sure it's

Are you sure it's empowering? What was the result? Catherine Hardwicke was fired! And guess who's the new director? Oh yes, a man. Bitter justice, I suppose.

And it made $$$$ because fangirls, who are willing to believe in a deluded fantasy of a manipulative patriarch figure, went to see the movie and thought "ohmg, WELOVEEDWARDDD!!!"

And the author was successful... Yes. But she's putting the word out there that girls should depend on a guy, especially if he's handsome, rich, more powerful, and "knows what's best for you." What tops the cake is if HE CAN KILL YOU and mentions it in every other second. Yet, he doesn't step back like a gentleman... He stalks.

What is so empowering about a woman who is asleep and vulnerable while a monster watches her, thinks about ways to kill her and drink her blood, and then ultimately impregnants her--risking her life in the process? That is going into thousands upon thousands of minds--not only female minds, but a lot of men are actually THINKING that women want to be a submissive role...And Twilight gives them a pretty ripe example.

Empowering? Not really. Not when girls are reading a book where the heroine wants to commit suicide just because she wants to hear her lover's voice again and goes for MONTHS in a catatonic state just because her boyfriend's gone. Want to be empowered? Get educated and start being independently healthy. Neither of these things can be said for Bella.

Not to mention the fact that

Not to mention the fact that a big deal is being made about Hardwicke's direction of this film. Yes, she's a she. Yes, she directed a film. No, she is not the only famous or good film director out there. (I, personally, would not call her good. She needs to learn to reign in her cinematographer. I understand that using a blue filter is a reference to Burton-esque pop-darkness and that that is the light in which she wanted it to be viewed, HOWEVER there is such thing as too much. When Bella's face is bright blue for nearly half of the film the blue filter is being overused.) Furthermore, saying that a female director can only be popular or commercially viable (another big deal) when making soft-core, mills and boonish, pre-pubescent trash like this is a marathon in the wrong direction.

We do not need to be type-cast as only useful for romantic masturbation, thank you ever so.

Are you sure it's

Are you sure it's empowering? What was the result? Catherine Hardwicke was fired! And guess who's the new director? Oh yes, a man. Bitter justice, I suppose.

And it made $$$$ because fangirls, who are willing to believe in a deluded fantasy of a manipulative patriarch figure, went to see the movie and thought "ohmg, WELOVEEDWARDDD!!!"

And the author was successful... Yes. But she's putting the word out there that girls should depend on a guy, especially if he's handsome, rich, more powerful, and "knows what's best for you." What tops the cake is if HE CAN KILL YOU and mentions it in every other second. Yet, he doesn't step back like a gentleman... He stalks.

What is so empowering about a woman who is asleep and vulnerable while a monster watches her, thinks about ways to kill her and drink her blood, and then ultimately impregnants her--risking her life in the process? That is going into thousands upon thousands of minds--not only female minds, but a lot of men are actually THINKING that women want to be a submissive role...And Twilight gives them a pretty ripe example.

Empowering? Not really. Not when girls are reading a book where the heroine wants to commit suicide just because she wants to hear her lover's voice again and goes for MONTHS in a catatonic state just because her boyfriend's gone. Want to be empowered? Get educated and start being independently healthy. Neither of these things can be said for Bella.

This series promotes the

This series promotes the delusional belief that Edward is the sexy "manipulative patriarch," and Bella regretfully succumbs to his power and protection. How that reflects internalized sexism and Mormon values has been well established by now. The author, consciously or not, has written an exceedingly popular saga in which a young woman chooses to give up her self and humanity for the monster she adores.

In addition to the 1950s housewife, this story also includes another infuriating stereotype: the enslaved native. When colonists arrive, the indigenous people often catch foreign illnesses, and in this particular case, members of the Quileute tribe start becoming wolves. Although they despise the Cullens, Jacob and his pack ultimately become servile to them, running the perimeter of their house while the vampires suck the lifeblood out of the land. The tension between Edward and Jacob is more than just sexual- it also represents the indigenous/lower class struggling against the colonialist/upper class. Of course, we know which side Bella will choose.

The Twilight Saga inspired millions of folks to drop the remote and read. For that, I am grateful to Stephanie Meyers. Yet the themes in her story (abstinence, patriarchy, and colonialist porn) are more frightening than any vampire fiction.

in other words: Take What you Can Get...

keep in mind that selective women in literature and beyond chose to change the landscape of women's rights while others chose to perpetuate the social constrains for women. Stephanie Meyer did nothing more than regurgitate vampire eroticism and utilized a completely viable tweenster and teenage girl market.There's a slew of coporate kingpins who are targeting young women already,from training bras to Botox...
I can't applaud Sarah Palin for simply running vice president or applaud Bridgette bardot for outspokeness simply because they are women. Again focus is being put on the superfaciality of women's equality rather than the responsibility of it.

This is NOT about spoilers ^^

I feel like I'm the only girl in the room that doesn't find Twilight awful. I will concede that it's not the most well writing piece of fiction I've ever seen, but it is entertaining. However, I do not agree that it is so anti-feminist. When I was reading the series, I was shocked and elated that Bella actively expressed her sexual desires and pursued sex. Edward was not the powerful and controlling man in this instance. I get that he seemed controlling in that he kept them from having sex, but in the context of the story, this made sense since he's a vampire. He's super strong, and since he finds it hard to keep from injuring her when they're just kissing, it makes sense that he'd be worried about sex.

Also, with the bruises Bella received from their first intercourse, maybe I'm reading into this naively, but maybe she enjoyed a physical reminder of a great night. I know lots of girls who were happy to have hickies in the morning to remind them of all the fun they had.

Bella is not just the submissive lass that everyone keeps painting her to be. Yes, in the book Edward has to protect her physically a lot because she's human and therefor frail, but emotionally she's completely independent. Edward fights her most of the way, but Bella always gets what she wants. She's usually a integral part in saving her own life, though she can't fight the actual battles, she usually figures out what to do.

I think Bella should get a lot more credit. She's smart and assertive. And how often have we gotten that recently in young teen fiction? The closest we've had is Hermione from Harry Potter, but most of the time she's just in the background being pretty passive. I for one am grateful that this series exists.

Atwater-Rhodes

Not too recently, but "recent" has little to do with it... and in the same genre (YA vampire), written by a YOUNG ADULT FEMALE... The books written by Amelia Atwater Rhodes. Nearly every book contains several strong female characters, but not every female character is good, or even strong, yet can still lead others.

It's not just the internal logic...

Yes, with Meyer's construction of humans and vampires, there appears to be some rationale for the Bella/Edward dynamics. Remember, though -- this is all a matter of how Meyer chooses to set up the story. The Twilight world didn't exist on its own, with the author simply conforming to what made sense in an existing world. Instead, she put together a fictional universe in which it's both necessary and desirable for women to be completely vulnerable to and dependent on men (and the power dynamic is definitely not mutual). The whole persona of the main character revolves around her being submissive towards a male lead who, though he's still not a well-developed character, isn't quite as flat a reactionary patriarchal fantasy figure as Bella.

Even in fiction which isn't openly "fantasy", authors have a great deal of control over the dynamics of how their "world" works. Meyer choosing to create a world in which the (human) woman is necessarily submissive and subordinate to the (vampire) man and in which this subservience is eroticized is precisely the point of this article. It's not even a normal fantasy of submission, which can be indulged in without necessarily being anti-feminist -- it's a fantasy of the universality of women's submission as women, which is another matter entirely.

No. If this were a science

No. If this were a science fiction story placed on an alien world where the women were by nature somehow forced to be subservient to men... then I would still find it creepy and offputting, but at least that would fit what you are saying. Meyers' world is the same as our own, but with vampires. Before Bella met Edward and found out about him, and all of the other weird things (werewolves, etc.), she was the same as any of us. There is no universality of subservience, there's just Bella being a horrible role model for anyone.

emotionally independent

Bella Swan is emotionally independent? Did you read New Moon?

As someone who only

As someone who only discovered the Twilight series this summer and proceeded to read through the entire series in less than a week, I can't say that I didn't enjoy the books for their sheer entertainment value. However, what concerns me greatly are the number of young girls who read these books and take from them underlying messages regarding male superiority, female helplessness, and the debasement of pre-marital sex and the positive light given to teenaged mothers.

Throughout the first book, I would argue that Bella was a very forward and decisive character, even if what she wanted was not necessarily desireable. However, beginning with Edward's departure in Eclipse, Bella became more and more a character that should not be in any way idealized as what a young woman should be. With her boyfriend gone, she became a wreck. She abandoned her friends and wallowed in self-pity, eventually becoming quasi-suicidal because she couldn't stand the thought of being alone. This situation only intensifies in New Moon and ultimately culminates with her wedding and eventual self-sacrifice for her child in Breaking Dawn, turning Bella into the archetypal submissive female to her stronger, more dominating husband.

At the end of it all, even the most die-hard fans of Twilight have to be able to admit that Stephanie Meyer is simply re-writing herself in Bella's place. Twilight is, for all intents and purposes, the teenage years that Meyer wishes she had experienced. These books can and will be enjoyed by many, but what needs to ensured is that they are simply enjoyed as entertainment purposes only and not taken too seriously. I know that if I were a mother with young girls reading this series, I would have a serious discussion with them about fantasy and the real-life dangers of stalking and losing one's identity to another, as well as breaking from the stereotypical monogamous romance culminating in the birth of a child.

And, by the way? Breaking Dawn has been released since August, and Midnight Sun was simply a rewrite of Twilight. I would assume that anyone reading this article would have enough interest in the series to have already read the final book (as well as know the basic plot of the first book) and would therefore not be spoiled. If not, then it's not the fault of the author for not posting a warning regarding spoilers: after nearly five months, if you haven't read it yet, you must not be so deeply involved in the story to care one way or another if you've been spoiled.

I completely agree

As a teen girl, I've seen firsthand the effect Twilight mania has had on my peers. I actually have read them all and can testify as to how bad they are. It's terribly appalling that something so inherently sexist has caught the attention of young GIRLS. I knew how badly written Twilight was, but I had never fully appreciated the underlying messages until now. Thank you!

Good Luck

Sorry to hear that. I haven't seen the effects of Twilight firsthand, but from what I can see, its themes are sending out the wrong message. I understand that getting many young girls (and boys for that matter) to read is wonderful, but reading something with a negative message isn't much better than not reading. All the subversive messages in books (as well as other forms of media) have an impact on us whether we realize it or not, and it seems Twilight is having a negative impact.

I wish the younger generation good luck negotiating this phase of literature.

Interesting article. I,

Interesting article. I, too, quite liked these books and read all four of them in less than a week. But I wondered what messages my teenage sisters and others like them were taking from the books. The character of Bella is so frustrating. Like some of the other commenters said, you can see at the beginning of the books that, while she may be shy, she is also very much in control of herself and is able to completely take care of herself. But so much of her relationship with Edward is disturbing, especially clear when he leaves. The thing I remember most about her is the constantly repeated refrain that she doesn't deserve Edward and he is too good for her. One point though, I think that her self-sacrifice for her child doesn't have to do with her submissiveness to Edward, as he wants to terminate the pregnancy from the moment he hears about it. Again, it is an example of Bella asserting her own power in some ways. Similarly, I wonder if you can count her becoming a vampire as giving up her life for Edward, as she, and others, see the life of a vampire as a perfectly appropriate way of life, not a sacrifice. Whether she is choosing the life of a vampire for the "right" reasons, though, is debatable.

One point though, I think

One point though, I think that her self-sacrifice for her child doesn't have to do with her submissiveness to Edward, as he wants to terminate the pregnancy from the moment he hears about it. Again, it is an example of Bella asserting her own power in some ways.

Power = "making a baby is the most important thing I can possibly do with my life and is worth any amount of agonizing torture and horrible brutal death, even if the baby is going to be an evil soulless monster"

I'm not sure that having your guts torn out from the inside, and then torn out from the outside, can really be considered an empowering act when you're doing it because OMFG You Must Have a Baby Or Your Beautiful Eternal Life Will Be Meaningless And Empty.

(Of course, she gets to become Ultimate Mary-Sue Sparkle Vampire, with bonus Ultimate Sparkle Psychic Vampire Baby, so clearly it's all okay and empowering now and she is the strongest vampire ever and gosh everybody just loves her.)

I'm sorry, but that childbirth scene just squicked me out beyond words. Just reading the excerpts in cleolinda's commentaries was enough to put me off childbirth permanently. And to add insult to injury, Anne Rice did the whole "half-breed demon baby" thing better in Lasher, which makes Meyer's version gratuitously gratuitous.
(Awesome recaps: http://cleoland.pbwiki.com/Twilight#Bookdiscussionentries)

You rock poster above me!

(Of course, she gets to become Ultimate Mary-Sue Sparkle Vampire, with bonus Ultimate Sparkle Psychic Vampire Baby, so clearly it's all okay and empowering now and she is the strongest vampire ever and gosh everybody just loves her.)

That is seriously the most awesomenest analysis of Breaking Dawn EVAR!1!!!!1

Absolutely Stupid

I am not saying that about your article, but about the books in general. I'm suprised that a modern feminist magazine would have a book with such a weak female lead as a positive.
It wasn't about abstinence to me; it was more like she was repressing him. Why is it that they couldn't become enlightened vampires, even if it might have been taken as sexual. Really, I thought you would at least say something about her constantly needing to be saved by Edward. That would be a better story to read about.

1/2 vampires = 100% old idea

Or having a 1/2 human/vampire baby!?

Its called a damphir and it is old news to any vampire fan. Who hasn't done it before is the real question. Seriously, anyone who climbed out from under a tombstone can prattle off a fair size list of these thing. Let's see: Blade is a good example. Vampire Hunter D, Alacard from Castlevania, Rayne from Blood Rayne, the blood born vampires in the Necroscope series, revenants, ghouls and (amazingly enough) Damphirs in White Wolf's World of Darkness RPG, a couple kicking around good ol' D&D. Ferk, you can't throw a stake without hitting one of these things. See any of the above for better quality vampire entertainment.

On dhampirs

Most people seem to get that the idea of vampires is ancient, but it's looking as though many people think that dhampirs are a modern pop culture invention. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Truly original ideas are exceedingly rare nowadays. The issue isn't to have an original idea, it's to deal with it cleverly and intelligently.

Thanks for the spoiler.

Thanks for the article. I was hoping for a spoiler so I wouldn't have to waste my time to prove a point: the movie, which I did watch, was stupid and its only redeeming qualities was the fantastic camera angles of the landscape. From what I've read of the books (skimmed through because certain books I simply can't stand), they are remarkably similar to the movie: cardboard characters with no real depth, the only redeeming twist being the one about the vampires in the sun thing (as fluffy and ridiculous as it is, I have to say it is clever).
The movie was the biggest waste of time and movie money since Dragon Wars last holiday season-- and made me equally bitter and angry for having been dragged to both by others. It disgusts me and makes me retreat from mainstream culture even more out of disinterest.
Not every heroine has to be strong and independent, or have a revelation of that sort, but I'm sick to death of seeing female characters portrayed as sidekicks in their own story like Bella is, or expendable support characters in the GREATER cause of the hero's story.
I used to spend almost all my spare time in high school devoted to the entertainment industry and chasing down good stories through video games, books, movies, etc... but since I've realized things about my life and my sex it has alienated me to see these things everywhere.
Where's the sisterhood?
If Bella and Edward exchanged roles, Twillight wouldn't be a hit.

Bella: Where's the Woman? The Personality?

You know, the books would have been tolerable had they given the female lead in the stories a discernible character. As it stands, you take away her love interest, and you take away her identity. Scratch the surface of Bella's and you find a very hollow creature.

To compare Bella to 50's era women is unfair. Women from this decade had dreams, ambitions, and potential thrown out the window for wedding into dependent relationship on a man. Bella had nothing to cast aside to begin with.

This speaks poorly for the author; to portray a woman/child as an empty cast of her gender. Only to be brought to semi-life by thoughtless, blind lust that her love interest must protect her from. To have to be protected from one's own self; how embarrassing.

I enjoyed the mindless

I enjoyed the mindless reading of twilight and the other books in the series. I knew it was fictional, that actual healthy relationships aren't like that, that you don't get everything in the end, that actual relationships take sacrifice, but the thing is, I'm 23, and I know that most tween girls don't know these things because they've never been in an actual relationship.

What seriously bothered me about the Twilight books is that Bella is virtually friendless. Sure, she has friends, but she isn't close to them. She abandons her friends when she and Edward finally "hook up" and get "serious" about their relationship, and when Edward abandons her, she goes into a coma and further neglects her friends. And only when Edward "abandons" her is when she finally gets a friend, another male, Jacob. She then relies on HIM to be happy. It's as if she can't be happy now without a man in her life. She has no friends from her previous home in Arizona, which I found to be unbelievable. And when she came to Forks, she had friends but they weren't close. Anyways, in the last book, when she becomes a vampire, she sacrifices NOTHING. Her father asks no questions (which I found unbelievable), her mother is clueless about it, and she has no friends to say goodbye to or to show her new self to. She gets to have her little demonic human/vampire baby, gets a house, loads of money, incredible looks, and gets to have hot vampire sex for the rest of her life with her ageless husband and her ageless self, natch. Everything is perfect in the end. She even gets to stay friends with Jacob. The only worries that they have are worries that humans don't have.

I wish that in the last book, Bella had *something* to sacrifice, like her human family, or her human friends. But she doesn't. She has no human friends. That's one of the things that bothered me most. She doesn't even have to sacrifice her only real friend, Jacob.

And Edward's possessiveness also bothered me because that's not a normal relationship, nor is it healthy. I think a certain level of concern for your partner is normal, but it's not mutual in Twilight. Edward is perfect, immortal, strong, and can fend for himself while Bella is imperfect, mortal, weak and needs Edward to protect her. Do you remember the car that he bought her so she wouldn't get into an accident and get hurt? I don't even want to touch on the sex part and her covering up the bruises so she wouldn't upset Edward. It was just wrong.

Sure, she ends up being the strongest when she's a vampire, but why can't she be strong when she's a human? It's as if Meyers is placing a qualifier for women to be strong: only when they're fictitious vampires is when they can be strong.

I completely agree--she

I completely agree--she doesn't sacrifice anything. Meyers completely forces her happy ending---if Meyers followed through with what she set up in the second book, Bella totally would have ended up with Jacob, not become a vampire and Edward would have died saving her in the last battle.

Edward is so controlling and

Edward is so controlling and overprotective, because he *knows* how weak she is (better than she does) and wants to keep her from harm. She's not weak because she is a woman, but because she is human. Compared to a vampire, she is little more than a confused child.

As for her not being able to live without him, this is meant to portray an extraordinary, undying love that consumes her to the point of not *wanting* to live without him. This is an incredibly unrealistic fantasy, but one that has intrigued women for centuries. It's no coincidence that women themselves write these kinds of stories. Many women find it highly romantic, as well as erotic.

You're right. Bella did need more to sacrifice. I think Bella was meant to be portrayed as very brave, and in that way she was strong. She faced something truly terrifying (vampires, loss of humanity, facing the unknown, giving in to desire - even if it could lead to her death, etc.) in the name of love.

The story wasn't *bad*, in my opinion. It just suffered greatly from poor writing skills. It certainly wasn't a new idea by any stretch of the imagination. I find it odd that one feminist called this story unhealthy, then suggested Wuthering Heights as an alternative. The romance in that novel was far more damaging and dysfunctional than this one. The only difference is that they didn't live happily ever after. Wuthering Heights is not a light read, for anyone who may be interested. I have a love/hate relationship with that story, which certainly reflects the turmoil throughout the book. The message is definitely delivered well and haunted me even after I had finished reading it. Now THAT is a good writer!!!

Emotional weakness

"Edward is so controlling and overprotective, because he *knows* how weak she is (better than she does) and wants to keep her from harm. She's not weak because she is a woman, but because she is human. Compared to a vampire, she is little more than a confused child."

Yes, but don't you see how problematic that is? You and Meyer are justifying Bella being weak because she's human. How convenient that she'd fall in love with an all-powerful vampire! She's weak on her own, even without vampires. That's my point. She doesn't have any real friends, no friends back home, no hobbies other than cooking for her dad and working at a sporting good store (not a hobby IMO). Isolate her from Edward, and she's weak. Put her WITH Edward, and she's even weaker emotionally. Physical weakness is irrelevant here. It's that she's totally emotionally and intellectually weak.

"This is an incredibly unrealistic fantasy, but one that has intrigued women for centuries. It's no coincidence that women themselves write these kinds of stories. Many women find it highly romantic, as well as erotic."

And it's unhealthy.

I have an argument that it's stories like this is why women can't find a relationship that works. It's because of fairy tales, Disney movies, romantic comedies where everyone is peachy keen at the end of the story.

"You're right. Bella did need more to sacrifice. I think Bella was meant to be portrayed as very brave, and in that way she was strong. She faced something truly terrifying (vampires, loss of humanity, facing the unknown, giving in to desire - even if it could lead to her death, etc.) in the name of love."

I don't think she was brave at all. She never did anything for her, it was all for him.

"The romance in [Wuthering Heights] was far more damaging and dysfunctional than this one. The only difference is that they didn't live happily ever after. Wuthering Heights is not a light read, for anyone who may be interested. I have a love/hate relationship with that story, which certainly reflects the turmoil throughout the book."

And the difference being that Wuthering Heights is a classic (one of which I have not read, as I have a particular hatred for 19th century British Lit that started my freshman year in High School when I was forced to read Adam Bede and The Return of the Native). Anyways, what I do know about that is that the volatile love story is reflective of the landscape of the wild English moors, think King Lear. It has literary merit, and there are many stories throughout time that portray less-than-ideal relationships, the only difference being that The Twilight Series is marketed directly towards teenagers, whereas the others aren't, and in situations where teenagers do read them, they learn the criticism on them.

"The message is definitely delivered well and haunted me even after I had finished reading it. Now THAT is a good writer!!!"

Only because you are conditioned to.

I work in the children/young

I work in the children/young adult section of an independent bookstore, which is a very specialized facet of bookselling. I grudgingly read the first three books in the series, just to see what all the fuss was about, and was grossed out but not horrified. Then I read the fourth book. At my store I actively try to dissuade every person I can from buying any of these books. Girls as young as seven are reading this entire series; this is actually extremely common. These books are floating around classrooms. Parents and other adults usually have no idea what is in these books and are shocked when I give them even a simple description. Its all well and good for us as adults to argue about this series here, but the truth is young girls, VERY YOUNG CHILDREN, and impressionable teenage girls are being taught to give up everything for a stereotypical relationship that will never exist nor ever should, to idolize a man who is extremely controlling and a borderline stalker, that this is all worth displacing any personal desires or dreams for; they are being taught to fetishize the wedding night as well as having a favorite argument of the anti-choice movement shoved down their throats (that a woman's health is never more important than her child's). Stephenie Meyer is an extremely poor writer who has translated anti-woman personal beliefs into a medium that has reached almost every girl and woman in the country and beyond! I am all for fun light reading, but I see these kids every day, and I believe these books are actually very, very dangerous. There is absolutely nothing positive about these books. Period.

Very Good

I read all four books and I always felt while I was reading them that something was very wrong. The more I read the more I realize how much I dislike the character of Bella. First of all this story has been done if anyone has watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it was done very well there for the simple fact that it shows Buffy making a reasonable decision to have sex with Angel and even though it didn't work out all fairy tale like . But at least Buffy didn't go about liking that, she hated it. So she sent him to "hell". Bella goes around being weak and weak minded and it disturbs me that young readers are reading this when only more experience readers will know that Bella becomes almost a useless character.

Sadly, what happened to

Sadly, what happened to Buffy after she and Angel had sex is more realistic for teen girls to experience. He turned evil, like most teenage boys, after having sex, and turned on her. Unfortunately a lot of boys wind up ditching their girlfriends after sex, or they cheat, or they just disappear, or spread rumors at school. Happened to me (I got cheated on). And I got revenge, just like Buffy did. And I am definitely a stronger woman for it.

Buffy revenge

Just a clarification here... Buffy did not get "revenge" on Angel. Back up a bit... When they had sex, he lost his soul and reverted to being the evil murderous monster he had been before Gypsies "cursed" him with a soul so that he could feel remorse for all his evil acts. Buffy, like many women whose boyfriends turn out to be "monsters, " couldn't kill him. She only decided to kill him to save the world. A minute before she thrust the sword into him, her friend Willow cast a spell to restore Angel's soul. Angel wasn't a monster when Buffy killed him and she didn't do it out of revenge. She killed him despite loving him ... for the greater good, to keep the world from being overrun by evil. I'm not being a Buffy apologist, but am simply explaining what actually happened on the show. Buffy's motivation was very clear.

I wasn't referring to her

I wasn't referring to her killing him, I meant her kicking his ass and getting over him. She did, right? It's been so long since I've watched the series.

"Unfortunately a lot of boys

"Unfortunately a lot of boys wind up ditching their girlfriends after sex, or they cheat, or they just disappear, or spread rumors at school."

Ah, but you forgot the "best" kind of sexual transformation: when the boyfriend becomes clingy, possessive, and manipulative after sex, and tries to tear you away from literally every male figure in your life because he "trusts you, but not them." Frankly, I'd rather have been cheated on, because at least that wouldn't have made me as paranoid as the manipulation did. It's taken me years to recover from what one of my exes did to me.

Oh the old 'trust you but

Oh the old 'trust you but not them' excuse. It's a flimsy one at best because they are actually communicating to you what they really think of you, i.e. they can't trust the other person because they think that you're easily overcome.

Fantastic

This was fantastic. I was wondering when someone would eloquently explain the atrocities of that series.

Interesting analyses all around...

While I did find some of the ideas in the above article a bit oversimplified - i.e. the knee-jerk equation of Bella cooking dinner for her father while perhaps daydreaming of sex with Edward to the 1950's housewife (though, there was no sarcastic reference to her doing both sans pearls, so bravo!) - I have to say that the author did hit on several of my inherent problems with this series, even though I will confess that, until the fourth book (which I threw across the room), I did not have the same issues with them vis-a-vis my feminism as other readers did. Honestly, I think many readers are forgetting what we were like as hormone infested teenagers "in love" with the wrong boy/person. There is no reason to it, no real way to resist (no matter how one tries to intellectually do so), and no way for any burgeoning feminist notions to counteract it. It is quite simply crazy and inexplicable adolescent love at its most borderline deranged, and trying to use adult, fully actualized feminism to critique it will only leave one feeling uncomfortable, angry or wholly dissatisfied, as are many of the above readers. This immaturity explains many of Bella's reactions, but Edward, as a 100-ish-year-old vampire, has a different understanding - something that explains (at least in part) much of his resistance. He really could kill her with his love, both physical and emotional, and he well knows it; in contrast, Bella is "in love" with a gorgeous boy who puts all of her hormones on tilt, and that's really as far as she thinks about it, until Edward often has to point out the obvious. This too may be an oversimplification, and I'm not trying to excuse many of the problems that I do have with the sexuality in these books; however, the dramatic push/pull of the sexual power dynamic between Edward and Bella is not as irresponsible, insidious and anti-feminist as many intimate here. Quite simply, adolescent girls, even the "mature" ones, do not think about sex in the same way as adult women, especially with regard to what it means to choose to "do it," the ramifications of "doing it," or the utter physical/psychological damage done when someone brutally takes that choice away. And Bella reflects this innocence, as does Edward who, for all of his advanced age, is also still a virgin and, therefore, as sexually inexperienced as Bella herself with regard to the practice if not the theory.

Regardless of one's reaction to the Twilight series, I'm actually the most perturbed by the snide comments towards the romance genre, both adult and YA, expressed by several readers. I read romance novels, and I'm proud of it! And, in fact, I find romance readers/novelists as a whole to be some of the most intelligent, well-adjusted, witty, and yes, feminist women I have ever read/met/listened to, etc. We read/write/discuss/love romance because it is a fictive space wherein no matter what shit the protagonists go through they will end up together, and they are better people for it. Also, it is a fictive space that creates a better world for our protagonists to inhabit. In other words, I always close any good romance novel feeling a sense of hope and optimism, and in a world where such commodities are very hard to come by, I cherish the feeling and love this genre, like whoa and damn. And, in fact, my greatest critique of Meyer is that Breaking Dawn did not fulfill this basic tenet of romance. I closed the book feeling let down and as if I had just wasted several hours of my life that I would never get back, not because Bella and Edward finally did the nasty, but rather because Meyer gave an inadequate ending to the story she began in Twilight. It is a high school romance that never matures, and even marriage, a few sex scenes (no matter how awkward or violent) and a 1/2 vampire baby loved by all cannot fix a narrative that profoundly broken. Romance as a genre is not at fault for this, and so we need to realize that as always and ever it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to encourage their daughters and sons as well as their male and female students to become the next generation of strong, independent, and sexually mature feminists. Consequently, anyone who is angry at Meyer for failing to do so is, quite simply, passing the buck.

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for writing this I don't think I could have said it better myself, no, I know I couldn't have.

I being a largely Harry Potter fan wondered what all the fuss was about Twilight when it started popping in various HP LJ Communities dividing HP fans up against each other. So I went to check it out at the bookstore. Where to my surprise it turned out to be a book I had put back on the shelf a couple of months prior, after reading the summary and chalking it up as poorly written fanfiction that some how managed to get published.

However, now, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I bought it. I was not only disappointed, shocked and just out right speechless but I couldn't believe that this was allowed to be published in the first place. Aside from the unhealthy president it sets for young girls, as well as self image and worth, it also has a very heavy dose of obsessive and unhealthy relationship patterns that I would not want my 12 or 13 yr old to read if I was a mother. The fact alone that Meyer had Bella consciously searching for near death and suicidal instances just to bring forth her subconscious voice which consequently sounded just like Edward is unbelievable. I remember just sitting there thinking "And this is in the young adult section?!" This is not something kids should be reading while still at a impressionable age.

BUT, I must say I have read parts available of Midnight Sun and find the insight into Edward interesting and would actually look forward to reading it. I especially like it in its opening callousness, and even as he seems to find himself falling in love with her (or rather in reality infatuated over her, only in all honesty due to the fact that he cant read her mind) he still fights with his desire to kill her. I also appreciate that he IS disturbed slightly by his obsessiveness and questions her mental stability which really should take be addressed even more after New Moon.

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for writing this I don't think I could have said it better myself, no, I know I couldn't have.

I being a largely Harry Potter fan wondered what all the fuss was about Twilight when it started popping in various HP LJ Communities dividing HP fans up against each other. So I went to check it out at the bookstore. Where to my surprise it turned out to be a book I had put back on the shelf a couple of months prior, after reading the summary and chalking it up as poorly written fanfiction that some how managed to get published.

However, now, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I bought it. I was not only disappointed, shocked and just out right speechless but I couldn't believe that this was allowed to be published in the first place. Aside from the unhealthy president it sets for young girls, as well as self image and worth, it also has a very heavy dose of obsessive and unhealthy relationship patterns that I would not want my 12 or 13 yr old to read if I was a mother. The fact alone that Meyer had Bella consciously searching for near death and suicidal instances just to bring forth her subconscious voice which consequently sounded just like Edward is unbelievable. I remember just sitting there thinking "And this is in the young adult section?!" This is not something kids should be reading while still at a impressionable age.

BUT, I must say I have read parts available of Midnight Sun and find the insight into Edward interesting and would actually look forward to reading it. I especially like it in its opening callousness, and even as he seems to find himself falling in love with her (or rather in reality infatuated over her, only in all honesty due to the fact that he cant read her mind) he still fights with his desire to kill her. I also appreciate that he IS disturbed slightly by his obsessiveness and questions her mental stability which really should take be addressed even more after New Moon.

Right on!

After reading the Twilight novels, I couldn't help but feeling that something wasn't right. There was some underlying message that just kept nagging at me, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Before reading this article, I thought that my feeling was just me suspicious, but now I know exactly what it was. You're article basically put into cohesive words everything that I was thinking. Right on!

Making lemonade from lemons

This article was very well written and I'm in complete agreement with each and every sentiment. I would like to suggest that within the regressive stereotyping polluting these books, there also exists a golden opportunity for education. These stories and characters can be used to expose the unhealthy behaviors in both men and women, focusing specifically on the dangerous and ridiculous roles we keep playing in life. I truly hope someone uses this as a teaching tool for young women regarding the pitfalls of confusing love with lust and loyalty with submissiveness. This book is jam pack full of examples of what not to be. Now all we need is for someone to tell young girls why this is so and offer the feminist empowered alternatives.

"Twilight" As Popular Annoyance

I confess to reading "Twilight" because I worked in a bookstore and I sensed the fad coming ten miles away. I confess to avoiding the Harry Potter books for the first four books, until I couldn't take it anymore and decided I'd better shut up and read them before I recommended them to anyone. I suppose there are several problems with "Twilight"'s book and movie (my personal problem is with Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the phenomenal 'Thirteen" and now decides to go mainstream by directing a blatantly obvious piece of tripe), but the main problems for me with the book were the poor writing, the stereotyped characters, and the fact that Stephenie Meyer is pursuing a thinly-veiled Mormon propaganda kick.

I find it difficult to read books with bad writing, but books that become popular like Meyer's lead me to believe that there are not enough open-minded and free-thinking young adults out there. My best friend is currently reading the books, and when I asked her why, she explained that she was bored, and that Laurell K Hamilton had finally gone too far in her writing. As far as women-in-perilous-situations-with-sex-and-hot-vampires stories go, Hamilton is probably the leader of the pack, and for as rotten as her books are, she's still a good writer. Sadly, she's probably the best at writing these types of stories.

Whatever Meyer's religious background may be, that doesn't concern me as much as her poor writing style and her overdrawn sense of self importance. Yes, I do believe that's what these books are. I think MSNBC's film critic Alonso Duralde had a very amusing review of the film 'Twilight" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27806302/) and it was enough to put me off from even considering seeing it, even when my 15 year old sister began to beg.

It strikes me as strange, as well, the amount of posters to this article who seem so upset about the spoilers and the subject matter. The writer has an interesting point to make: the sexualization of abstinence makes it all the more appealing to have sex to begin with. At least I think that's what she's saying. Whether there's sex or not in a young adult book is not the point. The point is that these books - the first one I've read: terribly written, with stereotyped characters, a 'dangerous' boy and a 'good' girl and so unbearably boring - have become so popular that no one is reading anything else. And I mean that. Look at the young adult section next time you enter a bookstore - they're right there for you to see. Ellen Schreiber's "Vampire Kisses"; Richelle Mead's "Morganville Vampires"; Daren Shan's "The Vampire's Apprentice"; and countless others. Vampires are the new sexy accessory. I don't like it, but I know it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Edward based on Mr.Darcy and Mr.Rochester?

I saw the movie and from reading the articles and other comments on these Bella and Edward. I wanted to know how Meyer, came up with Mr. Cullen and to my dismay, she based him on two of the best written male protagonists. I had no idea Mr. Darcy was overbearing; I know him to be socially awkward and unable to express his feelings openly. That he came off cold. Yet, in the end he was heroic in the most subtle of ways. Mr. Rochester was never 'handsome' and Jane never went on about how: "Insanely hot, he was." Jane openly admitted to not finding him handsome at all, but ended up falling in love with in spite of his physical short-comings. She loved him, because of how he was.

All I see with Edward Cullen is a typical poorly and hollowly written interpretation of both these men. Meyer missed the mark completely on blending both of these characters or she didn't even bother truly reading and understanding; 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Jane Eyre.' I also find his character that of abusive, possessive and oppressive husband or boyfriend and didn't find him a romantic leading man in the least. Half the time I wanted Bella to tell him to shut the fcuk up and get over himself.

It disturbs me how many girls and women (my boyfriend sisters loves Edward) feel so strongly towards him. That they sigh and coo over how they wish they could find someone as "devoted" and loving as he. I don't believe anyone would feel entirely comfortable with someone breaking and entering their home to stare at them sleep. We would change the locks, get an alarm-system and sleep with a gun. So, why would anyone exploit and revel in this in a book character?

This article is ridiculous

Are you kidding me? Bella wasn't the one who was trying to "save" herself for marriage, and if you read the books you might know that she has been trying to iniate a sexual relationship with Edward since the first book!

Also, there was no detail in the sex scenes! Just them kissing and then assessing the damage the next morning. The most G-rated thing I've ever read seriously, I can't see how it would seem offensive.

And as for the "parents for twilight" nonsense, I can't believe they are making such a big deal out of fictional characters expecting the author to write novels that their teens can live by. Because a fictional vampire love story is really something that I would want my daughter to model her life after.

give me a break.

it's an epic love story that draws the reader into a fantasy. and that's exactly what it is, a fantasy!

Seriously? Get over yourself.

Honestly this book is not about social issues today or anything like that. It's about a male vampire and a human girl who fall in love. It's not realistic, no one is going to go home and be like "oh well when I fall in love with a vampire...." It's not real. Period. We all know that. Books like these for teens and up are our version of pretending as we did when we were 6 and fantasized about being Barbie. It's all fantasy, just like Harry Potter, any kind of fiction novel. Obviously no one but the writer of this article and other crazy no-life pseudo-intellectuals in real life are going to sit back and say, "wow, I cant believe Bella was treated that way by Edward! What an asshole!" And if you do, just dont freaking read the book. No one is forcing you. In my opinion and many others, it's fun to read and fantasize about the story. As everyone knows, the myth of the vampire, werewolf, etc. has been fascinating to all people since the beginning of time. It's purely interest in the unknown. And if someone wants to write a love story about a vampire and a human, or people want to read this story, stop trying to ruin the fun.

I think maybe you stumbled

I think maybe you stumbled on this article by accident while you were looking for a fan web site. This magazine and the website are both clearly dedicated to a feminist response to pop culture, so I don't know how you could have expected anything else. I thought a lot of your remarks were rude, especially since there are actually plenty of people, obviously, who take issue with this series. There is no such thing as a work of art or fiction or any kind of creation that can be divorced from cultural and social issues. I have read all four books and they are a very clear reflection of Meyer's cultural context, which happens to be very anti-woman. I really don't have a problem with people loving her books, but I do have a problem with elementary aged girls and young teen girls being given this message. It's hard enough for them as it is. You sound like a mature reader who understands the difference between fantasy and reality, but younger girls often really don't. I suggest you take your own advice and just not freaking read an article that will piss you off so much. And there are plenty of us who never fantasized about being Barbie.

So the author has carte

So the author has carte blanche of imagining and crating (author self-described) "fantastic circumstances" and a "fantasy world," yet she creates the world she did... eons-old versions of gender stereotypes. But the feminist perspective isn't just about choices. Given that, what about the choices Meyers made in designing her story?

If you look at this through a coming-of-age fariy tale (as I did, a modern Beauty & The Beast - male's love turns girl into woman, woman's love socializes the outcast male monster.), it was utterly disappointing to see Bella develop her own self outside the existence of Edward and vampirism. I hoped that the sometimes snarky, awkward Bella would grow into a woman in the sense of self-confidence and independence as a human first before aligning herself so wholly with vampirism (which I would argue is really androcentrism in vampire clothing). But it certainly isn't lost on us or Meyers that she in no way does this UNTIL she's married and mothering. Then she's rewarded with all the spoils - wealth, ultimate physical ability, and her superpowers.

I think Meyers in general has a distaste for women outside the married and maternal frame. What about that female werewolf (I forget her name) who is both bitter and outcast because she's essentially sterile and her "female parts don't work right"? What about the girl in school whom Edward had to read and referred to the act as "condescending low" because she was so shallow? How about Rosalie - snide and bitter because she didn't have a baby? How about Rene whom Meyers paints as a joke and as a convenient plot device for Bella to be the motherless waif every good fairytale should have? How about knock-out, luscious vampire Bella who still has to get dolled up to meet her document forger, because if money, fear, or kindness isn't enough to get what you want, sex-appeal sure will be? And what about this "physical love is profound and transforming" nonsense that is, yet again, about controlling female sexuality? Or the human girls who "couldn't help but love" their imprinter adult is really about infantilizing women and taking away their choices.

Meyers has an obvious disdain for every single female character in that book, save for Alice and Esme (and *only* because they are relatively asexual and represent the Good Mother figures (like the typical fairy godmother figure)), and romanticizes the female stereotype, even the parts where being controlled is considered "only a little over-protection" or physical abuse is a "reminder of the fun", as one poster wrote above. And if you really think Bella had choices, I'd say she had to be swayed and protected from the choices she made by the characters who supposedly knew better... primarily Edward. It isn't until Bella arrives at the quintessential female stage - married and mothering and, I'd argue, aligned with the patriarchy/adrocentrism via vampirism - does Meyers give Bella any strength and self-confidence.

I would also note what a friend of mine recently said, that the when the vampirism is conferred patrilineally, it is considered good and rewarding, a blessing, and comes with all the spoils mentioned above. When it is conferred matrilineally, as is the case with Jasper's turning and Victoria spawning the new born, the results are evil.

The version about abstinence

The version about abstinence porn sounds very attractive, but I really hope that this book is about the enduring, undying love that every woman craves for. And I can give some more examples of other love stories that are great without sex: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre. So, to my own opinion "abstinence porn" is just a NEW term to attract the audience.

No 19th century sex!

Uh, the reasons why there is no sex in Pride and Prejudice (as well as other Austin novles) as well as Jane Eyre is because it was completely and utterly taboo in 19th century England to write about sex, and it was just as bad because they were female writers, which was also taboo. And, if they did write about sex, it was very hidden in code and metaphors.

Your comparison isn't accurate in the least bit because almost no mainstream and respected novels detailed sex.

I was always uneasy about

I was always uneasy about the obsession of teenage girls with this series -- and I see now why.

I recall in high school (grad '08), my friends and I formed a Seniors Only writing group under the same director -- because we were all so sick of hearing about Edward.

Thank you so much for going so far as to examine fanfic -- a look into the minds and fantasies of the readers themselves -- to make this piece all the more insightful. Typically I am very hesitant to accept any one person/party's argument, but I must say, this was extremely compelling.

This article was fabulous -- I became a member of this site (which I have brushed by occasionally) as soon as I read it.

"I only wanted
what everyone wanted
since bras started burning
up ribs in the sixties"

- "The Lottery" by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton

Open conversation

However you feel about these books, I think the most important thing it can do is open a great conversation between you and your teen/tween. I think bashing it openly to your kid, forbidding her from reading them or making her feel like an idiot for reading them is a VERY bad approach. (Not saying that's being advocated, but the attitudes expressed here make it seem plausible.) How about finding out why they love them? And then talk about the issues and concerns. My daughter loved these books. And I read them to see why. I agree there are many things to be concerned about from a feminist perspective as articulated above, but I loved that we could talk about it because of these books. It really made my kid think twice and see them from a different perspective outside of the fluffy entertainment.

About the Mormon thing: anyone who believes she is pushing a Mormon agenda is ignorant. I have several intelligent and very feminist Mormon woman friends who feel similarly to the article above. One of whom is extremely dedicated to her faith and also seeking a PhD in feminist rhetoric. She is one of the most forward thinking and feminist women I know and taught me a powerful lesson about my own blind stereotyping despite how "open minded" I believed myself to be. Certainly, the author's background will have a heavy influence on her writing, but to lump all Mormons into that subservient stereotype is bigoted and ignorant. Don't generalize about a group of people, because it's made up of individuals.

This is really going out on a limb here ...

... but the most famous Mormon woman of a generation ... Marie Osmond ... is now TWICE-divorced. Perfect? Hardly!

I have other criticisms of Osmond I am saving for other/future topics, but they have nothing to do with her being a Mormon.

Open conversation

However you feel about these books, I think the most important thing it can do is open a great conversation between you and your teen/tween. I think bashing it openly to your kid, forbidding her from reading them or making her feel like an idiot for reading them is a VERY bad approach. (Not saying that's being advocated, but the attitudes expressed here make it seem plausible.) How about finding out why they love them? And then talk about the issues and concerns. My daughter loved these books. And I read them to see why. I agree there are many things to be concerned about from a feminist perspective as articulated above, but I loved that we could talk about it because of these books. It really made my kid think twice and see them from a different perspective outside of the fluffy entertainment.

About the Mormon thing: anyone who believes she is pushing a Mormon agenda is ignorant. I have several intelligent and very feminist Mormon woman friends who feel similarly to the article above. One of whom is extremely dedicated to her faith and also seeking a PhD in feminist rhetoric. She is one of the most forward thinking and feminist women I know and taught me a powerful lesson about my own blind stereotyping despite how "open minded" I believed myself to be. Certainly, the author's background will have a heavy influence on her writing, but to lump all Mormons into that subservient stereotype is bigoted and ignorant. Don't generalize about a group of people, because it's made up of individuals.

In defense of Twilight series

While I can appreciate all of the comments and concerns, I would like to make a few points in defense of the Twilight series:
1) This series is getting girls to read 2,000 pages of fiction for fun. That alone is a very good thing.
2) Bella may not be the ultimate feminist character, but she is a pretty realistic teenage girl. She makes both good and bad choices. She is confused. She is overwhelmed by her feelings of first love. She has sexual desire. She mourns when she gets her heart broken and feels ecstatic when she is with her chosen partner. Even her darker sides are very realistic. Her propensity toward self-destruction is something that unfortunately resonates with a lot of teen girls. Bella is a character young women "get," not necessarily aspire to be.
3) Eroticizing abstinence for teens is not necessarily a bad thing. I am a therapist and work with teens conducting pregnancy, HIV and STD prevention programs, and a story that does not discount nor fault a woman's desire and romanticizes a partner who wants to abstain from sex for her health and well being is not a terrible thing, in my estimation.
4) The appeal of these books goes beyond teens. I am a 36 year old feminist, and I loved them. Relationships are complicated and powerful. Both partners can feel like satellites circling around the other. Men and women alike make life choices that revolve around their partners. That is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it make one disempowered.
These books resonate with a large audience for a reason. Respectfully, I do not think those reasons are necessarily the negative ones ascribed here. I look forward to Midnight Sun being published.

Regarding comment one: yes,

Regarding comment one:

yes, it's getting young girls to read, but at what expense? Why can't we get them to read more empowering books about strong female characters not being totally dependent on the men in their lives?

it's like the problem of Sarah Palin: It was an incredible advance for women's rights, her being the VP nom for the Republican party, but at the same time, she rejected feminist beliefs and was adamantly pro-life.

It's ultimately a catch-22.

2) I would argue that she's NOT a typical teenage girl. Typical teenage girls don't go into mental comas after their boyfriend leaves, most can survive on their own without a male holding their heads above water, most have close friends who would be there for them if said boyfriend left, and most have more than enough confidence and self-esteem to not constantly need a man, nor do they risk their lives to hear a hallucination of their boyfriends' voices.

3) i agree with the abstinence thing, but it also teaches that it's OK to get married just for it to be OK to have sex, that it's OK and perfectly fine to get married at almost 19 and have a baby, forgo college to do said things. In Bella's world, she has all the freaking time in the world to go to college, she doesn't have to work because her family has endless amounts of money, but that's NOT realistic! Normal people who forgo college to start a family usually struggle. Some don't get to go to college because of costs.

I'm 23, and I liked them, but only I think because I recognize it for what it is, and choose not to think about it. it's a modern day fairy tale. It's not realistic, it's fluff, and I know that, and you know that, but do 11-year-old girls know that?

1) This series is getting

1) This series is getting girls to read 2,000 pages of fiction for fun. That alone is a very good thing.

No it isn't. If the 'girls' aren't reading somethin enriching, it hardly constitutes for a good thing. If reading books like Twilight is making them more vulnerable to abusive relationships because the abuser "is being a gentleman", then, it's not a good thing.

2) Bella may not be the ultimate feminist character, but she is a pretty realistic teenage girl. She makes both good and bad choices. She is confused. She is overwhelmed by her feelings of first love. She has sexual desire. She mourns when she gets her heart broken and feels ecstatic when she is with her chosen partner. Even her darker sides are very realistic. Her propensity toward self-destruction is something that unfortunately resonates with a lot of teen girls. Bella is a character young women "get," not necessarily aspire to be.

She has a "darker side"? Which is what? Being clumsy? I'd like to believe that teenage girls have more emotional depth than Bella who wants to be pretty, procreate with Edward and has no real aspirations or ambitions. Even if "'young women' "get"" Bella's character, it doesn't nullify the fact that she is a pathetic excuse for a female.

3) Eroticizing abstinence for teens is not necessarily a bad thing. I am a therapist and work with teens conducting pregnancy, HIV and STD prevention programs, and a story that does not discount nor fault a woman's desire and romanticizes a partner who wants to abstain from sex for her health and well being is not a terrible thing, in my estimation.

I don't think the author of the article implied that abstinence is 'bad'. It is more how the topic is handled in the book that is 'bad'.

4) The appeal of these books goes beyond teens. I am a 36 year old feminist, and I loved them. Relationships are complicated and powerful. Both partners can feel like satellites circling around the other. Men and women alike make life choices that revolve around their partners. That is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it make one disempowered.

I think you're negating a large factor here. The term 'teens' implies both boys and girls which clearly isn't true for Twilight. I've never seen a guy reading Twilight and yes, while there may be an odd one out, looking to impress his girlfriend et cetera, the primary demographic of Twilight has always been females. The fact that the ostensible "appeal" of the books goes beyond the teenage girl hardly makes it any better. To say that Twilight is "good" because so many people (primarily females) are enamoured with Twilight is equivalent of saying that excrement/garbage must taste "good" because trillions of flies find it appealing. As for "relationships", what Bella and Edward have hardly constitutes for a "relationship". They are in lust, not love. Even if some decision "revolve around" the partner, to have no life outside of said partner, no ambitions, no identity IS disempowering.

Where is the respect for women in this comment?

I really object to the tone and the implicit judgments of this comment. Many women have children at 19. In fact, 13% of US births are to teen mothers. Should every woman have a baby at 19? No. Do we need to demonize or negate the lives of women who do get married or have children at 19? Is that feminist? Does the main character of a book need to be college-bound to be deemed a successful woman? Since when did our choices get so limited? And since when are relationships supposed to be such a tiny, inconsequential part of life for women, making them "a pathetic excuse for a female"? Are clumsy women really so harmful to the movement? Where is the tolerance for differences here?

And as for the comment:
"To say that Twilight is "good" because so many people (primarily females) are enamoured with Twilight is equivalent of saying that excrement/garbage must taste "good" because trillions of flies find it appealing."

Wow. So, basically all women who do not agree with your assessment of the book are basically flies swarming around excrement. How empowering your stance is for all females who do not share your opinion! So, basically, as long as I delay procreation, get a college education, and agree with your assessment of my pleasure reading, I am an acceptable female. If not, I guess I am no better than a fly. That is very respectful to women and their choices, indeed.

No, the poster is making an

No, the poster is making an analogy to demonstrate the flaws in the previous poster's analogy, which is to say that you can't judge quality by public reception. You are grossly misinterpreting the analogy. The author did not once say that you had to agree with his/her assessment of the book. And, no where in his/her comment did it say that it wasn't ok to have a baby at 19 and forgo a college education, the comment just points out that at no time did Bella ever consider alternatives to giving herself over to Edward and his lifestyle. It also points out the REAL realities, not the book's realities, that come with choosing to have a child at 19--that it's nowhere as easy and fluffy and thoughtless as the book makes it seem.

Thank You

This article was brilliant. It clearly summarize exactly why Twilight is a horrible piece of horseshit "writing". Younger teens and preteens are learning horrible lessons from this "saga" that sets back the women's movement by decades. Not only that, Meyer contradicts her own characters from beginning to end and creates a painful read for those who took time from REAL literature to read this.

But they've already read the books

so why fight it? I agree with the egregious bullshit in the book - the character of Bella is totally empty and ready for readers to project their own lives onto - and Edward's a prick and the come-here-come-here-come-here-oh-get-away! dynamic is tiresome.

But the kids have already read it. So instead of flailing around feeling worried about it, read the series yourself and have a conversation about it with girls in your life. I creating a class on writing and the series, partly to instruct young people about what the book does right (sucks you in, keeps you reading) and what it does wrong (uh, too much to list here) and how they can learn about writing and literature from what Stephenie Meyer has done.

I also admit to wanting to discuss the book more in-depth and get the students to question some of the characterizations and why they are unrealistic. I think also that kids are more sophisticated than we give them credit for. So read the books, and start the conversation!

... what did you think this thread was?

We ARE having that discussion. We're discussing why these books and their characters are bad literature, poorly constructed and are nothing but Mary Sue pron for the Jesus bunnies. We're explain why its not acceptable to say, "But they're reading" as a defense because you could use the same excuse for Playboy for boys. We're talking about how other incarnations of the vampire archetype have been better erotica, better teen lit, better pulp fiction, better examples of forbidden sexuality, better marketing tools, better at providing actual empowering role models or representations of urban fantasy.

As for reading the series myself - WHY?! Its shite. The people I know who have tried to read it saw its shite. The people who've seen the movie say its shite. Steaming, runny, festering shite. If I want to read/watch shite for fun, I'll go compost some Necroscope wamphari or a couple shovelfuls of White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquarde novels and enjoy some vampire who aren't painted in the abusive 'but he only does it cuz he luvs yu!' colors. I'll watch Kate Beckman do the bullet time thing in Underworld, dig out From Dusk Til Dawn and time how long it takes for an actual vampire to show up, or count how many cliches were stuffed into 21 Days of Night's first ten minutes. I'll grab a handful or other Dracula knock offs and heckle my way through them. I'll groan my way bad comics, cheesy RPGs and half-assed video games with the most phony sounding dialogue ever to be translated into engrish. And it will still be better than Twilight.

Added Bonus

Here's the lyrics to Inkubus Sukkubus' little ditty 'Vampyre Erotica'. Nice summary of the vampire as an erotic monster that's hunting for a victims and likes to play with it's food. THIS is how your write about a sexual monster and start a discussion on forbidden sexual taboos manifested in a literary archetype.

Your heart burns for love
My soul burns for blood
I'll take you, I'll break you
I'll crush you, I'll break you
If you want me, I'll need you
I'll kill you, feed from you
I'll take you down that road
That leads to destruction
Come and take a walk with me
Where the angels fear to tread
Kiss the flame, feel the pain
In the furnace of our love
I can't feed my hunger
Your youth makes me younger
I'll hurt you, desert you
Turn your dreams to nightmares
I'll cheat you, I'll eat you
I'll maim you, I'll drain you
Come to me, come to me
To the dark side where love sleeps
Come and take a walk with me
Where the angels fear to tread
Kiss the flame, feel the pain
In the furnace of our love
Come alone and talk with me
Sing the sweet song of the spell
Give your body, give your soul
In the furnace of our love
I'll hurt you, you'll love me
I'll scratch you, I'll cut you
You'll kiss me, then miss me
I'll laugh at your torment
I'll have you, and own you
Be hard and cold to you
I'll be your dark angel
I'll be your worst nightmare
Come and take a walk with me
Where the angels fear to tread
Kiss the flame, feel the pain
In the furnace of our love
Come alone and talk with me
Sing the sweet song of the spell
Give your body, give your soul
In the furnace of our love
I'll need you, I'll scold you
I'll touch you, I'll hold you
I'll take you, I'll bite you
I'll calm you, excite you
I'll love you, I'll need you
I'll kiss you, I'll kill you
I'll beat you, I'll eat you
I'll crush you, I'll thrill you
I'll scratch you, attack you
Destroy you, devour you
I'll hold you, I'll hurt you
I'll maim you, I'll drain you
Come to me, Come to me
Come to me, Come to me
I'll have you, I'll own you
I'll tempt you, I'll drop you
I'll get you, I'll kick you
I'll take you, forsake you
Deny you, defy you
Condemn you, desert you
I'll cut you, I'll scratch you
I'll harm you, disarm you
I'll need you

Well, go and do that

it's quite a long and impressive list. Don't read it. Stamp your feet and jump and up and down and DON'T READ IT.

Yes, it's total shit. Embarrassingly written, and apparently the only editor was Mrs. Meyer's pastor.

I guess what I didn't say well enough was that we can't wish Mrs. Meyer's personal sex dream series back into her head. They are splattered out into the world and now what? If the conversation you want to have is how shitty the books are, then have it, talk about it. Or don't. Read what you want. I'm just saying, take the next step, if you really are concerned about what messages girls are getting.

Maybe you understand the challenges of literacy among young adults better than I do, but I think that getting kids to read is a big fat fucking deal. And it's terrible that they are swarming over some piss poor "literature" that offers same-old, same-old stereotypes. But they've read it and are enthralled by it, so lemons/lemonade time.

Also, I didn't come up reading pristine, perfectly progressive in every way literature. I read Flowers in the Attic, sleazy John Jakes "historical" novels, and yes, Playboy. It was quite a road that led me to women's autobiography and post-colonial literature blessed by my professors.

Lemonade out of abusive relationships?

Again, the defense that "...but they're reading!" is not a viable excuse. Yah, we all read loads of crap but at least the usual fair didn't have the undertone that he hits you cuz he luvs you. Even Sweet Valley High wasn't stupid enough to shovel that shit down girl's throats. The idea that anything's good enough because reading isn't what the cool kids are doing these days won't fly because there are much better authors not promoting abstinence until abusively married agendas.

Holly Black writes intelligent characters in modern fantasy setting with female characters that deal with monster boyfriends (trolls, unseelie faeries, selkies, ogres) with a lot more awareness. At no point does the idea that a selkie drowning you become romantic or do Black's characters put up with being shut out for 'protection'. Its called what it is - murder, abuse, manipulation. Black's characters call the world out on its shit. They're smart, they're brave, they're tough and they hold their own against monsters, human or supernatural. They also cry, get frustrated, admit to being scared, overwhelmed and human but they never knuckle under.

Edward is just an abusive boyfriend with fangs. These books sell him as the most perfect thing a girl could have and its completely utterly serious about it. There is no "holy shite, this is completely ferked up" subtext to Edward's behavior like in other horror/romance novels. This is an instructional book on why girls should all let their boyfriends abuse them. Brian Lumley's Necroscope wamphari take virginal girls away to their towers, too ... and spend centuries using them as concubines. If one offered a wedding ring and promised to only limit itself to one victim, that would make them good boyfriend material in Meyer's eyes, too. At least the Necroscope books give you some interesting lessons in physics and have great big neon signs over it's vampires reading, "THESE GUYS ARE SICK MOTHER F...!!!" and never let the reader forget it.

The literature, pulp or otherwise, that leads you to better lit is not the kind that has the underlying message, "All you need is a husband to make all your dreams come true and its okay if he locks you up/wrecks your car/threatens your life because he really loves you"; its the kind that tell you you're gonna have to dig deep, grow some fangs of your own and fight. Defending these books as a gateway into actual reading doesn't make them worth reading. There are shelf-fuls or better stuff out there that doesn't belittle girls and try to get them to sign up for spousal abuse.

I agree with you

there are better books.

But short of ripping Twilight out of kids' hands and banning it from bookshelves, what can you do to remedy the situation?

I wish to hell that all kids had the name of Holly Black in their heads, but many of them don't. They have Stephenie "Sexless Sex Dream" Meyer in their heads and they've got wet panties and can't figure it out and they are mobbing Hot Topic and it's a big old mess.

So - I'm teaching a class this summer on writing from the series, using examples of why the books are shite and why they aren't, and what kinds of characters are compelling, etc. That's what I'm doing, because you can't make them un-read the books. They've gobbled them up, just like every other shitty American Idol-The Hills-Survivor concept out there. So it's on me to figure out a way to combat the awful messages in the books, while teaching them a thing or two about how good writing is done.

Here's what I want. Email me a list of better genre fiction (I'm a dabble in sci-fi at best, and read v. little horror) and I'll include it in my class materials and activities. Deal?

meatfill at gmail dot com

I agree with you

there are better books.

But short of ripping Twilight out of kids' hands and banning it from bookshelves, what can you do to remedy the situation?

I wish to hell that all kids had the name of Holly Black in their heads, but many of them don't. They have Stephenie "Sexless Sex Dream" Meyer in their heads and they've got wet panties and can't figure it out and they are mobbing Hot Topic and it's a big old mess.

So - I'm teaching a class this summer on writing from the series, using examples of why the books are shite and why they aren't, and what kinds of characters are compelling, etc. That's what I'm doing, because you can't make them un-read the books. They've gobbled them up, just like every other shitty American Idol-The Hills-Survivor concept out there. So it's on me to figure out a way to combat the awful messages in the books, while teaching them a thing or two about how good writing is done.

Here's what I want. Email me a list of better genre fiction (I'm a dabble in sci-fi at best, and read v. little horror) and I'll include it in my class materials and activities. Deal?

meatfill at gmail dot com

"At least they're ...."

I agree.

Spending time outside hooking on the corner is slightly different than going for a walk.

I think that one of the most important things I've ever learned was the difference between quantitative and qualitative.