I do not approve of the messages that Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series oh-so-subtly sends to its readers. I understand that these books are very popular and have a loyal fan base, so I am treading on dangerous territory by offering my criticisms. But, at this point, I’m used to having controversial opinions.
Let me begin by confessing that I have never seen the film. I have, however, read the first couple of books, though it has been a few years, and my memories might be a little fuzzy.
The thing about these books that bothers me the most is Edward’s behavior. For those of you (luckily) in the dark about the details of Twilight, Edward is a vampire and the “love interest” of the main character, Bella. Throughout the book, Edward behaves much like a stalker and/or abusive boyfriend toward Bella. He watches her sleep, exhibits extremely jealous behavior, and is controlling. And his actions get misinterpreted as “romantic” by preteen girls everywhere, who have little to no real-life experiences with romantic relationships. So, what happens in real life if a boy exhibits stalker-like, controlling behavior toward these young women? Will they think it romantic, and, as a result, be in danger?
Another qualm I have with the series is that Bella abandons her identity when she falls in love with Edward. Her whole world revolves around him; she drops all her friends and spends her time obsessing over Edward. I think that this situation happens often enough in real life (I confess to making this mistake with my first relationship. I was young. And dumb.), and Bella’s actions in this book set a very bad example.
Last year, around the time the movie based on the book came out, I was discussing these topics with a friend of mine. He asked me, “So, you don’t like the book because the main character isn’t a strong woman?” And I couldn’t help but answer, “Yes!” This book sets a bad example for the impressionable young women who largely make up the fan base. And I cringe just thinking of that, particularly since we live in a society where the good examples get far too few exposure or credit.
Here’s a collection of creepy/disturbing quotes from Twilight, found on this website:
I couldn’t allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic. More than pathetic, it was unhealthy.Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 4, p.74
It’s wrong. It’s not safe. I’m dangerous, Bella — please, grasp that.Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 9, p.190
I do want to know what you’re thinking — everything. I just wish… that you wouldn’t be thinking some things.Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 10, p.208
Of course, keeping you safe is beginning to feel like a full-time occupation that requires my constant presence.Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 10, p.211
That is something to be afraid of, indeed. Wanting to be with me. That’s really not in your best interest.Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 13, p.266
I’m sorry if there’s been some kind of miscommunication, but Bella is unavailable tonight. To be perfectly honest, she’ll be unavailable every night, as far as anyone besides myself is concerned. Edward Cullen, Twilight, Epilogue, p.483
You are my life. You’re the only thing it would hurt me to lose.Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 24, p.474
Oh, a sadistic vampire, intent on torturing her to death, sure, no problem, she runs off to meet him. An IV, on the other hand…Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 24, p.462
And here’s a great video, showing how Buffy the Vampire Slayer would react to Edward’s strange and controlling behavior: