I think we can all agree that abusive relationships are a negative thing, but if your abusive boyfriend is a vampire, suddenly you’ve written Twilight! The Twilight series, if by some fortunate means you haven’t heard of it, consists of four books written by Stephenie Meyer with the first book, Twilight, debuting in 2005. Since then, movies have been made for the first three books, and part one of the last book, Breaking Dawn, that came out Nov. 18, 2011.
Undoubtedly, Twilight is popular—but what message is it sending? While most young adult novels aim to promote something positive, Twilight manages the opposite. The relationship between the main character, Bella, and her love interest, Edward, is a disturbing one. Bella, who is relatively well-liked at her new school in Forks, Wash., decides that for some reason she wants the creepy, pale guy who no one talks to. Ignoring this bizarre plot, the creepy, pale guy turns out to actually be her stalker, watching her sleep at night before they even had a conversation. Disturbed yet? Well it’s okay, because he’s a one hundred-year-old sparkly vampire who wants to hurt her, but restrains himself. How kind.
The fact that he stalks her should dissuade her from pursuing a relationship with him, but instead she views it as romantic. Stalking is not okay, but Twilight portrays it as so. Then book one ends and when book two, New Moon, begins, Edward leaves her so as not to put her in danger, and what does she do? Cry and become depressed until another guy, Jacob, comforts her and they become friends. Moral of the story: women are worthless without men and every woman needs a boyfriend or else she is nothing. Does that sound like a positive theme? Personally, I think women (and men, too) can be strong independently and needn’t rely on relationships for self-worth.
Fast-forward to Breaking Dawn and Bella and Edward have sex, after which Bella is covered in bruises. You’d think at this point she would realize that this is an abusive relationship, but no, she actually insists on having sex again. Wrong answer, Bella. The solution to an abusive relationship is to leave or seek help, not to hound your abuser to have sex with you.
And before I get an angry mob of “Twi-hards” at my front door with pitchforks and torches, you should all know that I did actually read the first book in the series (sorry, I just could not handle any more Twilight after that) and I’m not referring to the movies. The movies, and Kristen Stewart’s complete lack of any facial expression, are a different story. The writing in the first book is horrendous and almost unbearable, and Bella as a character—whiney, emotionless, subservient and weak—is a terrible role model for anybody.
I’m not the only one who thinks her writing is bad. Stephen King, according to worldsstrongestlibrarian.com, said, “Both [J.K.] Rowling and [Stephenie] Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people . . . The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good . . . Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
But Meyer’s poor writing style, nonsensical plot and pathetic main character aside, the real problem I have with Twilight is that it sets such a bad example for how relationships should work. According to Twilight, you must be in a relationship at all times, and if your partner is abusive, that is a good sign. I disagree; in fact, it’s perfectly okay not to be in a relationship, and nobody deserves to be in an abusive relationship. Twilight teaches all the wrong lessons, especially to young girls who place themselves in Bella’s shoes, and it’s an incredible detriment to society.