Is Twilight Mysogynistic? [SPOILERS]

Full disclosure: I have not read the books and I’m somewhat peeved that New Moon broke the one day record for sales (beating The Dark Knight, one of my all-time favorite movies).

I first came across this idea on Cracked in an article entitled “7 Chick Flicks That Secretly Hate Women.” Now I know that Cracked is not exactly the pinnacle of thoughtful analysis of art forms, but I include it nonetheless. I searched around and, to my surprise, this theme is quite prevalent on the internet.

My understanding of the plot of Twilight is that Bella falls in love with Edward and gives up her independence, future education, and possible career to bear Edward’s children. Supposedly this is indicative of the author’s conservative Mormon background. He’s killed people, but she trusts him. Because he says so. From what I’ve heard, Edward saves her from dangerous/uncomfortable situations repeatedly, time and time again. He also apparently refers to her frequently as “fragile.” Despite Edward’s obsessive nature (watching her sleep, monitoring her conversations, disabling her car), his affection is somehow portrayed as endearing.

Ultimately I’m trying to figure out why this is the ultimate chick movie. Any dopers want to toss around some speculation?

This is NOT the ultimate chick movie. (I have not actually seen it, but I have read the first of the books in the series.) A lot of women are pretty much horrified by the storyline. It IS popular to teenaged girls and (IMHO) emotionally retarded adult women who have the idea that it’s romantic to have someone so into you that he would do all of that crazy shit.

IMO, I definitely find the story misogynistic. Not to mention trite and craptastic.

When I criticized Twilight in a book group (because of Edward’s obsessive behavior) a fan explained that he was merely protecting Bella. You see, Edward’s scent was on her, and bad things would be coming for her.

No joke.

No it’s a feminist powerhouse, just ask the philosophy of Twilight!

She gives up her life’s ambitions to marry Edward and bear his child that is a cancerous growth that tries to eat it’s way out of her. She is only saved by Edward’s quick thinking when he performs a Caesarian upon her with his fangs.

The fan defended that part too. Bella’s womb is impermeable to manmade instruments. The only thing that could cut through her womb and thus save her life! was Edward’s teeth.

Still not joking.

Wait, you’re speaking of a, like, metaphorical Caesarian, right? Like there isn’t actually a super-popular series of novels for tweens where a vampire literally bites into the heroine’s womb.


They start with a scalpel, but to get through the sac, Edward ends up having to use his teeth.

I am sorry I know this.

This is the aggravating thing about talking to fans about the book. I criticize the book for what the events depicted mean in the cultural context of the author and reader, and the fan insists on ignoring this by offering explanations of the event in terms of plot only.

I’ve run against this brick wall several times. It feels like denial to me but I can’t profess to read minds.

Holy goddamn. Does that happen in New Moon?

You mean Twilight fans cannot understand the basic underpinnings of literary critique? Say it ain’t so!

I think that there is probably some kind of cognitive mutual exclusivity going on here. You can like Twilight, or you can comprehend subtle levels of meaning within a story, but not both.

Jimmy Chitwood It’s in like Book 4.

Wow…when I read that bit about the tooth Caesarian I honestly thought it was a joke.

Thanks to Kyla above for offering a different perspective, too. I stand corrected.

NO! Else that’s what we’d all be hearing about. Happens in the last book, doesn’t it?

Well, I guess I have to read them now.

Agreed with the abovementioned examples of mysogyny.

Additionally, Bella is presented as a hugely accident-prone klutz who can barely walk upstairs without sustaining some sort of injury, thus requiring Edward to rescue her repeatedly.

Worse still:

On their wedding night they have sex for the first time which, because of his vampire strength, leaves her bruised and battered and in pain, but no less in love and full of desire for him.

Also, she’s unconscious throughout most of the process.

What the ?!? I literally just threw my hands up in the air! That’s rape by most definitions! Does that scene take place in one of the two movies that’s been released? It will be interesting to see how they handle this one and the Caesarian section thing in film.

You do realize that NOTHING HAPPENS for like 300 pages of the first book right? Other than them meeting it’s like 300 pages of them talking about their feelings. But then again a normal novel is like 450 words per page and these books around about 300 words per page.

Twilight fans apparently are not only stupid, but don’t have very good eyesight either.

Are there subtle levels of meaning in the story? Or is that all there is, what’s on the page? I haven’t read any interviews with Meyer, so I have no idea what she intended the books to be.

That’s interesting, that there are fewer words on the page. A friend loaned me the hardcovers. I gave them back, but now I remember the books being fat but with smaller than normal pages. What would be the point of publishing an odd-size book? Bigger = better, in readers’ minds?

In addition to everything else that’s been mentioned, I find Edward to be extremely paternalistic toward Bella. HE makes all the decisions. They can’t go to college together unless they get married. They can’t get married until/unless she’s a vampire. Everything that happens is his decision no matter how she feels about it.

I think this might be taking it too far, but I saw one review that was talking about signs of an abuser, and mentioned the fact that Edward says they’d have to move away from Forks to go to college (not aging starts to look suspicious), thus isolating his victim.

Conveniently, all her feelings are love.