The Twilight Saga

Discussion: KST11/03/09 by Doc B
Bella Swan: An "Uncle Tom*" sell out of feminism! Or: Is Bella Swan A Feminist Heroine?

Relevance: Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) Was one of the "mothers" of modern feminism. She was a French writer, philosopher, and feminist. In 1949 she wrote her famous thesis " The Second Sex" One of the very cornerstones of modern feminism. It is a detailed analysis of women's oppression by society in general, and by men in particular. De Beauvoir remains an idol to contemporary feminists.

One of the many passages in her very famous thesis "The Second Sex" which she was aiming directly at the type of a women who would identify herself with the Bella Swan IS:

(Virtually all) Girls (The Bella Swans of society) become convinced that there is no other way out for them, other than too loose themselves, body and soul, in "HIM!" (Edward) Who is represented to her as the absolute, the essential!

But SHE (Bella) is choosing to desire her ENSLAVEMENT so ardently that her (SLAVERY) appears to her, as the very expression of her liberty!

(Bella) may try to rise above her situation, as a NON ESSENTIAL OBJECT by radically assuming it! (But in her subjugation to Edward, she becomes the very NON ESSENTIAL OBJECT she despised)

Because of her dream of ANNIHILATION*, when a woman (Bella) gives herself to (Edward) she hopes he will give her possession of herself and the universe he represents.

Note: (enclosed names or phrases) and the capitalization's of specific words were added by "The Reading Bear" and not by De Beauvoir.

* De Beauvoir's belief that ALL women have a natural desire for "ANNIHILATION" is confusing even to "The Reading Bear." But the Bear, does remember that De Beauvoir carried on a lifelong polyamorous relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. (Pictured together above) And that could explain where the love of death concept originated.

The photo of the bust above, is of a women who changed the world. Ms. Harriet Beecher, 4scngh.
** "Uncle Tom" refers to one of the most influential novels of all time "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Written by the American heroine Harriet Beecher. Ms. Beecher lived for a while in a "slave state." The publication of her novel caused an absolute sensation, because it allowed Northern men and women with good hearts, to understand what it really must feel like to be a slave. And it was read by virtually every literate Northerner.
Professor Buttons said to tell you that: "After people read, that the slave master had ordered a heartbroken Tom, to tie a rock around his beloved dog's neck and throw him into the pond, to save a couple of pennies. There was no stopping the American civil war"

When Abraham Lincoln was introduced to Miss Beecher, he said: It is my honor to meet the "little lady" who started the GREAT BIG war! An "Uncle Tom" really doesn't adequately describe De Beauvoir concept of non feminists women, since she feel that they are even weaker than Uncle Toms, since (in her opinion) they literaly run towards their "LIFE TIME ENSLAVEMENT." During her day, 1949, about 95% of all children were born in wed lock. And divorce was a very, very rare occurance. In America today more than 40% of all children are born out of wedlock. If she were still alive, as a philosopher, she could fairly say, "My philosophy has almost won !"
As always we sincerely look forward to learning your opinion, to help us both better understand, and to enjoy more fully the "Twilight Saga."

Most sincerely,
Doc B

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Replies to This Discussion

if we are to base it on De Beauvoir's concept, well, Bella is a feminist but in a way that was endearing and lovable...she just followed what her heart dictated and she was happy with it, even so sad when Edward was lost in her life, she also felt lost...she felt it was not enslavement what she was doing, that it was her free will. in being her feminist in that way, she unconsciously attracted not only human male species but also the non-human male species (vampires in this case), but boy, was she a very liberated feminist....doing what she felt was right.
I am late for a discussion on medical ethics. But shall look forward to the pleasure of reviewing your post in Am, Just had time to jot a couple of thoughts on the topic.
Primary Response:
Had Bella Swan been a living woman she would have been a feminist heroine. ( (

Secondary responses:

1. De Beauvoir and the thousands of women who have been her supporters. ARE NOT NOW, AND NEVER HAVE BEEN FEMINISTS. They are, and always have been nihilists.* And as such, by their own definition, can only be Anti-feminists.

2. De Beauvoir's claim that a woman's acceptance of the title of wife or mother, is the acceptance of a form of "slavery" is correct. But what she intellectually intentionally avoids mentioning, is that for men the acceptance of the title of husband or father is every bit as much a form of "slavery."

3. What her personal "angst" made it imposable for her to comprehend was that: Trading a life of selfishness, nihilism, and being self centered, for a life of service to others is indeed the purist form of emotional liberation.

4. The acceptance by women of the role of being a mother or a wife, is the very opposite of accepting being (in De Beauvoir words: non essential objects) We know that for 44,000 years man has both respected and revered the images and the titles of both mother and wife. The very first piece of human art ever found (The Venus of Wilendorf 44,000 BC) was an idol, of a mother goddess.

5.The Anti-feminist movement of De Beauvoir has not only, not advanced women's interests but has impeded them.

6. For four million years female humans and their fore bearers, were unable to control their states of periodic pregnancies. (other than by abstinence). In 1965 with the introduction of oral contraceptives, a four million year old characteristic of women was totally overthrown.

Only an intellectual idiot could not anticipate the consequences it would have on society. De Beauvoir and her followers had virtually no impact, what so ever on the consequences. But millions and millions of gifted women on their own did. The "anti-feminists" only role was in trying tom accept the credit for the positive changes.

7. Since "modern feminism" (which is really disguised anti feminism) is both anti-humanist and is in direct opposition with human nature, is doomed to failure. Which is fortunate because if it wasn't, it would mean the end of the human species. (Which like Adolf Hitler, was De Beauvoir's professed dream, "a woman's natural desire is for annihilation")

Relevance: De Beauvoir's and her followers, opinion that all women are driven by a desire for annihilation (or death) comes not from logic (because it is illogical) but from their own psychopathology. And is no different from the nihilistic teachings of thousands of others nihilists through out history who have tried to projected the misery of their own psyches on to all of the members of their societies.
Nihilism (from the Latin root: nihil, nothing) is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more aspects of life. In this case the acceptance of the natural desire by women to be wives and mothers. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. It is virtually imposable to accept motherhood and feel that life is meaningless. Consequently De Beauvoir has to despise the concept that motherhood can be both a joyous and fulfilling activity. Just as she has to reject the concept that women and men can "give them self's" to each other out of an abstract concept (love). But Bella Swan is love epitomized. And as such De Beauvoir despised every thing she represented. Just as she would have considered Mother Teresa's life as a life wasted. While mentally healthy individuals celebrate Teresa's life.

In 1949 women made up only 3% of college students. Today they make up 54%

And women now make up a MAJORITY of America's work force. And a significant percentage of all the leadership positions in our society. The anti feminists (who call themselves feminists) had nothing to do with that. If anything their general contempt for society in general, has done nothing but slow down the natural progression of women's advancement. I defy you to demonstrate any other radical cultural change made by any other social group, over a 50 period of time, in human history.

The only feelings we can have for the "old" anti-feminists (who called themselves contemporary feminists ) is pity. Because the gifted loving Bella's of this world are far, far to powerful for them to compete with. And the new generation of Bellas shall "throw them on to the dung heap of history" where they have always belonged.

Most sincerely and respectfully,

Doc B
Dear Kk,

I will try to. All men and women of good heart, feel that everyone no matter what their sex, race, or religious beliefs are should be treated fairly and equally.
But just as there are two attitudes about the best way to reach equality among the races, there are two different schools (attitudes) about the best way to reach equality between the sexes.

One school (we’ will call it the Martin Luther King school) feels that people should insist on equality but at the same time they should love and forgive every one around them.

The other school or attitude (we’ll call it the Jeremiah Wright School) feel that not only should women and people of color, have equality, that they should have that and more. And that they should “harden their hearts” and pray that God will damn people that disagree with them to hell. Where they will burn for eternity.

Bella’s story is a study of love. What I was pointing out was that just because Bella loved those around her doesn’t make her less of a heroic figure. It just shows that she believes more like Reverend King than she did like Reverand Wright or Simone de Beauvoir ..


Definition of Feminism
1.Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes

Feminism, where to start. I can see how women want to be treated fairly, as in the past society has over seen women an they were seen as "stay at home and look after the home". Women should be paid equally as men too as often doing the same job has lead to a women being paid less, i understand this totally we are all human we should be treat equally, when it comes to our sex. BUT, essentially it's about women making their OWN choices. not being told what to do and do as they are told. If they choose to stay at home it's their choice, if they choose to work again, their choice, if they choose to give themselves to a man completely that again is their choice. So, as that is what chose to do then i guess it makes her a feminist, but in a way that is different to the idea of a feminist. No one told Bella love Edward, to dedicate her life to him or even "give it up" as Jacob would see it, she made her own choice to give herself completely.

People talk about Bella all the time, she is a bad role model, she lets Edward boss her around, he mentally abuses her. Really? Stephanie i don't think for a second wrote Bella supposing her to be a role model for people, i would think most people would choose i real person as their role model i know i would. She does not let Edward boss her around, she stands on her own 2 feet and if she had done as she was told by him, there would be no Twilight, because she would of stayed away from him as he told her too, she would have stayed human if they hadn't made there agreement on her terms remember all he asked was for her to marry him, even when he said no for her seeing Jacob, she still choose to go and see him and in the end he again agreed to her terms and she saw Jacob, how is that controlling or bossing her around.. as for mental abuse well how ridiculous, in which part was that... I don't see her relationship with Edward Enslavement i see it as choice

Bella always tried to make herself an equal in all that happened throughout the books, the only thing that went against her is that she was human and not immortal. She stood at the end of the books side by side with her husband, sure this must make her equal right?

Definition of A Heroine

1. a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. the principal female character in a story, play, film, etc.

Even though i do believe that essentially that Stephanie may not have written Bella as a Heroine, if you just read the definition i would pretty much say that she falls in that category, don't you think? She shows courage, when she goes to face James for her family and loved ones, showing herself as brave. This girl would give her life to save the ones she loes isn't that enough to say yes she is a heroine, she has all these qualities that are described, i think that the most obvious example of this is going to Italy, knowing from wht Alice tells her that it could go wrong, but she goes there not just for herself but for Edward, Alice and the whole of the Cullen family and when they come home, his family, Her family sorry thank her for being brave enough to bring him home and face death itself for that.

And the other part of the definition stands for itself, she is the lead character of the book

Gem xx
Dear Gema,
Wow I ask for the definition of feminism and of a heroine and you answer in spades. What a wonderful answer.

Like you I feel that Bella is a heroic character. As Plato and Kant would point out not only does she put the benefits of others before her own. She even accepts the provability of her own death to protect others. In my book that makes you pretty heroic no matter what your sex is.
Thank you so much for your superb answer. And for helping us to better understand this aspect of the Saga.



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