Erin Meanley, one of Glamour's female dating bloggers, wrote an article Is Twilight Bad For Your Love Life?
. Tina Scott red the article and felt that it was unfair. I read the article and thought that it was the same anti-fan drivel that I have seen posted and refuted over and over again in the forum. I took the opportunity of that discussion to refute Ms. Meanley's article and here is a digest of that refutation.
Bella has no outside hobbies.
It has already been established that Bella reads for pleasure and that should be considered an outside hobby. As far as outside interests breathing life into a relationship, we see that in later novels as Bella and Edward discuss the books that they have read, but we do not see much of that in Twilight
She says, "Bella makes a few friends, but she's not interested in them." It isn't immediately obvious, but really the only human friends that she makes in Twilight
worth being interested in are Jacob and Angela. Mike is too interested in Bella romantically to be a good friend, and every time she starts to really like him, he tries to be her boy friend and pushes her away. Jessica is way too self centered to be a good friend. Angela and Bella are too shy to hit it off immediately, but they will in time.
While making her fourth point she states, "Okay, I guess cooking is technically a hobby. But she doesn't do it out of joy, really. It's more out of a sense of obligation." Bella does not cook out a sense of obligation. She does it in self defense and because that is her way of showing Charlie that she loves him. (I have taken the time to analyze the love languages of many of the characters in the Twilight Saga. Bella's love languages are physical touch and acts of service. There is considerable tension in saga because certain characters have conflicting love languages. In Twilight
Charlie is not comfortable touching Bella. Notice the awkward hug that he gives her when she gets off of the plane. Notice how freely Rene and Bella hug each other.) Because she can't express her love through physical touch Bella needs to find another way to tell Charlie that she loves him. She finds this through acts of service, and the act of service which she chooses communicates her love is running his home for him. (As evidence that acts of service is one of Bella's love languages, I point you to scene where she noticed the chains on her tires. She was gushing because Charlie had gotten up who know how early that morning and put them on for her. She felt truly loved at that moment which is one of reasons that she didn't see Tyler until it was too late.) Notice Charlie never once asks her to take of these things for him. On the contrary, he is constantly offering to order pizza, go out to eat, or wash the dishes. It was Bella herself that asked to put in charge of these chores. Charlie gave her a budget and she took it from there. I don't know where Erin got the idea that Bella doesn't enjoy taking care of Charlie. It is clear that she enjoys it very much. She likes being the care giver. Because she truly enjoys filling this role, this is another hobby of Bella's.
Could it be that Erin discounts these hobbies because cooking and reading romance novels are stereotypical female hobbies and not good feminist hobbies? She should read New Moon
. She might approve of motor cycle riding and cliff diving as appropriate feminist hobbies.
The guys are totally unrealistic
Erin fails to understand that Twilight
is written from the point of view of a seventeen year old girl experiencing her first love. Looking at Edward as forty year old man, I clearly see Edward's faults even through Bella's rose colored glasses. However, it would be totally unrealistic for a seventeen year old to be that analytical. Even for a teenager in full swoon, Bella is fairly objective about Edward. There are things that Edward does that she clearly doesn't like and times when she clearly doesn't like Edward. Considering that this story is told from Bella's point of view, the fact that we can see any of Edward's flaws speaks a great deal to Bella's objectiveness. Remember when reading a novel written in the first person, we do not see the world as it is; rather, we see it as the narrator perceives it.
Erin scoffs at Mike Newton bringing Bella and the others sandwiches and soda at the beach. I was a teenage boy once, (even though it was a long time ago) and I can attest that teen age boys can be very attentive while trying to impress teenage girls they find attractive. This was Mike's party. He put it together and he organized it. It make perfect sense that he would take care of the picnic lunch. Especially since he is trying to make time with Bella.
Edward is totally unrealistic. He is a vampire for crying out loud. He isn't suppose to realistic. The other guys seem pretty believable to me.
Bella is brainwashed
Brainwashed is probably the wrong word because it implies that Bella's brain is the object being acted upon by a third party. Edward clearly is not brainwashing Bella. A very strong part of him wishes that she would realize how dangerous he is and run far far away from him. He keeps dropping hints that he is dangerous and that she is not safe with him. Again this is very interesting because the only source of doubt as to Edward's safety is Edward himself. The message must have been sinking, or we would never have seen it through Bella's eyes.
It would be more correct to say that Bella has fallen head over heels into forbidden love. She did this all on her own without any help from Edward. Edward was never actively trying to woo her; in fact, he was actively trying to ignore her. Tragically forbidden love is the theme of Twilight
just like it is the theme of Romeo and Juliet
. I have never heard of Juliet being brainwashed; even though, Romeo did woo her.
Erin makes several comments about Bella's lack of coordination. She makes it sound like Edward is the one making fun of her for her clumsiness. In reality, it takes Edward quite a while to notice how clumsy she is, and it is Bella who makes the harshest comments about herself without any prompting from Edward. It is Bella who says that she is so clumsy that she is almost disabled. It is Bella who says that she will do the laundry which should be fraught with danger. We do not see Edward knocking Bella's ego down; in fact, we repeatedly see Edward lifting Bella's ego up. Edward complements Bella on her intelligence, intuition, and skills at observation. Edward tells Bella several time that she doesn't see herself as she really is. He tells her that she is beautiful and valuable. Early on he did make some disparaging comments, but those were mostly to protect his secret. Early in their relationship he was trying to keep it light by teasing her, but that was all in good fun. It was never meant to degrade her or make her feel inferior. In many ways Edward is convinced that Bella is his superior.
Perhaps Erin would like a heroin more of a cross between Buffy Summers and Anita Blake instead Bella who is sort of a cross between Daphene Blake and Velma Dinkley. Let's face it Buffy Summers and Anita Blake aren't real women. Buffy is a part demon Vampire Slayer and Anita is Necromancer with Lycanothopic blood and vampire powers. Daphene Blake and Velma Dinkley could easily be girls we met in high school and Bella being a cross between them is very believable as a real girl.
Bella is a domestic diva.
Yes, Bella has committed the ultimate feminist crime. She has been caught performing stereotypical women's roles like cooking and cleaning and God forbid enjoying it.
I actually believe that her ability to run Charlie's house, which is really what she is doing, demonstrates great deal of maturity. I have addressed this at length in a blog entry entitled Bella's Preparation for Marriage and Children