Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is Bella Swan good for young girls?

***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***
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After reading the Twilight books (twice) and re-watching Twilight and New Moon last night I can't help but wonder what type of girls look up to Bella Swan, the series' main character and narrator. She's obsessive and codependent upon Edward AND Jacob, after Edward leaves. She has no real personality traits (clumsy isn't a personality trait) and she isn't even that pretty (per the books, not Kristen Stewart) and yet she has two guys (plus Mike Newton) fall head over heals for her. Will girls get the message that they don't need try to fall in love? (I believe that cute and charming are a must to attract any decent guy.)

And then, after careful consideration ***Spoiler Alert*** she does agree to marry Edward, when she's 18. I'm not saying that you can't find "the one" in high school, but more often than not to marriages end in divorce, or become loveless marriages. I'm worried that a whole generation of young readers will think they have to get married right out of high school. I think that love is often left out of life lessons for young girls. You can fall in love with more than one person in your life. Maybe parents don't want to bring this up because they don't want to think of their little girls having sex with more than one partner (or any partner, for that matter, they want grandchildren via immaculate conception), or maybe they feel that love by example is enough, but it's not. Every love is different.

**Spoiler Alert*** And then, to top it all off, Bella becomes a teen mom. Not a single or unmarried mom, but a teen mom just the same. Does no one see the danger in this? It's one thing to get married and have a honey-moon baby when you're in your late 20s or early 30s, but in your teens it could possibly present all sorts of problems later in life.

I think this is where the author's world and Bella's world get mixed up. Stephanie Meyer grew up Mormon, which is a faith dominated by large families, and in that culture it's not uncommon for couples to marry young and start families early. Meyer herself was married and pregnant before she finished college, and has often said she loves being a mom, and looked forward to that as a career. Which was her choice, and she finished college before she completely settled down.

Bella, on the other hand, grew up with parents separated by divorce because they rushed into marriage at an early age. Which is a major struggle and why Bella doesn't want to marry Edward. But she gives in and the topic of safe sex is never mentioned. Granted, who would think you could get knocked up by a vampire anyway, but still, condoms or the pill or something should have been mentioned, at least as an after thought, at some point in Breaking Dawn.

I guess my biggest fear is that girls who read Twilight and love Bella will think they don't need to develop into an independent person.

I think older readers, such as myself, strongly dislike or hate Bella. I don't like her because she gets everything she ever wants and more. And no one good dies. In Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, everyone close to Sookie dies. She has to deal with loss in a real way, and it's related to her relationship with a vampire, to pull the similarities.

Bella Swan: fun to read about, bad to be like.

1 comment:

  1. Not to be a creeper or anything...buutttt its me again! The commenter from your "Why are all the good ones single?" blog...stopping in to say that...Heck Yeah! I love the Sookie Stackhouse novels! Welp...

    - Random Passerby