books, characters, feminism, Harry Potter, j.k. rowling, literary criticism, literature, protagonists, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, women in fiction
(A note about spoilers: I will keep Harry Potter spoilers to a minimum, only letting go the kind of information that you could pick up from your standard movie trailer and have probably picked up on already, unless you live in a world without other people. Twilight spoilers, on the other hand, abound, because I can’t “spoil” Twilight any more than I can “spoil” a compost heap.)
The main protagonist of Harry Potter is a boy, while the protagonist of Twilight is a girl, so you’d think that Twilight would be more feminist in its message.
But anyone who has read that series would laugh hysterically at the suggestion that it was anything other than unempowering anti-feminist sludge. Well, anyone except the author.
Stephanie Meyer doesn’t agree with the rest of the Western World that Twilight is sexist codswallop.
Sure, Bella is pretty weak and useless. And sure, Edward tends to make all of the decisions. And yeah, Edward frequently ignores Bella’s preferences (drags her to the car/prom/house/birthday party/altar against her will, hides information that he doesn’t think she should hear, steals the engine out of her car to keep her “safe” from his rival…) in the name of knowing what is best for her.
Well, and ok, she is constantly needing her butt saved by someone, and she does do all the cooking and shopping around her house (because her father, after being a bachelor for 16 years, can’t even cook pasta, apparently). And she does attach all of her life’s value to the presence of a man.
But, Meyer doesn’t understand why we make such a big deal of all that.
Just because she doesn’t do kung fu and she cooks for her father doesn’t make her worthy of that criticism.
Meyer has also pointed out that there are other strong female characters in Twilight other than, er, Bella.
I am all about girl power—look at Alice and Jane if you doubt that.
Okay, let’s run through your other female characters, shall we? We’ll start with Alice and Jane.