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Articles > Rant May, 16, 2013

Edward Cullen is a possessive, woman beating stalker

Hannah Crouch
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A story about a human and a vampire falling in love was always going to be a hit story. Having an epic romance that is forbidden has always been a winning formula when it comes to fiction, Shakespeare had Romeo and Juliet whilst Emily Bronte had Wuthering Heights.

Photo by saffirahweb

But both Shakespeare and Bronte were able to create characters who readers become invested in. Edward Cullen and Bella Swan on the other hand, are one dimensional characters who are painfully dull and their epic romance promotes domestic abuse and stalking. The Twilight saga provides no real character development or even a proper story; yes a teenage girl does fall in love with a sparkly old vampire, but aside from a small scare from the worst vampire mafia ever created as well as an awful excuse for a love triangle, nothing else actually happens. So what is it about the Stephanie Meyer’s novels that make them unsuitable for young adults?

“There was a faint shadow across one of my cheekbones, and my lips were a little swollen, but other than that, my face was fine. The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide — my arms and my shoulders. They weren’t so bad. My skin marked up easily. By the time a bruise showed I’d usually forgotten how I’d come by it. Of course, these were just developing. I’d look even worse tomorrow. That would not make things any easier.” (Twilight: Breaking Dawn pg. 95-96)

Reading this quote on it’s own, not knowing it’s context, you would think it is an extract from an account of domestic abuse, but it is not, instead it is a direct quote from the last book in the Twilight series. Bella’s bruises are shown to be marks of Edward’s ‘undying’ love for her, but if you take a step back from this the bottom line is that Edward has physically harmed Bella during sex. You cannot look through rose-tinted glasses here, Meyer is actively encouraging young girls to feel like they can accept men hurting them physically, because deep down they do love you really. What is even worse is that Bella then goes on to try and make Edward feel better about him hurting her, showing even further how placid women should be when faced with physical abuse.

Stalking is also a major feature of Meyer’s Twilight series, as Edward frequently watches Bella at night and follows her to Jacksonville where he conveniently manages to turn up at the right time and ward off some dodgy looking men who are leering at Bella, by growling at them. Now excuse me for not going weak at the knees at the thought of a creep, who you thought hated the very thought of you, randomly follows you to a completely different town and saves you from being attacked. Yes it is the standard format of the hero saving the heroine, but surely Bella could have at least done something! Edward watching Bella sleep, even when they aren’t even a couple, is also incredibly creepy and weird, emphasising Edward’s domineering presence over Bella.

Exploring this notion further, Edward has firm control over their relationship, which seems to be an absolute turn on for women (see Fifty Shades of Grey, which originally was a fanfiction of Twilight and is another horrendous piece of literature that encourages women to sign contracts which mean they have to keep themselves lean and fit in order to keep their man). A women’s desire for a strong man who seizes her in a moment of passion has dated back for years, with numerous male leads being a bit rough around the edges, but never do these men watch their every move or treat them like a museum artifact that cannot be touch as it will break.

Yet what is even more infuriating is that Meyer herself claims to be a feminist. In an article posted on The Guardian website, Meyer claims, ‘I love women, I have a lot of girlfriends, I admire them, they make so much more sense to me than men, and I feel like the world is a better place when women are in charge. So that kind of by default makes me a feminist. I love working in a female world.” Meyer genuinely believes that because she loves women and admires them, she automatically is a feminist. Nowhere in the article does she mention about equal rights for women or anything else that the principles of feminism are based on. Instead focus is placed on the fact that she got married at 21 and then had children. Not your typical feminist discussion points.

Overall, though many argue that the Twilight series is just teenage fiction and shouldn’t be taken so seriously, I strongly believe that Edward and Bella’s romance should be taken with serious consideration. Unknowingly young adults, girls especially, are believing that abuse in relationships is completely normal and should be accepted.

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  1. Aly

    I pove how you totally miss the point where he told her first that they shouldnt have sex while she was human because he could hurt her. She seduced him. They made love. You also fail to mention that he was disgusted with himself and refused to be with her in that way until she was changed. Then she seduced him again!

  2. Diana Black

    “Yet what is even more infuriating is that Meyer herself claims to be a feminist … Instead focus is placed on the fact that she got married at 21 and then had children. Not your typical feminist discussion points.”

    Um, what? Feminism is not about hating men or rejecting societal norms. It is about possessing the same level of autonomy as a man and having the freedom to live your life as you choose. She chose to get married young and have children and seems to really enjoy it. End.

    Rip the book apart – I’m not a fan either – but don’t bring her personal life into it. Shit’s irrelevant. No matter what women do, it always has to come back to if they’re married, how they feel about having kids, how they cut their hair. Whether it’s an actress promoting a new movie or a foreign ambassador speaking about social issues, people can’t just focus on their work.

    Would you expect to see a shallow personal comment like yours in an article about Stephen King? No. You know why? Because the media reserves that type of invasive, judgmental bullshit for women.
    Think about it sometime. You are part of the problem.

  3. Kayleigh Orchard

    This is hilarious

  4. andrew

    ”The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide — my arms and my shoulders. They weren’t so bad. My skin marked up easily. By the time a bruise showed I’d usually forgotten how I’d come by it.”

    What I had understood from the fragment is that they had sex and she bruised easily,it wasn’t a big deal, and that she was worrying about how to hide them from persons outside their relation. Nowhere in this fragment or in your comment on it does it come over that she disliked it, or felt bad and the only problems seem to be: how to hide it and how to calm her passive, stalker, crazy friend.

    I always felt that sexuality and aggressiveness do come from the same place in the brain and that all people have urges of aggressiveness at least sometimes.
    Traditionally society has tried to repress both these urges and here we are whole generations of miserable fucks.
    Maybe if we would find extra ways to express our urges?
    I have always enjoy a little bit of violence during sex and although i have dated women who didn’t i dated quite a few that did and the sex was amazing. Not just because of the fact that we were on the same wavelength but also because i did not have to repress my thoughts during sex so i could be there 100%. both body and mind

    I also think that If people would explore there violent instincts in consensual sex it would help them control them in other situations. It works for me.
    Indeed this is a very subtle and complex discussion to have and it would be a difficult conversation to have with somebody who is 14 or 15 and has limited or no sexual/emotional experience. But as the sales of the Twilight series and ”50 shades of..” show teenagers do not necessarily have the idea that sexual violence is bad.
    So this begs the question: why force preconceived patterns of behavior on them?
    If anything i believe these books and ”50 shadesof..” give teenagers at least a different perspective to what is socially encouraged as acceptable sexual behavior.

    • Meow

      If you bruise that easily, I think you should A: F*CKING CONSULT SOMEONE or B: Don’t have sex everyday, not that she does, but her body probably will need a day or 2 to recover.

  5. Name

    I get what you are saying about the stalking but I don’t follow on the abuse. Edward never meant to hurt Bella, he was always so upset with himself when he ever hurt her and that barely ever happened.

  6. you don't know me

    I think whatever you said is bullshit. it has nothing to do with abuse and for god’s sake! its a fiction where there is a vampire who’ might I add, possesses inhuman strength so yeah…..stuffs get a bit sketchy when you make love to a human. and I am sure people get hickeys and other such bruises which r definitely not abusive scars.

  7. Interesting article, and very well written!
    I agree mostly with what you’re saying, but I don’t necessarily think that audiences/readers are stupid enough to take Bell and Edwards relationship as being a signifier of *all* relationships…I think it’s more that his behaviour suits his particular character, and Bella’s character likes that…I don’t think it’s taken as being applicable to everyone. Yeah he is an abusive stalker, but he’s also one character in one series of books.
    The original Dracula shows a very unhealthy relationship, and was the original in a line of fantasy romance type novels. He was even more stalker-like and abusive, and a lot less ‘human’ than the vampires in Twilight.
    I do agree though that some more impressionable young girls might take it literally and find themselves desiring an abusive relationship such as Bella and Edward’s, but I don’t think the novels deserve quite so much scrutiny…they are simply stories, the behaviours suit the particular characters and they represent just one fictional couple.

  8. Completely agree! I only read the first book and found it really dull. I only read it because I wanted to know what all the hype was about. I guess her only redeeming quality was that Meyer promoted martial sex…but that’s a small thing when you think of the world we live in now. Totally agree with everything in your article.

    • Julline L

      Hahaha, it’s hilarious that changing two of the letters in “marital” can create the concept of “martial sex”. Although she probably promotes that, too…

  9. Julline L

    I agree with this article entirely. I think the media has a massive part to play in gender stereotyping and (as social learning theory states) can influence the relationships people have, too. I believe to tackle problems like gender stereotyping in the workplace and in relationships, the government should probably target books like these, adverts (particularly ones for fragrances) and music, etc. Of course, that’s a slippery slope where freedom of expression is concerned but something must be done to stop Rihanna teaching young girls that nakedness is the ultimate selling point.

  10. Martina Di Folco

    Beautiful article, thank you for writing it! Quite refreshing to see I wasn’t the only one to notice all if this.