Twilight’s New Feminism?

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 23 2011 @ 8:28am


Sarah Blackwood heralds it:

Bella waits, she wallows, she thinks, and feels, and worries, and wonders. She does not actualize in the sense we have come to expect from our heroines, an expectation that, I might point out, is quite often based on a masculinist understanding of what being effective in the world looks like. Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the popular The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series, is emotionally stunted but, damn it, she actualizes herself! She punishes the people who hurt her, she sleeps with whomever she wishes, she zips around on a motorcycle, and she’s a master computer hacker. In other words, our actualized female heroine might as well be a tiny man.

Twilight screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg confirms Bella's understated strength. Alyssa Rosenberg thinks the film still backs away from a more important message:

[Bella] survives her horrific birth and is transformed into a being more beautiful than she ever was as a human. It’s an inverse of Rosemary’s Baby, promising that no matter what you endure, everything will be fine, no need to worry about your health, or any anxieties you might have about motherhood. I still think that a real aversion to having children, or even an antipathy to them in general, is one of the few views that remains fairly taboo in popular culture, where motherhood rules over almost any other alternate priority.

(Image via Tumblr user King Of My World. Another less-than-empowering portrayal of Bella here.)