I was reading a couple of articles about the Twilight series at Decent Films ("Twilight Appeal: The cult of Edward Cullen and vampire love in Stephenie Meyer's novels and the new film" by Stephen D. Greydanus) and at National Review Online ("In Love with Death" by Gina R. Dalfonzo) and wound up at Meyer's official website, where I read this absolutely enchanting message by Steph herself:
"There are those who think my stories are misogynistic—the damsel in distress must be rescued by strong hero. I emphatically reject the....accusation. I am all about girl power—look at Alice and Jane if you doubt that. I am not anti-female, I am anti-human."
Stephenie, I kind of hate it that you've put me in the position of having to EXPLAIN YOUR OWN NOVELS TO YOU, but I'm going to point out a couple of things about Alice and Jane.
1) Alice is Edward's sister and she colludes with him on keeping Bella under house arrest in the Cullen home. She enables Edward in his role of the insanely jealous boyfriend/stalker/abuser. If Alice was a strong female character, she would have told her brother to BACK OFF and, I don't know, maybe driven Bella to a women's shelter?
She's also a pushy twit who has absolutely no respect for Bella as her friend: When Bella says she doesn't want a big graduation party, Alice throws one for her anyway. When Bella wants a simple wedding, Alice goes all-out. Alice knows that Bella is uncomfortable with the idea of wearing sexy lingerie on her honeymoon (Bella's more of a t-shirt sleeper) so what does Alice do? She fills Bella's suitcase and closet at the vacation home with sexy lingerie. In short, Alice is constantly trying to make Bella over into someone different. This was Alice's underlying message: If you would just submit to me, you could be as cool and pretty as I am, Bella. You are so lucky to have me to guide you out of your geeky, unattractive ways. Because I am sooo adorable and cute and you are so....not. But your blood does smell really good, so I can see why my brother likes you.
2) Jane is a psychotic vampire, a young girl, who has an unusual supernatural power: She can torture people using the power of her mind. And so she does, and delights in it, relishing the pain and terror of her victims. Now there's some real strength of character. I know when I look for role models for my teenage daughters, I bypass people like St. Catherine of Siena or Helen Keller or Condoleezza Rice or Venus and Serena Williams or even -- God help me -- Hillary frikkin' Clinton and GO STRAIGHT TO THE CRAZED SADISTS.
If this is your idea of strong female characters, Stephenie, then you're even weirder than I thought you were. You live in a strange, strange world, lady.
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