In the Twilight of Patriarchal Culture: The Struggle for Female Identity in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga
The book investigates Meyer s popular Twilight saga from a feminist point of view, focusing on the development of Bella s character and her quest for identity in a rigidly patriarchal world. Bella s life is entirely determined by the two central male characters who form a polarized axis which slowly tears her apart. Bella s low self-esteem and her strong attachment to the over-idealized Edward Cullen are read as symptoms of her placelessness in a world that does not grant her space to develop as an autonomous subject. Bella s wish to become a vampire can be equalled with a woman s desire to gain access to a higher social realm via her husband and thereby escape her marginalisation in patriarchal culture. In order to live eternally in the idealized, capitalist, patriarchal and overly religious world that Edward represents, Bella has to make a series of sacrifices. Leaving her mother behind, she moves into a male dominated world which is divided into morally idealized vampires and racially devalued werewolves. She is forced to give up her friendship with Jacob Black, who represents her autonomous self, in order to find her patriarchal pre-defined destiny as mother and wife. Similar patterns of stereotypical representations of femininity can be found in various characters of the saga. A more controversial note is brought in by Bella s half-vampire child who can be seen as a destabilizing factor of the saga s rigid dichotomy. Taking all this into consideration, we have to ask whether it is desirable that millions of young women worldwide admire Bella and set her up as their role model.