The Bella Effect

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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby Chernaudi » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:59 pm

i'm a straight guy who's read Twilight and loved it, and I've seen all the movies, and loved them. As I've said, steriotypes are BS. And as ringswraith said, when you wanna spew crap about something, you aim for the largest fan base. Fortunatley, you girls are smart enough not to bite, and also to back up what you're saying with proof.

Not being sexist, but most fans are women, most of the people on this site are women, and most of the people who run the show here are women. And as a man, I have to accept that, not that I really care anyways (I'm pretty indiffrent to race, gender, religion, and so on--were all human, at least supposidly :) ). I think that's why a lot of people here identify with Kristen Stewart and Bella Swan, and know the diffrerences between the two and try not to blend the two women. It's all in remembering that one's real and the other's fictional, but the ordeals and trials of both are relevant to real life, as long as the rest of the story (the fantasy elements) aren't taken too seriously. That's what I like about Kristen talking about the novels and movies. She's very analylical (I find that many women are), and she knows that the story is what matters, and the rest is just icing on the cake.

This article is just one woman's veiw point, and I don't believe she knows how lucky she is to be able to do what Bella does in the books--make her own choices. Not only has it been relatively recent that women have been given many of the same rights that men have in most of the world that's based in a democratic or republican form of government (government of the people and of representation of the people), but modern people, until 9/11, never saw true evil. Most people alive today never had to deal with the Nazis, the Facist, and the Communist, at least the 1930's/World War II era forms of them.

They say that Ignroance is bliss. Well, ignorance also gave rise to Benito Mussolini and his Fascist party in Italy in the 1920s. Ignorance gave rise to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party in Germany in 1933(even more distrubing, Hitler was elected by the people of Germany after he BS'd them for his own means and sold them out), and also gave rise to the Communist in Russia, who gave us Joesph Stalin, who is probably the world's most proflic mass murderer (from 1933-45, Hitler killed off 12 million of his own people. Stalin, in that same period of time, was accused to killing 12-25 million of his own people, and 40-55+million from 1924 to his death in 1953).

I'm not trying to start a political debate here, but I feel that people who find Bella to be ecessively anti-feminist to be ignorant of the evidence to the contrary. She does what she does out of her own free will. If you're gonna criticize Bella for being anti-femminist, why not criticize Edward for being old-fashioned? Each character has their own flaws, and none are prefect, and I think that should be the moral of the story: we're not perfect, they're not perfect, but that's what makes the story so "perfect".
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby Jazz Girl » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:20 pm

The "Edward Effect" is a subject I need some time to approach appropriately, so I'll get back to that later. But, I wanted to add that, ironically, I found one of the most compelling arguments against the article, as well as against the Bella-as-a-poor-modern-role-model/Bella-is-anti-feminist argument in general, to be one of the comments that the Lex posted with the article. What about Edward's rights in the relationship? A relationship is a partnership. It is a balance of the wants and needs of BOTH partners. In some relationships, it is much harder to find balance than in others. Bella & Edward are a prime example.

By his nature, Edward is physically stronger than Bella, has greater life experience and greater resources. To say that the power scale tips in his favor is fairly logical. And yet, at every turn, he is sacrificing, compromising or just downright giving in to Bella's wants, to her needs. She pushes and demands, cajoles and pleads. And, I can honestly not think of a single situation where Edward doesn't not relent. He does so willingly and lovingly. But it doesn't change the fact that the argument that Bella is anti-feminist or a weak-willed woman completely walks over Edward's right (which should be equal to Bella's) to set some boundaries, his right to feel valued and safe, his right to make decisions about the future of their relationship.

By the assertions of the article, the only way Bella can be a worthwhile heroine in the story is to completely walk over the man she says she loves with no regard for his feelings or his opinions, no concern for his rights, and not bothering to ask his opinion or take the time to reach compromise with him. Well, gee. What would that be called if the roles were reversed and it was Edward treating Bella that way? Chauvinistic and sexist!! No. If you are going to look to a fictional young female to be a role model, I much prefer one who shows patience and understanding in working through challenges with her partner, one who demonstrates growth, and one who ultimately fights for what she believes is right and for what she wants.
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby Chernaudi » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:48 pm

As I asked, isn't feminism the quest to get the same rights as men and to be treated as an equal? I think that Bella and Edward's relationship is fairly equal, as Edward and Bella ultimately give each other what they want and respect each other's view points. Bella respects Edward's view on no sex before marrage, and Edward respects Bella's view that she is an equal in that relationship. Hence, when Edward makes love to Bella on Isle Esme and doesn't have Renesmee killed, he was respecting her views, too.

Besides, Edward is a bit self-destructive, and who saves his butt when he's in trouble(in Volterra in New Moon and in Eclipse--the film at least--when he's locked in a stalemate in a fight)? Bella! It's the "girl" who saves the day there. And who disudes the Volturi from attacking and following through with Caius' plans to eleminate the Cullens, and Aro's plans to enslave them? Bella! Again, the "girl" saves the day.

Right there, with B & E seeing each other as equals in their relationship (which shows that Edward can adapt to modern times, even if old habits die hard), and Bella saving Edward's butt three times and most of her family's in Breaking Dawn, how can one say that Bella's excessively anti-feminist? Ignorance is bliss, but it blinds one to the truth, and sometimes the truth is ugly, but it can also be beautiful, as in the Twilight novels. And that truth is that until you see your own potential, what are you really capable of?
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby corona » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:49 pm

“Bella’s passivity…”????

I can see where someone might make an argument about the choices that Bella makes, but Bella is too passive? Yeah, right, and Captain Ahab was a meek little mouse. As soon as I read something like this, my first thought it, “you didn’t read the books!”

And what does the professor think is better reading for young adults?

Another popular teen book series, the "Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins, straddles the line between dark and hopeful, Nikolajeva said. Its themes – a dystopian future where teens must battle to the death on reality TV – appeal to teenagers' dark side, yet its ultimately hopeful message is probably having a good influence on young people, she said.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby marielle » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:41 pm

Sorry to bump in without reading every post but I really wanted to let my opinion known...

I really think MSNBC is right about Twilight spreading a very conservative look on things, but what the .... is wrong with that...
I get it that feminists around the world get goosebumps about this but I'd rather my (future) daughter or even son read a book and pick up the conservative part of it than learning nothing from it, or even worse they read a book about hot and steamy sex between high school kids and wanting to re-act the scene (ending up an other number on the teen pregnancy statistic)...

I think Bella and Edward show good old fashion sense...I think I'm allowed to say this because I was the girl who had sex early (I was smart enough not to get pregnant) but when I found my mister right I regretted not to have waited for that prefect moment... and although we all wished for more steamy sexscenes and hot touches in the book, I love how SM showed through Bella and Edward that is it okay to wait for mister Right (or the person you want to spend the rest of your life with)...

Something else I want to point out is that Bella shows us an other very important lesson...and that is that your own happiness is the most important thing there is...
In Bella's case she is giving up her family (sacrificing her human nature, contact and human being) for her own true happiness...although I find it very drastic and I would advise not to go that far, it shows that sometimes scarifices have to be made to be happy...it could mean that you have to go through the pain of divorce or reaching out for help and stepping on that painful path when your husband is abusing you...

for kids and adults I think Bella's view of the world gives us plenty to learn from
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby GrayceM » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:41 pm

I think I'm going to have to agree with the majority on this. I'm always amazed at the amount of people I hear refer to Bella as a bad role model for teenage girls. I am equally amazed at the amount of comments on Edward being possessive, so Jazz, when you have that "Edward Effect" topic up and running, would you be so kind as to send me an alert message? ;)

I'm confused by the idea of because someone has conservative values they are not independent thinkers or can develop personally. And by the idea having these values indicate that a woman is not an independent creature. Why does one have anything to do with the other? Now, having "traditional" rather than "radical" values may mean you are more of an old fashioned type of person, but that does not make you a sheep either.
I was raised in a conservative home but my parents taught me to keep an open mind, to be fair in my assessments of situations and circumstances. You can never have too much information about something if it impacts your own life. There may always be a special situation that you don't know about that can alter your perception of the facts. Take for example Mike's statement to Bella about not liking her and Edward being a couple. Something like "...looks at you like you're something to eat." Considering the source and the object of the comment, what Bella knows about Edward it's a wonder she was able to keep a straight face. But Mike was being serious and he wouldn't have understood the humor in that statement.

It's my opinion that throughout the series, Bella is portrayed as a realistic, strong minded, independent person regardless of her age or sex and that is part of what makes a good role model. She makes good decisions based on her values and what is right for her own life.
She doesn't like to be the center of attention, but she knows that she will be so she just sort of trugdes through it. "I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me. I finally exhaled and stepped out of the truck." In life we are faced with the reality that there are things we do not like to do or want to do but have to do nevertheless and there's no other way to get through it except to accept that as fact and go on.
She chooses to move to a different town, in a completely different environment than she's used to, start a new life and separate from her mother who she is very close to. And she makes that choice without any outside pressure other than her knowledge that if she takes herself out of the picture she will no longer be holding her mother back. "It was to Forks that I now exiled myself -"
She takes responsibility for her own actions and what effect those actions may have on those around her. She knows that her life is going to be altered drastically so she may be a little reluctant, but she also knows that though the universe resolves around one fixed point, that point is not her. Bella realizes that what she chooses will benefit her mother more than it will have a negative effect on her own life.
She doesn't shy away from challenges in her life. "So I requested that I be assigned kitech detail for the duration of my stay." the key here is that Bella chose to have this role in the home rather than for both of them to suffer just to hold the more traditional roles. I've seen some adults who won't take on these responsibilities.

I can see how the "critics" think she is weak because of her inability to do anything except function after Edward leaves, but anyone who has felt the awful ache of loss knows that sometimes...that's the best you can hope for. Life goes on...but on occasion, you have to be an observer instead of a participant for a time. If you're really lucky, you've never had to experience this. But there are some of us who know how crippling grief can be.
Her resolution to that feeling of loss and her life being out of her control...adrenaline...learning to ride a motorcycle. Alright, doing dangerous and reckless things just to have a vision of her lost love, is perhaps not an intelligent decision but it is taking action. And not an action that most would expect from a 17 year old girl. It's not "traditional" and is a prime example of Bella deciding that this is something she could do to allow herself to have some sort of life.

Bella is constantly pointing out that she is used to taking care of herself and is not scared of what may happen to her. Even Edward comments in his version, "...she was just going to have to get used to being treated with more courtesy, and get used to it soon." Granted her mother does not set a shining example of motherhood, but there are teens out there who have similar situations and worse. How Bella deals with this part of her life is more than admirable. And those teens out there who have this same situation (and worse) can at least see that there are some who take their terrible situation where they have to grow up too quick and be the parent and make the best of it. It stinks and it's not fair, but it is life and there's only one alternative.

Being a little old fashioned myself, I think the traditional values and waiting until marriage to have sex is a good message, regardless of whether that is independent thinking or not. It shows that though we are all human and can have our weak moments, if it doesn't feel right, you shouldn't do it. It also shows that there's more to a relationship than sex and that those other issues should be resolved prior to being physically committed. Just my opinion, but it tends to complicate things that are difficult enough during your teenage years.
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby Esme echo » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:55 pm

This thread has a lot in common with the How Women Are Portrayed in the Media thread. As was pointed out in the media thread, I'm something of a cynic -- at least with respect to modern media messages.

In my opinion, Bella is alarming to "feminists" because she is a strong non-conformist. I believe the modern media is pushing for an amoral society, and stories such as the Twilight Saga, so hugely popular with young women, promote a conservative livestyle they would like to eradicate. Typically, when a worldly force wants to marginalize an opposing influence, they 1. Mock it, 2. Discredit it, and 3. Destroy it (or at least its influence).

I believe that in general, people who violently object to the Twilight Saga are pushing an agenda that is threatened by conservative values, so they do all they can to crush interest in the series and discourage new readership by portraying it as a bad thing.

I have had a few conversations with concerned parents about how their child perceives Bella and the effect the series was having on their child -- and I'm talking about parents with conservative values -- but I still believe that if a fictional book (no matter how addicting it is--and Twilight is addicting!) is having that big an effect on a child, something else is going on that needs to be attended to. I'm hoping some concerned parents are reading this and will share their perspective.
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby skatepixie » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:18 am

Since I don't identify as a "feminist," I wouldn't even have a problem with it if Bella was some kind of anti-feminist. I don't think she is anti-feminist, but even if she was, I wouldn't have an issue. If one side (the feminists) can have their fair share of the soapbox, why can't we?

The fact is, for Bella, almost everything in her life could happen later. She could go to college later, have a career later. The only thing with an expiration date was Renesmee's childhood. Parents of children who develop at a normal rate often have regret after the fact that "time flew by so fast" and their children were suddenly grown up. Well, with a child like Renesmee, that time passes with even more speed.

Also, before they convinced the Volturi that Renesmee was not an immortal child, Bella was fighting to save her daughter's life. Plenty of women have put their goals on hold in order to save the life of their child due to illness. In fact, I think there would have been a lot of backlash if Bella had either aborted Reneseme or let her die at the hands of the Volturi (especially with the last one -- I can't imagine any sane mother even considering doing anything BUT attempting everything in her power to save her daughter's life.)

“If you look very, very clearly at what kind of values the ‘Twilight’ books propagate, these are very conservative values that do not in any way endorse independent thinking or personal development or a woman’s position as an independent creature,” Nikolajeva said. “That’s quite depressing.”

That statement doesn't make any sense to me. I love the whole "you're only an independent thinker if you do what our movement says" line of thinking. It doesn't take any independent thinking at all to follow the movement everyone is following. That isn't to say that one can't arrive there through and honest assessment of said movement, though.

I know what it's like to marry on the young end of things (21) and have some people in my life fail to understand. My parents were fine with it, but I had a few friends who didn't get it at all, especially when I made the decision to withdraw from college (that's a long story in itself that isn't getting told here -- let's just say that it involved being forced to compromise my beliefs and being shown sexual content in a film in the classroom without any warning) and become a housewife. To me, there was nothing left that I felt that I needed to do with my life that I couldn't do married -- but there were a whole slew of things I couldn't/wouldn't do if I remained single. Yes, I'd love to be a published author, but I could do that married or single. Ditto traveling (and I was never the type for traveling with a bunch of girlfriends or for bar hopping). However, I wanted to start a family, and my religion and values mean that children and marriage go hand in hand. I was also head-over-heels for my now husband, but for these friends that didn't matter since you can be in love and live together -- which I also wouldn't do (not that my husband would, either).

I don't know, maybe I was born in the wrong century. Then I wouldn't have people thinking I belong in a philosophical freak-show. I think that's part of why I related to Edward so much -- to how he wanted to be back in those times when boys courted girls in the family home and life was more simple.

I read Twilight thinking "finally!" through the whole thing. There are so many "action girl" heroines these days. Lara Croft Tomb Raider and all that -- and I could never relate to that sort of character. So, for the hundreds of them, I was so thankful to have found one Bella Swan.
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby Esme echo » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:27 am

Very nice post, skatepixie! I agree with your perspective. :hello:

skatepixie wrote:The fact is, for Bella, almost everything in her life could happen later. She could go to college later, have a career later. The only thing with an expiration date was Renesmee's childhood. Parents of children who develop at a normal rate often have regret after the fact that "time flew by so fast" and their children were suddenly grown up. Well, with a child like Renesmee, that time passes with even more speed.

One nice thing about being a vampire parent -- even with a child who matures as fast as Renesmee, total recall would lessen a parent's feeling that they were losing something as the child changed and grew up! What I wouldn't give for total recall of the adorable moments from my own children's babyhood - youth!

I also agree with your comment regarding "you're only an independent thinker if you do what our movement says." No one is so intolerant of an opposing opinion as a social progressive -- nor so critical of those women who find joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in the traditional feminine roles of homemaking and child rearing.
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Re: The Bella Effect

Postby skatepixie » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:54 am

Esme echo wrote:Very nice post, skatepixie! I agree with your perspective. :hello:

skatepixie wrote:The fact is, for Bella, almost everything in her life could happen later. She could go to college later, have a career later. The only thing with an expiration date was Renesmee's childhood. Parents of children who develop at a normal rate often have regret after the fact that "time flew by so fast" and their children were suddenly grown up. Well, with a child like Renesmee, that time passes with even more speed.

One nice thing about being a vampire parent -- even with a child who matures as fast as Renesmee, total recall would lessen a parent's feeling that they were losing something as the child changed and grew up! What I wouldn't give for total recall of the adorable moments from my own children's babyhood - youth!

I also agree with your comment regarding "you're only an independent thinker if you do what our movement says." No one is so intolerant of an opposing opinion as a social progressive -- nor so critical of those women who find joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment in the traditional feminine roles of homemaking and child rearing.


Yes, the "total recall" would help a lot -- but you can only recall it if you are present when it happens. That was more my point. Missing a few months could be like missing a year in the development of a normal child. My father-in-law was away from his family for several months (working in Saudi Arabia) when my husband was a baby, and I know that it was something that was very, very hard on him. And he had a good reason for doing it (to save up money to move to America from the Philippines).

Bella doesn't have a good reason to leave her child -- they have money, and she can do whatever she wants later. The only time she has reason to spend time away from the baby is when she is training her talent to use it to save her daughter's life. When the book ends, not much time has passed since they have resolved things with the Volturi and saved their daughter's life.

And yes, I have found that the progressives feel very, very threatened by women like me. And the more educated we are, the more of a threat we seem to be. *evil grin*
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