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Why Bella Swan Is the Worst Role Model

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After I saw "Eclipse" over the weekend, it hit me: Bella Swan, the "Twilight" character Kristen Stewart plays, is perhaps the lamest girl in the world.


OK, I know "Twilight's" a fantasy -- and trust me, as the mom of a Twihard, I definitely get it. It's fun and romantic and what's not to like about two gorgeous (often shirtless) gents fighting over one girl?! Yes, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" was by far the best of the three movies. No, I have not read the books. But speaking solely as a moviegoer, I have to ask: What's the deal with Bella?

In this third "Twilight" installment, Bella is graduating from high school (did she ever go to class?!) and gearing up to make the most important decision of her life. No, she's not deciding what college to go to. No, she's not deciding what career to pursue. And no, she's not deciding what to pack for dorm life. Instead, she is deciding whether or not to become a vampire for eternity, so she can be with the only person (thing?) she adores: her beloved Edward.


Bella's monologue toward the end of the movie will help explain why she sucks:

"This wasn't a choice between you and Jacob -- it was a choice between who I should be and who I am. I've always felt out of step, like, literally stumbling through my life. I've never felt normal, because I'm not normal. I don't want to be. I've had to face death, and loss, and pain in your world, but I've also never felt stronger -- like, more real; more myself -- because it's my world, too. It's where I belong."

Hey Bella, if you don't feel "normal," why don't you try a sport? Or join a club? Or, I dunno, try making friends with people who don't sparkle in the daylight? How can you be in love with a male vampire you've only talked about two things with (i.e., your love for each other and the dangers you both face)? I would love to hear Bella and Edward talk about their favorite reality-TV show, or the band they like, or ... hell, even Monday Night Football.


Instead, Bella spends her time hanging out with creepy "people" wearing only dark and gloomy colors, and it really bothers me that she could care less about her father. She likes to test the line of whether or not Edward will suck her blood by making out with him and now, in "Eclipse," trying to make love, despite the risk of spawning a vampire baby.

Since Bella's a girl who has no ambitions and no interests, it's really sad that she's the heroine girls around the world are beyond jealous of. Sure, she is pretty, and her long, auburn hair is beautiful. But I don't like it that my daughter wants a boyfriend "like Bella's." I don't want my daughter to be anything like Bella.

next: Dear Alicia Keys: You're Pregnant -- Please Sit Down!
92 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rusti July 7, 2010, 2:50 PM

Read the books. You will get a better understanding. It’s a lot more in depth.

Jaclyn July 7, 2010, 2:59 PM

Bella’s fine. Girls aren’t doing any better these days. The average girl wasting her time on guys that couldn’t be 1/100 of Edward or even Jacob.

Jonathan July 7, 2010, 3:30 PM

Yes. Read the books. Sheesh!

May July 7, 2010, 3:55 PM

Bella is not real this just a faked story and you are lame and why don’t get a life and leave out of this people don’t like bella and kristen stewart she is just paid for money so what so why don’t you get a reality tv show of your own and why you don’t you know how to read books did your mommy ever taught you how to read baby books and I guess your Life as Hell to and so is everybody else and mine too and you are worthless and all the paparazzi are trash and if u don’t like Bella then why don’t you talk to stephenie meyer she will answer that for you.If you ever hear me again and I’m way off to a nother new world see you suckers!.

Des July 7, 2010, 4:20 PM

I agree. Reading the books will provide more information that will contradict your inferences. I’m not a fan of Bella either. She requires constant reassurance from the men in her life & she believes she is responsible for everyone’s misery. She is an unconcentional martyr & its quite annoying. Its easy to get wrapped up in the magic & romance of Twilight, but I hope that it’s emphasized to our children that this is a fantasy world & not real life. Bella isn’t the greatest model for our young girls. In the end, as parents, we need to explore with our girls what they find so appealing about Bella & engage them in some reality-based discussion.

Geesh! July 7, 2010, 4:53 PM

For crying out loud it’s not based on real life. It’s FICTIONAL!!! Twilight is just a great way to escape from the real world. I’m pretty sure your daughter is not as Lame as you are. I also agree that you should read the books because they are more in depth. You will be able to find out just how much Bella really loves and cares for her father!!

jayde July 7, 2010, 6:51 PM

Sounds to me like you’re jealous YOUR partner doesn’t sparkle.

a.l.r. July 7, 2010, 7:00 PM

i’ve read these books, and i’ve seen the movies… and although i enjoyed reading the series, i couldn’t agree more with this article. i’m old enough to understand that she’s a fictional character, but young girls who aspire to be like the popular figures they look up to (fictional AND real) may not see why bella shouldn’t be a role model. regardless of the fact that bella did care a great deal for her father, she was still so dependent and completely reliant on edward. no question her whole world revolved around him (and jacob, to an extent). for me, bella was the only part of the novels that i did not like. i definitely won’t be quick to offer the twilight series as reading material for my daughter, even if it is just supposed to be a fun read.

laura July 7, 2010, 7:16 PM

Thank you. I did read the first book and quit ten pages from the end because BELLA IS HORRIBLE. I can’t respect any full grown woman who is into these books. And while I’m all about kids reading, I do think that it is important to have a conversation with your daughters about why BELLA SUCKS. It teaches critical thinking/reading skills and social awareness.

TMSama July 7, 2010, 7:29 PM

I see the Twihards have found this post. What you say is truth: Bella falls head-over-heels for a pretty boy vampire and completely disregards all other aspects of her life afterward. That’s not only asinine, it’s reckless. I wouldn’t want my daughter running off to practically commit suicide to “be with” someone.

And in regards to all those “Just read the books! It’s more in-depth!” Lies. All of it. I’ve skimmed through the books, every other phrase is describing just how pretty Edward is, or how Bella “doesn’t fit in with humans”, or some other teenage angst babble. It gets no more “deep” than that.

Anonymous July 7, 2010, 7:46 PM

for all of you how are saing that bell swan is not a good model shut up. i think that she is a great madel if is wasnt for bell what will be the point of twilight she is a great model so you pepole ned to shut the fuke up

Anonymous July 7, 2010, 8:22 PM

Bella is a HORRIBLE role model, but to be fair so is Juliet.

I do however love that most of the people defending this character cannot spell or form a coherent sentence. Stephanie Meyer certainly knew what demographic to shoot for with her (dare I say it?) poorly written angst filled drivel.

Mind you, I’m not above some cotton candy reading when life is stressful but people are trying to make this stuff out to be the literature of our time when there is nothing literary about it.

There are a million other series just like it (except the sparkling that’s just odd)some better, some worse, most mildly entertaining if you don’t want to put any real thought into what you are reading.

Susan July 7, 2010, 9:41 PM

I cannot believe I am “speaking” out in defense of a fictional character. Twilight is a movie. A fantasy. This is why we go to see it. How many girls want to sit for two hours while Bella decides between Washington and Phoenix State Universities and mulls over what shoes to pack? Bella’s story is about a real love for someone who just happens to be a vampire. Creepy? Let’s see. A boy who strives to protect Bella at every turn. A family where the patriarch is a man dedicated to healing humans rather than killing them, despite his vampire nature, and who passes that on to his adopted children. A family that would rally together and align themselves with werewolves, their enemies, to protect a human they could just as soon kill. I’ve met some creepy people in my time. Believe me; the Cullen characters are not creepy.

Another thing; just because we don’t see Bella onscreen in class very much or discussing tv shows, music, and the like doesn’t mean that she doesn’t while offscreen (in the mythology of the movie.) We don’t see her in the shower or on the toilet either; it’s just naturally assumed she does. If they chronicled every second of her day, that would be one long, boring movie. I think when it comes down to it, Bella is a great character, not because she’s some girl who’s giving up her life to become a vampire. She’s evolving into a woman who has a love so strong for Edward, that she is willing to be transformed to be with him for eternity. It’s understandable in a world filled with divorce that this concept would fly over some people’s heads.

Also, I don’t know your daughter. But I think I’ll take a guess and say when she says she wants a boyfriend “like Bella’s,” she probably means a strong, good-looking, boy who will love her. I doubt she wants someone that drinks blood and is as cold as ice. A little reality goes a long way.

Rebecca T. July 7, 2010, 10:01 PM

I could not agree more! Although I confess to not having read the books, I like the movies and Eclipse was the best by far.

But what IS the deal with Belle?

First, she is no looker. She is supposed to be plain so all plain janes across the world get to be like oooh I could be her too. I get it. But…

Second, she has the personality of a wet leaf. Is there anything she likes to do that doesn’t revolve around vampires? Does she have a hobby other than trying to become immortal? She is BORING.

Third, she has the depth of a mud puddle, as a friend of mine put it. She is completely lacking even for a teenager. I was in love at 19. I get it. You want to be with them forever. But I had other goals too. Like to have a career. To travel. To learn something new. And none of these things revolved around my boyfriend.

Meyers might be a good storyteller but this “heroine” Belle is a complete waste of space.

Rachelle July 7, 2010, 10:28 PM

It’s really not all that serious. It’s only fiction. I doubt it’s the first, or the last book with a main character who is a less than optimal role model. A lot of women (especially teen girls) just like to get carried away in the romance of it all. I doubt they will carry out their lives looking for a man like Edward, as long as they have the proper role models at home.

Cathy July 8, 2010, 6:11 AM

The cattyness is ridiculous. If your daughter is looking at Bella as a “heroine” or is trying to be just like her, bring her back to earth and put her feet on the ground. It’s a book, NOT REAL LIFE. A story, entertainment, something to do to pass the time. If she can’t do that, you got your hands full, time for therapy, for the both of you!

WIANnot July 8, 2010, 6:28 AM

The books are not well written. JKRowling set the bar for modern juvenile writing and these books don’t stand up. But I like the storyline so I stuck it out thru all 4. I agree Bella’s not a good role model - dad should be grateful she’s in love with a vampire, else he’d’ve been a granddad her junior year. Enjoyed the 1st movie, didn’t see the 2nd, thought the 3rd was awful, won’t be seeing the 4th.

la-la-lisa July 8, 2010, 7:02 AM

Forget role model, or not, she’s a horrible character - blank, vapid, poorly defined. Blech.

Ainsley July 8, 2010, 7:42 AM

Yeah, she went to class. In New Moon. But she and Edward were talking the whole time.

drpred July 8, 2010, 7:51 AM

For those of you saying “girls today are just fine. they’re just as bad/well off as Bella”, you are settling. Do you not see that the abundance of crappy examples of female-hood like this one contribute to the low standards young girls set for themselves?

And, yes, everyone should go read some books; just not these ones.

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