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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
Rita July 10, 2010, 12:43 PM

Wow! First of all, Charlie didn’t laugh at her. He doesn’t even like Edward so when he heard Jacob tried to kiss her, he was happy that Bella may have a choice for a boyfriend. He kissed her. He didn’t push her up against a wall and force himself on her. Bella thinks of him as a friend so of course she was offended when he kissed her. He kissed her for like 5 seconds, if that, and when he pulled away she took that opportunity to punch him. She asserted herself. She never even kissed him back that first time. Charlie is used to Bella hurting herself because she’s a clumsy person, that’s probably why he didn’t bat an eye when she came home with a sprained hand. That’s also why she doesn’t join sports clubs, she is naturally clumsy, she’s an individual and she likes to do her own thing. She does have friends, but the movies are about her, Edward and Jacob. It’s not “Bella and Her Friends”.

The directors weren’t going to film every single conversation Bella and Edward have. If you read the books, you know they converse about everything. If you even read Eclipse (which I know you didn’t because your article is clearly misinformed), in the beginning of the book she is filling out college applications and discussing with her father and Edward (who does want her to attend college before he changes her) which college she should attend, since she’s been accepted into several different high-profile universities, as well as smaller town colleges.

Ok, yes, I am a Twilight fan. I’m a 30 year old mother of 2. I read all the books (including the Midnight Sun rough draft and the Eclipse novella “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner”) and I can honestly say I loved the story. The books ARE poorly written, there are alot of time gaps and other anomalies.

BUT, putting all that aside, this series is probably the only modern young adult series where none of the characters partake in drinking, drugs or premarital sex. Bella cleans her house and helps her dad without being asked. How many teens do you know who will do that?

True, Bella does want Edward sexually and he does want her, but he convinces her to wait until they are married to have sex.

Of course Bella is depressed and everything when Edward breaks up with her in New Moon! He was her first love. I remember I was so upset and depressed for months when my first love broke up with me. But I got over that.

This is also a fictional series and if you can’t discuss with your daughters the difference between reality and fiction, then you have a problem. I don’t want my daughter to be one-dimensional like Bella, but if she wants to read Twilight when she’s older, I really don’t mind. She could be reading alot worse, like the Gossip Girl series, etc. But she also knows the difference between reality and fiction and I’m not afraid that she might turn out in a negative way just because she read a book.

Get over it. There are alot worse things to be worrying about nowadays.

It just really gets me when people write articles and post comments about something they know nothing about. Read the freakin’ books. They offer more insight then the movies do, and if you’ve EVER been in love, you know how Bella feels. The end. Now get off the computer and go play outside.

Pamala July 10, 2010, 7:47 PM

You realize that the author of the books wrote the Kissing scene with Jacob to get people to hate him because he was becoming more likable than Edward. It was an assault, and she wrote it that way.

Also I love how everyone has blown off those of us who read all the books and subjected ourselves to the horrible writing that was Twilight. But we don’t know anything.

All I know is that Bella is a weak girl who can’t and won’t stand up for herself who is overly obsessed with a boy. Any girl who spends nearly a year as a zombie over a break up is weak. Sorry but I don’t care if she’s a teenager or not. It’s not healthy.

Kat July 10, 2010, 10:36 PM

The character of Bella is so disappointing and the only bad thing about these movies. She is completely surrounded by handsome and strong men who protect her at every moment. It’s such an unfortunate portrayal of a weak woman who can’t take control of her own life but rather has to lean on men to take care of her in all aspects of her life. I find her character pathetic and am offended as a woman who has gained strength throughout the years by having to fight some of my own demons singlehandedly without the help of a man. Also, I have to say, I find her constant breathy moments so annoying.

Kate July 10, 2010, 10:43 PM

Bella, and the entire series, is pretty indefensible in my opinion. However, one must take into account the author herself. A deeply religious, self-admitted homebody devoted to family life, her children, and her husband. Stephenie Meyer couldn’t have written a stronger female character because she herself is not a strong female. She went to college to meet a husband, got married, had children and became a housewife who dreams about sparkly, half-naked non-humans. Now there’s a role model for our daughters.

Anonymous July 11, 2010, 9:54 AM

I think we need to consider that as a society we try to lump everyone together and it just isn’t reasonable. This series is fine for my daughter, she has a leader mentality. She’s no Bella. On the other hand there are girls that can relate to Bella and although they may not find an Edward or a Jacob they may find an outlet or even a Prince Charming that is perfect for them at a time in their life when they might be finding things are hard for them to understand. And again, it’s fiction. It’s an outlet in itself and probably a lot more “G” rated than most of the other things kids could be doing. The most important thing is to know “your” child and what they can handle. As much as we want to put them all in one catagory they aren’t all the same…

Anonymous July 11, 2010, 7:02 PM

Amen! I have been saying this since I read the first book, and especially after trying multiple times to start the second. This is exactly what I have been trying to get others to see, Bella has nothing else going on and wants to give up her life for Edward. I have more respect for Edward because at least he, in the beginning, is completely against the idea. I am all for romance novels, I enjoy them as much as the next person. I also enjoy the “Cinderella” stories where the women are swept away by the love of a wealthy, handsome, completely besotted male person. However, I at least like the girl/woman to have some kind of backbone, ambition, education. Give me Elizabeth Bennett anyday over Bella. Even the silly Harlequin heroines have jobs, children, lives, interests these days. I agree with this author one hundred percent!

Carol July 12, 2010, 9:39 AM

The books and Bella reflect who Mrs Meyers is. She got married in 1994 at the age of 21 (her husbands was also 21) and didn’t get her college degree untill 1997.
The only job she held was breifely as a receptionist. She stated in an interview “Once I had Gabe, I just wanted to be his mom.”
She also stated she was a “straitlaced” Mormon.
Hence, why Bella doesn’t think about college or career but getting married and THEN pregnant even though she’s just a teenager.

Emma July 12, 2010, 5:26 PM

Alright , Everyone needs to relize this is NOT real. If you dont want your kid to follow in her shoes fine then take controlle.. But really if you were young you would be right in there shoes as well. Belle Is a tipical teen. Your girls or boys will go threw something like it. Maybe not as bad as she did in part 2 but really im pretty sure your kids relize its fake! And if they dont then its the Parents job to teach them right.

Synesthesia July 12, 2010, 7:46 PM

I’ve read worse heriones. I haven’t seen the movies.
I won’t either.
But the books are OK. Bella’s not so bad.She takes care of her father. She took care of her mother. She risks her life for immortal critters and she, like me, hates proms.
I rather like her.
I don’t think I’d BE like her because I’m too busy being like me, but she’s not so bad.

anonymous July 12, 2010, 11:21 PM

i agree with the person who said that jk rowling set the bar for modern juvenile writing and these books don’t stand up. it’s true if you think about it all stephenie meyer has done is chuck a few descriptive words into a repeditive story about how hard bellas life is. reality check whats the worst thing that has happened to bella, she has, what had two hot guys fall in love with her, and all she can do is sook and whine well gees alot worser things happen to us (i know she’s fictional) like seriously on the movie trailer they said “bella has to ind what her true destiny is” sorry thats not quite acurate but wtf? she dosen’t have a destiny all she has to do is choose which hot guy to go with not that i’m obssessed like some people or anything but i am team edward!

Lindsay July 13, 2010, 8:27 AM

You really do need to read the books, I don’t know why anyone would even want to see the movies having not read the books. Of course books have way more details that they cant fit into the movies…but as a mom I would be screening (as in reading) or even watching movies before I let my daughter. Regardless if its all over the place. Plus once again, this is no where near reality so please…

Leah July 13, 2010, 12:00 PM

I disagree with this article for 2 reasons…

A.How can people who havn’t read the books understand the characters?

And B. Because having a charachter who is relitivly NORMAL is why we girls like her we can identify because like the vast majority of us, Bella is not some girl who looks like model,is super rich and popular and ends with a dumb jock who really could care less about her.

HELLO!these books are fiction.And I think some of the characters in this book are quite good for example.The cullens have a strong family relationship they stick together and have 2 strong loving parental figures plus in reference to the comment in the article about Bella and Edward wanting to make love… They did wait until after they were married which is more than most of the kids at my High School do. As a 16 year old who took a vow of no premaretal sex I was really happy that the author made the characters BOTH virgins till marriage. If you read the books and TRY to understand the charachters you’d see there not all that bad.

Vicki July 13, 2010, 2:59 PM

Maybe I’m lame, or not normal, but when I was a teen, (many, many years ago), I could watch a movie, or read a book and not aspire to be the character, or be “like” the characters in them. Either I was weird, or the kids nowadays are. I always tried to please my parents and do the best I could in the world. I am still that way today. Maybe I am lame.

Phoebe July 15, 2010, 11:49 AM

Yeah if you read the books, in Breaking Dawn you find out that she had no idea that you could have a kid with a vampire. Read the books before you get judgemental!

crystal July 17, 2010, 6:28 AM

Read all the books including Midnight Sun - Edward version. I guess some mom really take it so seriously this Bella character. Remember this is only a fiction, a fantasy and only in a movie. I guess, Stephenie really knows how to play the character to make so many moms and human angry over this Bella lame character. But for me, Bella is just a normal 17 yo teenager, comes from broken family, responsible to take care of her mom mostly. She knows how to do house work, knows how to cook for the parents - lets see if any of todays teens knows how to do house chores?

At the end of the day, Bella is just another character in a book. And Edward is just another beautiful vampire.

Toni July 18, 2010, 8:46 AM

Ok, this is only a story and book saga, but what about her parents?

In the books and movie she clearly loves her parents. What about her friends in Phoenix and Jacob? She wants to leave all this behind? She loves the sunlight. That’s off the vampire list. No pizza or beer. Also if she decides to return to be a human, she can’t!

As for Edward, couldn’t he pick someone a little more interesting? I find Bella is a winer. Bella has a very dull personality. Someone like Ugly Betty who has a very positive look at life. She is plan jane but she is not a winer!

Kristina July 19, 2010, 1:31 AM

I don’t know, you sound like all the mothers and relatives that judge my relationship as well. When you’re in something as passionate and all-consuming as depicted in Twilight or in real life, you’re not going to give up this incredible feeling to “join a club” or try to live a normal life. Wow. It’s something that takes over your mind and is extremely unhealthy, yes, but something you don’t really have a choice over, honestly. I mean all of that in the most un-condesending way possible.

lisa July 19, 2010, 6:10 AM

Why don’t you try reading the books before being so judgemental. Maybe then you’ll understand that the FICTIONAL story is about the love story and the obsticales that are involved. It’s not a story to teach young girls how to choose a collage or how to join extra curricular activities. And fyi, Bella does care for both of her parents. She cooks and cleans for her father, and is torn with her decision when she thinks about how it will effect them. Haven’t you ever noticed that books are a lot more detailed than the movies. Perhaps you should give the movies a break and pick up a book.

Sheryl July 19, 2010, 10:48 AM

Hey Mom, you nailed it! Bella and Edward,Romeo and Juliet, Cullen’s and Capulet’s. Shakespeare was a better writer and it took 1 book.
There is more to both stories. At least teenage boys get into them and read, which compelled my sister to get into them. But she doesn’t get the bad role model issue either.
It took 4 divorces for me to recognize Bad Boyfriend material, and my sister just glorifies these books.
My youngest daughter(19) read the 1st book,and this is her opinion of this series,also.

Meewunk July 20, 2010, 6:46 AM

I agree, books are terrible, Bella has no personality and the moral of the story is that girls should be okay with emotionally abusive boyfriends because it’s ‘romantic’. Glad to hear you want more for your daughter than a psycho boyfriend.

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