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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
Jamie December 2, 2010, 7:08 PM

Bella is weak and boring during the first 3 books, but Bella “finds” herself in Breaking Dawn and you see her move from meek teenager to a strong and intelligent heroine that will do whatever it takes to protect what she lives…. Give her a chance… There is a reason why she is written that way during the first 3 books(I should say 2.5 since Bella begins to get increasingly stronger by the end of New Moon).
I mean, how many of us were weak, bratty, annoying teenagers and then grew up to be strong/independent women, mothers, and spouses?

britania January 7, 2011, 3:17 PM

wow… this is amazing. I think some of you are expecting a lot out of a 17/18 year old(ficitonal)girl. Its just a story and really… if my little girl was reading it, i would make it a priority to read it along with her. That way we could discuss things and I could be part of her life in some way.I could help her understand the things that i didn’t necessarily agree with. Who would you rather her role model be?

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 3:37 PM

Interesting info! Good and fun reading. I have got a opinion to give about shirts.

Mary March 15, 2011, 12:40 AM

***Apologies in advance for this ridiculously long comment.***

I’m irritated on your behalf that the Twihards posting are basically going, “OEMGEE u r so ztupid shut upppppp h0w d4re u dis4gr33 wit uz l0l!?1?”
But I gotta say, the one saying, “You’re just jealous because your lover doesn’t sparkle” made me laugh hysterically. Yeah, because that’s what every grown woman truly wants: to snuggle up to a human-shaped disco ball that’s cold as ice and moodier than Charlie Sheen.

Seriously, kids. Bella isn’t a good role model. The whole series is basically her going, “Edward is pretty, so I love him! Oh, Edward’s gone. I’m going to go flirt with Jacob now and let him fall in love with me and OH MY GOD Edward is back now, bye Jacob! Edward, I wanna be a vampire because I’m pretty sure I’m going to peak at 17 and then when I hit 25 I’ll basically be DEAD and if not dead, then, like, all age-y and stuff which is totally gross. Oh and I guess there should be preparations for some kind of conflict, so let’s spend a fat bunch of time preparing for a fight! Oh. Or we could solve it by talking, that’s cool too. OMGAWD, Edward! We should have a vampire baby that will pop out of me like in that movie, you know, the one with the alien. God, what was the name of that one? And then like, your family will build us a house, and because Jacob doesn’t have anyone, he should totally fall in love with my toddler, because there’s no way that could be interpreted as weird. And then we WILL LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER IN OUR LITTLE PIECE OF FOREVER OH MAH GAWD YOU GUYS IT WILL BE TOTALLY RAD FOR REALZ YO”

I did read the entire series. I was stunned. On the one hand, I can totally understand why teen girls are going insane over it. It’s an intense, obsessive, unhealthy relationship that’s justified by “but they’re totes MEANT to be together!” It has all the depth of the average teenage relationship, which is…not saying much.
The people saying “But it’s a fantasy!” have a point. Yes, it is a fantasy. It’s a fantasy wherein super-hot supernatural dudes compete over a girl with little to no redeeming qualities and a tendency to be selfish and self-martyring. The average teenage chick’s dream, I’d say.

Now, I like the movies…sort of. Visually, they’re not bad. You put one of those babies on mute and it’s like a screensaver for your brain.
The books were…unhappy for me to read. I’ve read my share of fanfiction, and I am not kidding when I say I have read short fics based on crappy anime that were better written.

I love your post, frankly. The only thing I raised a brow at was the mention of “dark, gloomy” colored clothing as a negative. I myself wear “dark, gloomy” clothing, and have done so since I was 12 (I’m 22 now). I spent my teens surrounded by people my age who dressed in super-peppy pastels and neon shades because they felt like they “had to”—and they were easily some of the most shallow, self-righteous, obnoxious, downright destructive people I’ve ever run across. In contrast, the other people who wore dark colors were much friendlier toward me, and in many cases, were more literate, more trustworthy, and better capable of maintaining a thoughtful conversation. Clothing color isn’t a good indicator of a person’s personality. However, in movies it is usually used to denote the person’s role; for instance, in “Heathers,” the character of J.D. wears very dark colors, while the leader of the girl clique wears red constantly. The heroine trends towards lighter colors as the movie progresses. That’s probably why Edward, et al, wear darker colors—though I have to be honest, I never thought of them as looking particularly “gloomy.”

But I can entirely understand why your daughter saying that she wants a boyfriend like Edward would be worrying, considering all the worrisome traits of that character.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:36 AM

I am glad, that i found your site, there are a couple of interesting articles

no name please  April 11, 2011, 3:46 PM

Okay,Bella is awesome. I don’t know if you have read any on the preface’s but pretty much they are all about her dying for a loved one. And seriously a movie about her and Edward talking about common things wouldn’t be interesting enough to make a movie out of. Besides, you are taking this WAY to far, I mean it’s just fiction…

Stace April 17, 2011, 10:37 PM

Okay friends, yes the book is fictional, but did you have a fictional character that you were attached to and wanted to be just like? For me it was Alanna of Trebond. Anyways, kids look up to Bella and that’s why it DOES matter what kind of example she’s showing. She had unprotected sex with a man that she married before turning 20. Sorry, but I don’t want my daughter to be anything like this girl. She is a weak female protagonist that can’t solve any of her own problems and instead depends on the help of two hormonal teenagers to protect her.

lisa April 27, 2011, 4:15 PM

you should read the books. they’re great!

jade May 2, 2011, 12:59 PM

okay. You have to put yourselves inro your daughter’s shoes. Bella is like any ordinary teenage girl. Which teenager wouldn’t want a cute boyfriend.

HelloGrumpy May 4, 2011, 1:17 AM

It’s so funny how these fangirls defend their boring Bella. hahahaha.

魅力生活 May 19, 2011, 8:05 AM

hello i like it

Kelsea May 24, 2011, 11:31 AM

I agree that Bella is not a good role model in anyway and this is coming from a teenager (19). I was about 16 when I first read the books and I instantly fell in love- I wanted an Edward Cullen! However, I am relieved that I am not the only one to realize that Bella obeys every order from the men in her life and cannot seem to make her own decisions or even sustain her own life without the help of a man. That being said, it is VERY easy for young girls to relate to Bella, but for not so much the same reason; Bella is described as “average” and “plain” and she has never felt like she ever quite fits in- let’s face it, who doesn’t feel like this as a teenager? All in all, Twilight and its main character, Bella, are an interesting read as long as you continually tell yourself not to get too enthralled. I suggest you direct your dughters and women in general to find a role model in Hermione Granger from J. K. Rowling’s epich

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