This article explores a feminist critique of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series (2005-2008), analyzing the ways in which the series is a symbolic backlash against feminism. Whereas previous vampire works depicted vampires as threats and outsiders to society, the Twilight series depicts the vampire characters as accepted in society, integrating their lives into mainstream society; as such, they highlight modern society’s fascination with female beauty ideals and physical beauty. In this article, I examine the ways in which Meyer’s portrayal of the Cullen vampires is reflective of repressive beauty ideals targeted towards women, arguing that Bella devalues herself because as a human she does not conform to these ideals; instead, it is Edward, and her relationship with Edward, that provides value for Bella. Bella illustrates female submission in a male dominated world through her dependence upon Edward for meaning and identity, disempowering herself and symbolically disempowering women. In addition, I investigate the ways in which Meyer employs the traditional female gender roles of wife and mother as repressive means to which Bella is able to achieve fulfillment and identity, arguing that Bella is only allowed to become a vampire and truly be with Edward after she has cemented her roles as wife and mother, adhering to the rigid, traditional female gender norms.
"Wife, Mother, Vampire: The Female Role in the Twilight Series,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 15:
2, Article 19.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol15/iss2/19