Bella Edward

Bella Swan and Edward Cullen


If you have yet to hear of “Twilight“, I am pretty sure I am going to have to check your passport.

The world is obsessed. In the past two weeks alone, the movie franchise has raked in over $589,074,000, worldwide. The books, characters, and actors have taken on their very own niche in the media, it seems. We just can’t get enough.

Sure, there are the ‘haters’, with voices just as loud as the Twihards, and tempers just as flared as the fictional Vampires they oppose.

I, however, feel the problem comes down to one thing: Bella Swan.

This is not an attack on Kristen Stewart, who I believe is a very talented actress (Speak, Runaways – must see), but a concerned braindump of a character who millions billions of young girls seem to look up to.

Before I had bothered to read Twilight, I was very excited to see that young girls everywhere were once again becoming fanatical about literature in what seemed like a replication of “Harry Potter Sensation“. It was a book about vampires? No big deal. I had spent my youth watching Buffy, The Lost Boys, and reading weeks worth of vampire fiction. I can testify to never wanting someone to suck my blood.

Then – before reading the book – someone took me to see the first film. Without turning this into a movie critique, I will skip that ninety-some minutes of wasted time and simply share my final thought: “Surely, the book is better than this?

After an open-minded period of time reading the “Twilight” series, I shut the final chapter…infuriated. There is a franchise. A non-ignorable phenomenon. Girls swooning worldwide. Girls wanting to BE Bella Swan.

Girls wanting to be a stereotypical gender role with a complete absence of personality or self-worth. A girl obsessed with her ‘relationship’ which romanticizes the classic hallmarks of an abusive relationship.

For those of you who haven’t suffered through the films or books, let me break it down for you:
Bella Swan loves Edward Cullen. Edward is a vampire; hundreds+ years-of-age, who speaks down to Bella in words often filled with – what I hope is – unintentional pedophiliac undertones. Bella – a teenager written with the personality of old milk – decides to give up her life for ‘true love‘. She becomes a recluse, sacrifices what initially seems to be her priorities, acting selflessly for a love ‘that no-one else seems to understand‘. The issue? This kind of ‘love’ is getting cultural clout with girls who are still continuing to build their ideas and boundaries about sexual and romantic partners.

Amongst this, Bella often says “I don’t care about me, only Edward”; while having her engine removed from her car when Edward doesn’t want her to visit someone, while condoling Edward after he makes no apology for physically hurting her on their honeymoon…the list goes on and on.

With no effort at all, any teenage girl could imagine themselves as the Mormon-inspired Bella Swan – the ‘heroine’ who an overwhelmingly insane Edward Cullen is obsessed with. (Tapping into basic human needs, here).

Bella’s submissive motives – the weakest attributes of a man or woman – are (WRONGLY) viewed as aspirational through the words of Stephenie Meyer.

And that is the problem with Bella Swan.

Kristen Stewart W Magazine
It’s not Brooke Shields, it’s not Lindsay Lohan, it’s a Barbarella-haired Kristen Stewart on the cover of W Magazine‘s September 2011 issue! What a knockout. With the combination of her white Max Mara mohair and wool sweater plus a swipe Rouge Dior lipstick in Angélique Beige, she has retro, chill-out glamour down to a tee.

Inside the editorial, shot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, she continues to vamp it up in Junya Watanabe, Dolce & Gabbana, Theory, and the same Gucci dress Beyonce Knowles wore on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

My favourite segment from the accompanying interview:

Twilight was your college, and you graduated, in a way: You became Bella Swan at 17, and now you’re 21.
Yeah—and that time has been sort of nuts for me. In film, I have chronicled every stage of my life since I was nine. And it’s more intense now, obviously, because I’m not in control of it anymore.
You’re not in charge of your life?
No. Not really. Not if I want to think solely about what I really like to do. It’s a funny thing: You want so badly for people to see what you do—you’re proud of it—and I like the effect that movies have on people. But the attention can also make me uncomfortable. In certain situations, people say to me, “C’mon, what’s wrong with you?” I apologize. I love what I’m doing, but I’m a little uncomfortable.

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Zac Posen Twilight Wedding Dress

Zac Posen's Wedding Dress for Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and The City)


The reliable rumour mill – if such a thing exists – has been whispering that Zac Posen has been chosen to design Bella Swan‘s Victorian-inspired wedding dress for the expected mega-hit Twilight: Breaking Dawn. In the best-selling book the dress is described as a garment which “stepped out of an [Jane] Austen movie,” you know, tulle, lace, on the edge of gaudy. Supposedly, Kristen Stewart – the actress who plays Bella – had some input in picking the dress, but claimed that it was “pretty much up to [Twilight author] Stephanie Meyer” to find The Dress. With the mass of absolutely mental vampire/werewolf/Robert Pattinson fans eagerly awaiting a first look, Zac has a lot of expectations to fulfil.