This could be a series in itself, but I decided to post my recent response to a Goodread’s forum discussing Bella Swan. Of course, many people dislike her character, saying she’s a bad role-model. But I reject this, for a number of reasons. The root of their mentality is sexist and problematic for fiction and life, and I think it’s time we address these issues.
I loved Bella 🙂 I thought she was relatable and selfless, and was very self-aware. I know she’s melodramatic and doesn’t always think of the consequences, but that fits my own personality type, so there’s bound to be other teen girls who relate too!
She may not be a role model for all, but she was for me 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed her as a character; from her curiosity, to dealing with depression and eating disorders. She isn’t the healthiest character for teens to model after, but she’s a realistic and relatable one to many who do also suffer.
Plus, I think she’s pretty mature in every situation, except maybe when she was like “lol bye dad I’m 18 I’m gonna go to Italy for a sec brb”
(but that’s justified in the realm of paranormal fantasy– there was a life or death situation occurring!).
I find many reasons for hate to Bella is more against generic teens, in fiction and in real life. Which is a whole other subject– which I won’t delve into.
People talk about Twilight only caring about romance (and a superficial one at that), but they don’t consider the context. It’s a romance novel. The focus is going to be romance. Is this then a suggestion that all romance plots are vapid? Are all romance characters symbolic of negative choices and impacts in life?
But she doesn’t “drop everything for her man”. She has other passions; i.e. books, friendship (Alice and Jacob), her parents, FAMILY (The Cullens AND her own child), the list could go on. Sure, she
doesn’t want to find a cure for cancer or anything like that– but how many deeply inspired characters will you find in novels? The only ones I come across in YA are the atypical dystopian/fantasy female, rising against her corrupt government. And guess what? It gets boring. Are we like this in real life? Maybe the rest of you guys are, but I’m certainly not. I’m far more into the “generic” things such as books, family and friends.
The whole reason she was depressed in New Moon wasn’t simply because her boyfriend was gone. She no longer had access to this super- natural world that she only just discovered. She no longer wanted a mundane and simple life.
Bella was brave and innovative. She constantly sacrificed herself for those she loved, even when they didn’t like her back (see Rosalie).
From this to that?!?!?! BRILLIANT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
People hate because they want to hate. But maybe they should look into other female protags, not just Bella. Because it seems these negative attributes are amongst many budding-women, in fiction and in life.