Breaking Dawn Part 2 will send the wrong message about female characters

The trailer for Breaking Dawn Part 2, or how to make a movie with almost no plot, came out today. Bella Swan continues her quest of perfection by informing audiences that she was born to be a blood-sucking killer. While the trailer doesn’t touch on how suited Bella is to life as a vampire too much, it will surely play a major role in the movie itself. After all, what else are they going to fill the time with? Bella and Edward’s perfectly amazing sex life? The creepiness of Jacob’s imprinting on her daughter?

After Bella has her baby and becomes super vamp, she immediately takes to the lifestyle. She’s not even tempted to rip the jugular vein out of nearby humans! Readers discover that she and Edward have amazing sex and can keep at it because they don’t have to sleep. Reneesme grows at a highly accelerated rate and is incredibly intelligent. As the world’s perfect child, she is constantly held and revered.

On a hunting trip with her daughter and Jacob, the Cullens’ friend Irina sees Reneesme and believes that the girl is an Immortal Child, a small child who is bitten and remains an uncontrollable monster forever. This is a huge mistake in the vampire world. She tells the Vultori and the vampire police squad head out to Washington. The trip takes quite a while for a group of beings with unlimited funds.

During this time, the Cullens drag all their vampire friends to Washington (never mind all those pesky humans that will die) to testify that Reneesme is an Immortal Child. The gathering of people could be handled in a short montage, but viewers probably won’t be so lucky. Many of the vampires have special powers. Suddenly the story is an X-Men crossover. One vampire produces electrical shocks on her skin. Another can manipulate elements. No doubt, there’s one who can control metal somewhere out there.

Eventually the Vultori come. All the vampires—sans Alice and Jasper who ran off to find someone—stand in a line. It would appear the fight is on.

No, it’s not.

Pages after pages of conversation, debate, goodbyes and chatter end the book. Bella shows that she’s Awesome Vampire Number One by extending her mutant power, a mental shield, over everyone. Alice and Jasper show up with guests to say hey, look, Reneesme isn’t dangerous. Here’s a boy just like her!

The Vultori decide that there’s no need to continue their quest. They decide to kill Irina for her wrong information, a death that affects no one but her sisters, and head down to South America to find some man who is impregnating mortal women with his vampire seed.

That’s it. There’s no fight, no confrontation. No one important dies or suffers injury. The book ends with everyone happy and perfect in Washington.

The movie, like the others, will do well opening weekend. The Twilight movies don’t hold the number one spot for long. Word of mouth doesn’t help the series s as it did The Hunger Games. In addition, Bella, Edward and the others are completely forgettable characters in an unmemorable plot.

The problem with the success of the Twilight films is that it further pushes the idea that it’s okay to rejoice a badly crafted female character. Had the series been about a woman who allowed men to define her and manipulate her, and then that woman overcomes the mental and emotional abuse with the offenders seeing some type of punishment, it’d be a different story (if done right). The problem is that Bella is constantly rewarded for being a moldable little brat. She gets everything she wants, she’s treated horribly and it’s shown as an okay lifestyle. None of the characters face any real consequences for their actions.

Women like to read books or watch movies that star other women. While Bella is technically the lead of the series, more attention rests on the shoulders of Edward and Jacob. Without any true character, Bella isn’t relatable. Bella is an outline of a person, ready for the men who want her to fill in the lines.

Touting Bella as a fantastic female character won’t help anyone. Production companies can focus on pointless, silly stories of a man-crazed woman with no personality rather than provide good quality characters. The masses pay for it, so it must fill some craving.

It does. The books combined romance, supernatural and a female lead. It’s done horribly. The mysticism clouds the issues, as does the romantic “love.” A person who truly loves someone doesn’t control her daily life and decisions.

Had Twilight came out at the same time as The Hunger Games, I have no doubt that the story of Katniss would have squashed Bella’s quest to be an undead plaything. While books exist with good female leads, they’re harder to find than the ones with males as the star. Twilight hit shelves during the wind down of Harry Potter. Readers wanted something different. Twilight became a feature on multiple Harry Potter websites—and not because of Cedric. Twilight gave fans the romance they desired that wasn’t a main player in Harry Potter.

Thankfully, the story of Bella Swan ends this year. She doesn’t need a replacement, even though those are out there and we will certainly hear about them. Her poor story needs buried in the pile of what not to do with female characters in books and movies.

 

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1 Comment

Filed under Bella Swan, Twilight

One response to “Breaking Dawn Part 2 will send the wrong message about female characters

  1. “The problem is that Bella is constantly rewarded for being a moldable little brat. She gets everything she wants, she’s treated horribly and it’s shown as an okay lifestyle. None of the characters face any real consequences for their actions.”

    Exactly! And people still have the guts to say that Bella and the other women in the Twilight series are feminist icons, which is crap. I can’t name one female Twilight character whose life did not revolve around a significant other.

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