Why I adore Bella Swan
My addiction to Twilight
I spent the bank holiday weekend watching the Twilight series, I often do this (don’t judge me). There is something about the whole series that captivates me. I don’t think there is another series that captures every human emotion so well and particularly the messy feelings of first love.
I use Bella Swan and the Twilight series often in my work and I find both women, young and old have quite a hostile response to Bella, claiming she is no kind of hero often saying she is “weak” and “pathetic”. Now granted in New Moon she isn’t at her best but I do feel these movie are more archetypal in their portrayal rather than literal. When we first meet Bella she is pretty much playing a maiden, damsel in distress but I feel throughout the whole journey through the movies Bella moves from damsel to sovereignty, rightly taking her place as queen. The movies show the journey we must all take to reach our place in life. We must climb into our own darkness see it, own it and at some point surrender to it in order to come out the other end. And I think this is why some people have such negative reactions to these movie, in a world where emotion is seen as weak and we are just supposed to “get on with it” and move on, in a world where a pot of Ben and Jerry’s should be able to get you over heartache Bella does not fit the paradigms we have set up for ourselves.
She feels things deeply, she surrenders completely to love and pain equally and in the end is willing to sacrifice it all for her love and her unborn child. I don’t see this as weak I don’t see it as pathetic, I see it as an inner strength we so often don’t teach our young girls. An Inner strength that is so strong it doesn’t need to shout or scream, an inner knowing so strong it will not be led off course and a belief so strong it keeps going. Bella for me shows courage often not seen or recognised in our empowered girl world. She finds where she belongs, where she feels alive and fights for that in a way that would put the feminist movement to shame. Even her gift as a defender is an ability to protect others. She is an introvert, an odd ball, a romantic and self sacrificing. We shouldn’t make her wrong for this we should acknowledge, I believe, that there are many ways to be strong, many ways to be empowered and many ways to become a confident women.
That is why I love the Twilight Series so much because we get to see a heroine the books and movies don’t often show us . An archetype that I see in so many girls that is not honoured, the ability to surrender , the ability to truly feel, to truly live and to bare our souls to those we feel able to, and the ability to choose to say this is where I belong this is who I am (even if it isn’t always good for us). And to do it all quietly, gently and with ease and grace.
Movies are never really just movies, characters an never just characters and heroines come in all shapes and sizes. Go Bella, even though I was always on the side of Team Jacab !