Edward Cullen, stalker? Yes, but so is the hero of 'The Graduate'

Is Bella Swan an independent and sort of daring young lovesick renegade…or a doormat? A good role model…or a godawful role model? Or should she be considered a role model at all? And what of the Twilight saga itself: Is it liberating the fantasy life of a new generation of young women by inviting them to wallow in the kind of stormy-skies, trembling-damsel romanticism that has been a staple of popular fiction from Wuthering Heights onward? Or is it setting back the holy cause of women’s enlightenment by 50 years?

These and other questions were debated, with rude and furious passion, in response to my New Moon post last week. I confess, though, that amid the flurry of ardent, and at times angry, stand-taking, one particular view, repeated over and over again, caught my eye: the notion that there’s something deeply wrong with the Twilight saga because that hot-blooded, painfully chivalrous James Dean-of-the-northwest vampire Edward Cullen is nothing less than a “stalker.”

A stalker? Really? I mean, the kid is a vampire. Theoretically, stalking would be one of the nicer activities that he does. Can you imagine saying about Dracula that you had a problem with him as a character because he’s obviously guilty of sexual harassment and trespassing?

Nevertheless, the stalking argument got me to thinking: If the Twilight movies are, in fact, guilty of celebrating one amorous demon’s inexcusable behavior, perhaps they’re not the only popular romantic movies to do so. Looking back, I found any number of films in which some of the most celebrated heroes of movie history behave badly enough to risk inviting serious scrutiny, if not downright condemnation, from the love police. Here are just a dozen. Can you think of others?

1. The Graduate (1967) As Benjamin Braddock, a sexually befuddled, anti-plastic, dazed and confused youth-culture explorer (otherwise known as…a stalker!), Dustin Hoffman tracks Katherine Ross’s Elaine all the way to Berkeley, where he keeps pestering her on campus. Finally, he follows her to her wedding and disrupts it by screaming like a madman. Do not try anything like this abhorrent behavior in pursuit of your own true love.

2. The Public Enemy (1931) In which James Cagney, as a charismatic live-wire gangster, keeps girlfriend Mae Clark in line by shoving a raw grapefruit right into her kisser. A clear-cut glorification of domestic abuse.

3. Manhattan (1979) Woody Allen makes no apologies for the fact that his character, a 42-year-old celebrity comedy writer, is dating a 17-year-old Dalton student (Mariel Hemingway). Allen treats their relationship as the “purest” one in the movie, when it is in fact a pure and actionable case of statutory rape.

4. Vertigo (1958) James Stewart, having watched his true love (Kim Novak) plunge to her death from a chapel rooftop, finds her duplicate and begins to date her — a freakish rerun of his infatuation that’s not complete until he forces her to dress up exactly as before. In the process, he reveals himself to be a torturously obsessive image fetishist, a veritable dictator of the male gaze. Otherwise known as a perv.

5. Pretty Woman (1990) Wealthy business dude Richard Gere pays happy prostitute Julia Roberts around the clock so that she’ll spend the entire movie with him. And the thing is, she likes the work — especially when they go shopping for clothes. Need I say more about this tawdry misogynistic charade?

6. Say Anything (1989) Rejected and dejected, John Cusack won’t take no for an answer. He shows up at Ione Skye’s house and tries to get her to submit by blasting music over a portable loudspeaker as surely as the FBI did at Waco. Stalker or domestic terrorist? You decide.

7. Gone With the Wind (1939) The famous scene in which Rhett Butler hoists Scarlett O’Hara up the stairs for a night of “passion” is generally taken to be a knowing, Production Code-era signifier of domestic rape. And the glow on her face the next morning only reinforces that the movie is condoning this unspeakable act.

8. Every single James Bond film. The only thing this sexually compulsive sociopathic modelizer of a superspy does more quickly, and enthusiastically, than bedding down with beautiful women is throwing them away. More than that, his pathology is made to look super-cool.

9. Dirty Dancing (1987) No one puts Baby in a corner, but Patrick Swayze’s dreamboat Johnny Castle does woo her when she’s only 17. The period innocence of the Catskills in the ’60s can’t hide the crime of this predatory scoundrel.

10. King Kong (1933) He strips off Fay Wray’s top, invades the space of her apartment, and makes a spectacle of her screaming defensiveness. And after all this, we’re supposed to feel sorry for the big ape.

11. Broadcast News (1987) And you thought that David Letterman’s closet was dark. Beneath the airy sophistication of James L. Brooks’ newsroom comedy lies a hotbed of flawed role models engaging in inappropriate workplace dating.

12. The Sound of Music (1965) A clear case of coercive sexual harassment, and with the help, no less. Never mind Maria — how do you solve a problem like Captain Von Trapp?

Comments (506 total) Add your comment
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  • Megan Dean

    Very interesting.

    • Jordan

      dear owen, please stop defending twilight. it’s getting reeeeaaalllly old. sorry if i’m taking out my sick-of-twilight-ness on you, but i’m ready for it to stop clogging up EW. saw the movie, it was alright (much better than the first, but that isn’t saying much). now let’s move on to bigger and better things! like… sherlock holmes, perhaps?!

      • Anne

        Thank you, Jordan. Some love the movies, some don’t (I’m in that crowd,) but now it just seems that these posts are generated only to draw in the anti-twilight and twi-hards and have comment wars.
        Entertainment Weekly needs to stop focusing so intently on Twilight. Isn’t the next issue has the 3 of them on separate covers. Move on to something new. Christmas movie season is almost here and here’s another frivolous post.

      • Anne

        Wow, I didn’t proof read & that was the result. Sorry

      • kudos

        i agree, it also seems like they’re trying to shove twilight down our throats. this year hasnt had many big box office hits, i feel like they want twilight to pick up the slack. its dumb really since new moon is a crappy hit, low critical acclaim, the only reason its made so much money is holiday week and no competition. also cant wait for Holmes or heath’s last film

      • Rachel

        Have any of you ever thought that maybe they report on Twilight because they know that everyone, haters and lovers, will read it and comment on it. You are all buying it to it.

      • reithena

        This sums it up great. I’m so tired of hearing about this abomination and how great it is for young people that I hope the new fad comes real soon.

      • Rebekah

        Rachel, I completely agree. EW is a commercial, entertainment magazine. They’re trying to compete for readers. Therefore, they continue to report on the things that get people talking and keep them coming back. If people really hate Twilight so much, why do they read posts about it and then take the time and effort to post their opinions about something they supposedly don’t care about?

      • carmen

        yeah, Rebekah, I agree.
        If you hate twilight so much then just stop reading internet posts about it. Don’t complain about being tired of it, when you’re the one reading these and posting comments.

      • :D

        rebecca, i was JUST going to say that. maybe if everyone STOPS commenting their opinions on the whole thing, they will stop posting shit about twilight. if you STOP clicking on the article and read it, EW, will probably give up. ITS EASY!!!!!!! (and yes im posting on this article, but i dont mind twilight as much as everyone…and yet, im not overly obsessed with it)

      • :D

        *rebekah** im sorry!!!!! errgggg

      • Courtney

        I have to comment on this….. SHERLOCK HOLMES!!! EEEEEEEE!!!!!!

        Okay, freakout over.

      • Pieter

        To be honest I find that the movies are an improvement upon the books, replacing a non-existing plot with a poorly written plot

      • Eclipse Online

        That “hero” is nothing compared to Edward… I’m just saying. The differences are so obvious.

    • Silv

      Regarding your 12 examples plus the Edward-Bella thing…
      You can probably find something “off” in just about every famous on-screen relationship.
      We all go a little crazy sometimes.

    • kristen

      The difference between many of the movies you mention and Twilight is that Twilight deifies Edward Cullen to a nauseating extreme. It’s not just Bella that’s in love with Edward, it’s Stephanie Meyers. “Vertigo” and “The Graduate” deal in moral ambiguities, and the films challenge viewers by constructing deeply flawed, psychologically interesting characters. These films didn’t slavishly beg the audience to please, please love their brooding males.
      “Public Enemy” is almost a laughable addition to the list. Sure, Cagney’s performance was magnetic, but as the titular public enemy, he plays a gangster. The whole film is set up as a cautionary tale, warning viewers about this new kind of social menace.

      • meredith

        thank you! exactly what I was thinking.

        I also really don’t understand how captain von trapp is a stalker, and it remains unexplained in this article.

      • Mojo Mom

        Also, the Twilight “young adult” phenomenon has trickled down to elementary school. Not too many fifth graders are watching The Graduate. I think all parents should read Twilight and use it as a springboard for conversation. Haven’t quite done so myself yet, but I know I can’t just ignore the whole phenomenon.

      • Dani

        Thank you Kristen, for putting to words my exact sentiment towards Twilight in comparison to the twelve(+) stalkers listed here!
        That’s exactly right, it’s the lack of objectivity that makes Twilight so flawed. Ok so we understand that Bella loves Edward, but do we really need to be bashed over the head with it!

      • zoora

        agreed, its meyer who is in love with edward. in fact, the whole saga is about meyer’s wet dreams about edward. haha

    • Claire

      it’s not being a stalker when they know and want you there – stalking has a menacing conatation to it

  • Chris

    Just one of the many disturbing elements in “Rosemary’s Baby” involves the husband’s excuse for Rosemary’s pregnancy. He slept with her while she was passed out? Then compares it to necrophilia? Deal-breaker!

    • Jen D

      That made me giggle!

    • Liz Lemmon

      That’s a deal-breaker!

      • kayla

        i believe your name is actually “lesbian yellow sourfruit”

    • Stef

      Haha, so true. Don’t worry, my dear, that wasn’t the devil, just me. You were passed out!

  • Elizabeth

    these guys definitely put how Edward is viewed in perspective. Edward is only really guilty of being possessive and watching Bella sleep. He never hurts her physically and yes, she is a wreck when he is gone but that is her own doing. Owen you forgot “Last Tango in Paris” okay yes this story is supposed to be sexually perverse but really? Brando is torturous. And also what about pretty much any movie made before 1960?

    • AllieBoBallie

      I will forever be traumatized by Brando’s use of butter in the film. It’s the stuff of a baker’s nightmares. Good call.

  • Secular Friend

    I’ve been waiting for someone to point out that The Graduate glorifies stalking. I wish people understand that stalking behavior isn’t appropriate, regardless of the crap Hollywood wants you to believe.

    • Secular Friend

      Sorry, *understood. Or *would understand

    • jenn

      Yes, when a guy does it it’s romantic, but when a girl does it she’s a crazy psycho b i t c h.

      • CHRISTINE

        YOU COULD NOT HAVE SAID THAN ANY BETTER.

      • CHRISTINE

        SORRY IT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE “THAT”

      • mia

        AMEN

    • Jess

      Does anyone really look at “The Graduate” as a romantic movie? I know I sure didn’t…

      • Jennie

        No way. It’s not romantic at all. Their relationship is horribly depressing.

  • Elizabeth

    Can we also make a point in saying that in horror movies often times we are given the point of view shot of the killer-wanting you to side with the murderous psycho. Some people egg the killer on to kill a poor unsuspecting newly devirginized young girl. And these killers stalk their victims worse than any of the above characters mention. Give me Edward Cullen or Johnny Castle any day over a psycho with a mask, a knife, and a strong urge to stab me.

  • Ellie

    elizabeth – Edward is guilty of more than being possessive and watching Bella sleep. He is a stalker. He followed her to Port Angeles (sp)and in Midnight Sun, he calls himself a stalker more than a few times. We see him watching her at school on the days he can’t attend, listening to other people’s thoughts so he can keep track of her. this more than defines stalker to me. I still love him though. I just never had a problem with him being called a stalker when he says he is one himself.

    • AJ

      He went to Port Angeles to protect her. Alice foresaw the gang-rape attempt, and Edward went to save her.
      And name one vampire whodoe NOT stalk his lady love, whether Angel (stalker! see s1 of “Buffy”), Bill of “True Blood,” Stefan of “Vamp Diaries,” et al. VAMPIRES STALK, and as Owen pointed out tounge-in-cheek, it’s one of their nicer potential acts.
      Give up on vampire tales if the stalking bothers you–because they ALL do it.

      • soweird666

        I can think one vampire who doesn’t stalk his lady love. Lestat de Lioncourt from The Vampire Chronicles. And that’s because most of his loves are guys.

    • Jennifer

      Edward might have been joking when he called himself a stalker. I don’t think he was serious. In Eclipse, sure it was wrong of him to dismantle her car when she wanted to see Jacob, But after Jacob showed up at Bella’s school on his motorcycle and took her away while she was still “kidnapped” by the Cullens, Edward admitted later to Bella that he was wrong to be so possessive of her. Jealousy and stalking are not always intertwined with each other.

    • Angie

      When you’re in love with someone, don’t you also want to be near them all the time, even when you can’t? I don’t think he’s a stalker, I think he is behaving the sameas most of us girls would… walking past the guys house 100 times, just in case we catch a glimpse of him? I know that most of my friends were like that in high school.

  • Elizabeth

    I would also like to point out that isn’t it true that if we have facebook or myspace that we are all guilty of stalking? In the cyberworld I mean. We look at our friend’s profiles, their photos, their status updates and more…we now know more about their lives than they could tell us directly.

    • Alissa

      not really. I understand your idea, but our friends control what is put on their profile for the public to see. and if they’re not your friends, they have the capability to turn their privacy so that you cannot see their profile. everything you know about someone’s life from facebook is something that they ARE basically telling you directly. besides, more often, people have a tendency to misread status updates, etc, in which case you’re not really knowing anything, but simply assuming.

    • Whatever

      Not at all. People are voluntarily on social networks. Those who watch what they post can’t be accused of stalking.

      • Ambient Lite

        Stalker!!! heh

    • fred

      People are really getting too upset about this. Stalking is a horrible act and i don’t think anyone would deny this fact. the movie is not real…it’s for fun…do girls (of all ages!) act obsessed? yes, again, it’s fun! if you are really trying to find deeper issues in twilight i would think when he grabs her arm and drags her up the hill would get more outrage (i haven’t seen that comment anywhere?). teen years are all about obsession with boys, looks, fitting in, etc. relax! i’m sure i’ll have a million comments on spelling, grammar, etc. have fun! (like we do with twilight!)

      • Muffy

        Owen is a male feminazi. The James Bond one is highlirous. JB didn’t rape any of those women, they wanted to sleep with Bond.

    • Kelly

      Fact: The reason teenage girls (and countless adult women) glorify Edward is because they want to be stalked. At least, they think they do (ask someone who HAS been stalked for the nasty reality). It has a lot to do with the last several decades of rearing children to have entitlement complexes – love isn’t love unless dramatic and will sweep you off your feet; it’s not something you have to work at to hang on to that fire; there is no compromise and there doesn’t have to be (see vastly growing divorce rates). Girls see someone wanting/needing to be with them all the time in Edward – a strong, stable (compared to the girl) force in their lives that appears to be smarter and better than them in every way (getting something they really don’t deserve), and being reassured that it is truly possible someone highly sensual and brilliant will be attracted to them even when they are plain and have basically no friends (and really don’t have any goals or aspirations, not trying to better themselves in any way). Edward is Bella’s crutch. Of course she’s obsessed with him. Of course so many girls (and women) who read the series are. Why believe that the best things in life are hard? Too much effort.

      • Melissa

        Right on, Kelly. I agree. Most people I know who love this series are the types who get frustrated when relationships don’t come to them easily. Thank you for making sense.

      • mck

        Bravo. Perfectly said. Young girls must learn to read these books objectively.

  • ash

    Again, you’re ignoring the fact that none of these movies had an international following of millions and millions of impressionable teenage girls, who are convinced Edward is the perfect guy!

    • AK

      Yeah, that’s the real problem here. When teenage girls start idolizing Benjamin Braddock and James Bond as much as Edward Cullen, then we can talk. But just because Hollywood has been doing it forever doesn’t make it any more right in this era.

      • Alissa

        I agree completely with both of these comments.

      • Silv

        Wait, how is James Bond considered a stalker? He’s a government agent whose job it is to go after the “bad guys” and get them by any means possible – including blurring certain lines.

        As for “role models” – no one plans on their novels becoming role models for the readers, same for movie characters. That anyone takes them on as their role models signifies an immaturity of character that needs guidance, and taking their examples as guidance is a poor shortcut towards maturity.

      • Whitney

        Silv – nobody’s same that James Bond is a stalker. AK’s just picking two people from Owen’s list. Bond was noted for his loving and leaving women.

    • Alichat

      Not true. Pretty Woman, Say Anything, Dirty Dancing, and even The Sound of Music had and still have HUGE followings (domestically and internationally) comprised of impressionable teenage girls.

      And let’s not forget that The Graduate, Manhattan, Vertigo, Gone With the Wind…..all are studied in high school and college film classes and held up as artistic masterpieces.

      • Alissa

        they are famous movies, they are wellknown and popular, women and teenage girls buy them. they are nowhere near the mass hysteria caused by Twilight, and I’ve never heard anyone say that any of the men in those movies is the perfect man that they are looking for. girls have broken up with their REAL boyfriends because they want a man closer to Edward.

      • el

        maybe so, but i’d totally take rhett butler over edward cullen

      • Ambient Lite

        Yep, Dirty Dancing was HUGE. I would consider it the swooning tween girls movie of my generation. And it was fraught with sexist and inappropriate messages.
        I think I was only 12 or 13 when I first saw that movie, and I had no problem grasping the concept that it was fiction.

      • Whatever

        The fact that those movie show reprehensible behavior should not prevent them for being studied in class ! Even if a story is morally wrong doesn’t not make it a masterpiece. Otherwise, let’s just study the Bible !! (only the New Testament because “wrong” is pretty much all what’s in the old one). :)

      • too old for these comments

        ambient lite is right. Dirty Dancing was, (dare I say it?) bigger than Twilight back in the day. i was one of those tweens. people need to chill out about twilight. it’s just a movie. enjoy it or move on. let’s not forget about grease (not really the role model of female self-assuredness) or even Almost Famous where the female lead was a groupie no less. still great movies! :)

      • Sarah

        Haha, the last part of Alissa’s comment is hilarious. My friend dated a guy who claimed he had just been dumped because he wasn’t enough like Edward Cullen. Seriously? Girls like that have WAY bigger issues. They’d be that crazy even without Twilight. They’d be dumping guys because they aren’t enough like Captain Jack Sparrow or a Jonas Brother or some nonsense.

      • Muffy

        Julia Roberts’ character was hoooker. I guess Owen forgot what a Hooker’s job is. Richard’s character respects her as a person, and he helps her change her ways.

    • levelheaded

      I agree with you in that respect. I think its important to talk about the messages we get from movies. Even when they’re supposed to be simple ‘entertainment’.

      I think the best thing to do is to say out loud “The rules for movies, tv shows, and other entertainment are different than in real life”. And list and talk about the difference. For example.

      Daughter: “Edward is the perfect boyfriend.”

      Mother/Father/Teacher/Sibling/Friend: “Really, don’t you think he’s kind of overpowering? I mean, I like someone to look out for me, but he kind of takes it overboard. Maybe that’s because he wants suck her blood. See just when you discuss the fact that he is a VAMPIRE, makes comparing his behavior in the books and film to real life seem silly. But Robert Pattinson is pretty hot, and he doesn’t suck people’s blood.”

    • Jos

      I think it just seems so big because it’s going on now and probably most people posting here were not born or just children when any of the movies listed were shown. Also, we have greater access to media – books and movies – than ever before and that contributes to the phenomena as well.

    • Kari

      The question is, does the Twilight series handicap girls from recognizing unhealthy behavior from prospective partners? Save for maybe a few clueless women, loving a fictional character who is a stalker and loving a man who is a stalker are vastly different things.

      • Alex

        A few clueless women? Have you seen some of the merchandise for this franchise?? Have you read even just some of the comments here defending the character’s actions? I’ve known a lot of very vulnerable girls, lots who grew up without a healthy parental relationship to model or anyone to tell them how full of crap this sort of supposed ‘beautiful romance’ is who are certainly influenced by this rubbish. Not to mention the scary amount of 30/ 40 -something women now spending all their free time rhapsodising to other sad women how they’ve retreated from reality to the fantasy world of Twilight, having given up on their husbands because they aren’t ‘like Edward’. I’ve known a few girls who did find someone ‘like Edward’ and all of those ended up with restraining orders. It’s great that you apparently come from such a supportive and stable background but unfortunately too many girls don’t and are drawn to unhealthy crap like this.

      • Molly

        Excellent point, Alex. Just want to say, though, that although there are tons of merchandise being peddled on Twilight’s behalf, I have yet to see anyone, either over or under the age of 18, wearing/carrying any of it, and I live in suburban Chicago.

      • ash

        thank you alex i completely agree

    • windycityexpat

      yes, there may be countless women who believe that the Edward personification is the perfect male. but why isn’t anyone talking about how the female PHYSICAL body has been unrealistically portrayed for eons. playboy, anyone?

  • Mary Q. Contrary

    Word, Owen.

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      And right on about Gone With The Wind. It was my second favorite movie as a kid, but that scene always bothered me, which kind of sucks, because it’s one of those scenes that’s supposed to reinforce that Rhett is what Scarlett needs most. Ridiculous.

  • kelsey

    Very glad to see Pretty Woman on this list. I cannot enjoy that movie at all.

    • Lindsay

      Gah me neither. Prostitution isn’t generally a fun-time happy shopping extravaganza, and its rather stupid to pretend otherwise.

  • Alissa

    it is important to note that, while popular, many of these films depict behaviors that are generally discouraged by the public (Gere buying prostitutes, 42 yo dating a 17 yo, that whole plotline of Vertigo). I’m not sure that just because other characters exhibit similar or worse behaviors make Edward Cullen less of a creep, especially since many of these movies are over twenty years old. The most recent example comes from 19 years ago, with the exception of the James Bond films…but that character has been developed since, what, the seventies? What I mean to say is, just because it has happened in the past, shouldn’t that mean that we stop supporting that behavior in movies now and move towards more socially acceptable behaviors than standing in a girl’s bedroom watching her sleep before you even form a relationship with her.

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      But that would be taking away the privilege of using whatever voice or character they want to make a film. I can think of so many movies in recent memory that feature a character with shady or just downright deplorable hobbies. American Psycho, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (which is based on the life of an actual person, no less), Iron Man? Not to mention the TV show Dexter, which so easily gets the viewer to root for the serial killer. It’s within an individual’s right to choose what he or she wants out of a character, or in the case of minors, their parents.

      • Alissa

        I think all of the examples you mentioned make it pretty clear that there is something wrong with those characters, even if they don’t explicitly say it. it’s not so much the fact that Edward displays disturbing behavior, but that nobody comments on it being creepy. does that make sense? writers have all the liberty they want in creating a character, but I think society has a place to say that he’s NOT perfect, but that they have an unhealthy relationship. I don’t feel that anyone mentions anything remotely unhealthy about Bella and Edward’s relationship. the only thing I can think of is her dad saying how she is coping with the breakup is unhealthy, and that’s not the same thing.

  • JJ

    Notice the years on those movies? Using movies from the 60s isn’t helping your case that Edward isn’t a creepy stalker and that Bella is a pathetic loser doormat.

    • Luddite

      Not to mention that I’ve never seen anyone hold these other films up as a paragon of feminism or a triumph for women and girls.

    • Cora

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. None of these movies were made after 1990. In the past 20 years, it appears that most of us have gotten beyond glorifying this kind of behavior as romantic.

  • Dan

    Don’t forget There’s Something About Mary. That whole movie is about a bunch of stalkers, although it is played for comedic effect.

    • Ambient Lite

      Right. And we accept it for what it is (a comedy). Let’s accept Twilight for what it is (a romantic fantasy).

      • wendyk

        Amen.

      • Brooke

        But what’s ROMANTIC about stalking? Fantasy, sure, but romantic?

      • Ambient Lite

        Brooke, tell me exactly how Edward is a stalker. Stalking is unwanted and invasive. Edward and Bella are in love with each other.

      • Duh

        Ambient Lite, isn’t that what stalkers think in their head while stalking? I’m sure there are other reasons, but alot of the time you hear about someone who just got dumped and can’t let the other person go because “they are so in love”. The argument that they are in love doesn’t excuse Edward being a stalker.

      • Ambient Lite

        Duh – you obviously don’t know the stories. The girl that Edward is supposedly stalking is in love with him. Stalking is unwanted. They are in a relationship with each other. She unequivocally wants him to be there. THAT excuses him from being a stalker.

  • KRG

    Ultimate stalker flick..There’s Something about Mary..’

  • Izzie

    You forgot the Phantom of the Opera. Dude, the Phantom was the SCARIEST STALKER EVER. And the scariest killer D:
    And yeah, Twilight is kind of sexist (oops, now the fangirls are coming after me!). Almost all of the female characters in Twilight do nothing for themselves, only for men. Oh, and Bella is SUCH a doormat, like you said.

    • Leigh

      Agreed. I love The Phantom of the Opera, both the book and the musical, but the phantom is a stalker. Having said that, though, Christine doesn’t choose the stalker in the end. She’s enthralled by his voice and all that, but she chooses Raoul. As far as Twilight being sexist, I agree to an extent. Bella is definitely a doormat and is too dependent on men. But I think Alice, Leah, and Rosalie are pretty strong females. It’s unfortunate that the main character is the worst character in the books.

      • Kelsey

        Yep. The books would be so much more enjoyable if Bella wasn’t in them, which is pretty sad when the main character of the series is the worst part of it. O_O

    • Mary

      Gotta defend POTO, one of my favorites. Yes, he killed, and is pretty much a stalker. But, he was never treated with kindness and love because of his face. As Christine said, “What kind of life have you known?” And when Christine shows him that love by kissing him, some might say he’s redeemed. So, at least for me, the Phantom being a stalker really didn’t bother me since that’s the whole premise of the show/film. He “haunts” the opera house.

      • Amy

        Read the original book by Gaston Leroux. The Phantom in the original suffered from an affliction that caused him to look (and smell) like a corpse, according to one of the descriptions in the novel. Likewise, he is the absolute epitome of the creepy murderous stalker, quite different from the romanticized version of the musical.

      • Katie

        But see, Amy, you mention the phantom in the context of his appearance. If Edward Cullen looked and smelled like a corpse, would he be as romanticized, or would he be as much of a “creepy murderous stalker” as the phantom in the novel?
        It amazes me how so few people are speaking honestly and frankly about the role appearances play in Edward’s appeal, and the role they play in people’s abilities to so easily dismiss his actions.

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