I have a passionate love for Edward Cullen, a fictional character introduced to the world through Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. I think he is dreamy. If it's possible to devour the books, I did so. When I got the next book in the series, I had an unwavering focus (which is so, so rare to find in me) on reading them as thoroughly and quickly as possible, just to have more Edward in my life.
All that being said, I do have some issues with the books. Mainly in form of their female heroine, Bella Swan. I just submitted the following proposal to sit on a panel about Twilight, to discuss Twilight and gender:
Not since J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have we seen a Young Adult series become such a sensation with adult readers. The four books in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series reinforce the idea of “one perfect mate” and that nothing can stand in the way of true love. It’s a compelling story, but what message is it sending to readers? The heroine, Bella Swan, is portrayed as a young woman who is socially awkward, clumsy, and helpless without the support of a man. Bella consistently puts herself in dangerous situations, yet always gets saved by one of the men in her life (Edward or Jacob). Not only do the books suggest that Bella would be unable to survive on her own, the character of Bella also seems to be modeled after the ideal conservative female...save yourself for marriage, marry young, and under no circumstances is abortion an option, even if having the baby could kill you. Twenty years ago, the female heroines in young adult books were running their own small businesses (The Babysitter’s Club) or editing the school newspaper (Sweet Valley High). Does the popularity of the Twilight series signal a shift to a more “traditional” female ideal?