The Twilight series is one that people have many opinions on, and it’s a franchise that has received its fair share of criticism. While sometimes the people who hate on the saga are coming from a sexist place, there are also many valid critiques of the story. However, some of the biggest problems aren’t often brought up, or they are ignored by both fans and critics alike.
Of course, this isn’t to say that fans can’t enjoy Twilight, and it is important to analyze where the hatred of the series originally came from. However, there are some overlooked issues that need to be talked about more.
Edward’s stalking behavior
This is obviously a huge concern, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. However, it is one of the main issues that is pointed out across the board, so it’s not higher on the list because of that.
However, the way that Edward’s behavior of stalking Bella, watching her sleep, and controlling where she went is portrayed as romantic is definitely a problem.
Jacob, the male lead of color, is turned into a predatory jerk
Jacob Black starts out having a very sweet personality and being a likable, interesting character. However, as time goes on, he becomes more and more of a jerk who tries to manipulate Bella into loving him. While neither Edward or Jacob are without flaws, Jacob’s behavior becomes more and more troubling and ends with him improving on a baby. But, Jacob is fictional, so all of these things were choices made by the author.
It is unfortunate that the Native American lead is clearly shown to be worse.
Most of the female characters have traumatic backstories
Fans love learning about the backstories of many of the main characters, especially the Cullen family because many of them have been alive so long. And, while most of the family members have some sad things that happened in their past, there’s a recurring and problematic pattern of female characters being physically or sexually abused.
This happens to Rosalie, Esme, Alice, and even Bella who is often met with a lot of violence at the hands of villains like James.
The treatment of Leah Clearwater
As old and new fans re-discovered Twilight recently, more people have been pointing out some of the problems that were mostly ignored when the series first came out. One of these is the treatment of Leah Clearwater.
She had the potential to be a well-written character as the only woman who was a shape-shifter, but instead, she was mostly made into a scorned ex-lover who all the other pack members couldn’t stand. She also never got any sort of happy ending, and as the only notable female character of color, it’s pretty messed up.
It pushes a very conservative view of sexuality and marriage
Most fans of the series are aware of Stephenie Meyer’s religious background, and while there’s nothing wrong with choosing to wait for marriage, there is a noticeable religious undertone in the books.
While this might be a plus for some people and a minus for others, these books aren’t expressly supposed to be religious. However, most of the relationships in the books are highly traditional and even filled with traditional gender roles.
The vampires are overall painted to be better than the werewolves
The werewolves, who are really more like shapeshifters, have a fascinating backstory and also ties to the real-life Quileute tribe. However, it doesn’t feel like they got their due.
The story focuses more on the Cullens, and they are made to be extremely lovable and desirable. While Bella does care about the werewolves, too, they don’t get as much attention as they deserve.
There is no LGBTQ+ representation
Given the traditional undertones of the books, it’s not a surprise that there isn’t any LGBTQ+ representation. When the books were released, this was fairly common for most YA romance, but it is still a rather big omission as the books aren’t that old.
The story definitely feels very heteronormative and portrays one kind of relationship as the ideal and right one. It also seems a little silly that there would be no LGBTQ+ characters given that many of the characters are immortal beings.
Jacob assaulted Bella and it’s barely addressed
This is another issue that more people have been talking about recently than when the books and movies first came out. While Edward does exhibit some controlling and borderline abusive behaviors, Jacob crosses the line into full-on assault when he kisses Bella after she tells him no.
He’s also very forceful about it, and yet it’s never even seen as that big of a deal by most of the characters, including Bella.
Jacob and Renesmee
While there is an explanation for imprinting given in the books that is supposed to make this relationship not seem creepy, it’s hard to ignore the way it looks. Regardless of the rationalization, Jacob becomes extremely attached to a baby and sticks by her side her entire life until she, at the ripe old age of seven as for some reason she ages quickly and then stops, starts to date him.
It absolutely reads like grooming, and there’s something extremely gross about it.
Issues with racial diversity
On the one hand, there was a lot of potential for great diversity given that many characters were Native American, but as mentioned above, these characters weren’t always handled that well.
And, as far as the movie goes, Jacob Black was played by a non-native actor. There’s also the accusations that director Catherine Hardwicke made about how Stephenie Meyer didn’t want any of the vampires to be anything but white