Hello, darlings. =)
Since introducing my Bellaesque rating system, I’ve begun receiving quite a few e-Mails informing me just how horrible and delusional and just plain weird I am for hoping against hope that the female protagonists that I’m reading about are as opposite of Bella Swan as they can possibly be.
A few of the messages actually ask me -why- and the people seemed genuinely interested. So, I will tell all of you why I rate the female protags on a scale of Bellaesque or Non-Bellaesque.
First of all, the books are absolute trash when it comes to the writing itself. Grammatical errors abound. The pacing is atrocious. The character development is decidedly lacking. Where was the editor? Was there an editor? But, hey, I could forgive all that if the -story- was good. But…well, it wasn’t.
Bella Swan has no personality. She is an underdeveloped character who is so basic, plain, boring, and empty that I’m surprised she was even able to exist in the imagination of the author. Her thought processes consist of – “Does Edward like me? Why does Edward not like me? Am I too ugly for the gorgeousness that is Edward? Do I stink? I really wish Edward liked me.” Oh, I can’t forget the first day of school thoughts of oh great, my truck won’t stand out! oh super, my skin won’t stand out! (What?) One of my fave parts is when Jessica is introducing Bella to her friends and Bella forgets all their names as soon as they’ve been said. For that matter, she doesn’t remember Jessica’s name til two pages later. But good old Eddie? Soon as Jessica tells Bella what the beautiful boy’s name is, Bella remembers. Superficial much?
She’s already read all the assigned English materials, she’s already covered all the biology material. She’s bored in class and has nothing better to do than worry about why Eddie doesn’t like her strawberry scented hair. Hmm. Yes, Mrs. Meyer, we’re seeing that you want us to think of Bella as fairly perfect. Before the end of Chapter 1 we have Eric, Mike, and Eddie all frothing at the mouth over her. Wooow!
I could go on. I could rant about how she becomes the house-slave to her father (cooking and cleaning for him non-stop, it seems) as soon as she arrives in town. I could moan and groan about the incessant whining that Bella does about her “self imposed purgatory” in Forks. I could ponder on how it seems Stephenie Meyers likes to stick her female characters into traditional housewife style roles. But I won’t. I’ll just…go on.
Once we’ve gotten beyond the “Eddie doesn’t liiiiike me” whining, and we’ve moved into the “romance” portion of things, the real creep factor sets in. Edward watches her sleep. He follows her when she goes on outings with her friends. He’s creeptastic. He is the ultimate stalker.
Then the breakup. Bella spends three or four months in a mostly catatonic state (seriously?) and then basically tries to find ways to commit suicide without actually committing suicide. She acts like a pathetic little girl whose existence literally means nothing to her if she’s not snuggled up against Edward.
Did I mention the part where Edward (and all of the “vampires” in Stephenie Meyer’s little world) SPARKLES? Like…glittery? Diamonds? Whatever…dazzles…in the sunlight? That’s right, folks, no melting in the sunlight – we go all Sanrio and start sparkling! Because that’s what teenage girls like to see, is sparkles! Right? I’m surprised that she didn’t make them pink.
While I can appreciate a new spin on old lore, really, that’s just silly. She couldn’t figure out how to get around the walking in daylight bit, so she just made them glitter-coated? That’s just a trifle lazy, I think.
Annnnyway. Another of my favorite bits of this cheeesefest of doom was the romance between Bella and Eddie. Bella wants to make sweet, sweet love to Edward. Edward won’t unless they’re married. Bella doesn’t want to get married because she’s too young. But Bella also wants Eddie to turn her into a vampire so she doesn’t get old and wrinkly while he just stays young and gorgeous. Are you confused? Yeah, me too. UGH.
This series is crap. Yes, kids will read it. Yes, it’s sold millions upon millions of copies. Yes, Stephenie Meyer, her agent, publicists, publishers, editors, whatever – are probably rolling in the dough. Good for them, super, yay!
But the books are trash.
They teach young, impressionable girls that relying on a man for your very existence is normal and good and even encouraged. It shows these same impressionable young girls that going to college? Exploring the world? Getting to know yourself? What do those things matter when you have a hunky boyfriend! Lets all get married at 19 and have a baby and live like happy little housewives in happy little towns because it’s just so PERFECT!
Will I let my children read these books? Sure. I’m not one to prevent anyone from reading what they want to read – but geez, I hope by then that I’ve taught them to have a little more respect for themselves than Bella has for herself.
So, there you go people. I call a protagonist Bellaesque if she’s an utter flake with no personality and a reliance on others that borders on obsessive. I call a protagonist Non-Bellaesque when she’s got a brain in her head and knows how to use it.
Feel free to leave comments, they’re only moderated if WordPress thinks you’re a spammer and I check them daily. But if you want to call me out and tell me I’m wrong when I say Bella has no independent nature at all – please do cite an example. I’d love to see!