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Would Bella Celebrate Women’s History Month?

March 2, 2010

Whether Bella is a feminist character and whether the saga itself is feminist, anti-feminist, or falls somewhere in-between is subject to many debates (as here, here, and here). However, one thing I think we can safely assume is that Bella would likely NOT celebrate women’s history month. Yes, she seems to be critical of possible misogyny in Shakespeare’s plays, and yes, she admires some great female authors, BUT she hardly seems the type to wear a “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt (more likely, she would wear something along the non-feminist lines of “I have OCD: Obsessive Cullen Disorder” or “Edward can BUST my headboard, BITE my pillows, and BRUISE my body ANYDAY!”

Bella loves her some Bronte and has her share of brave/wise moments, yet all her courage seems fueled by her Edward-devotion and all her wisdom pales in comparison to all that cooking she does for Charlie… Sadly, she seems more someone Dr. Laura would approve of than the type to be reading around the feminist blogosphere for advice on “what to do when your vampire man won’t stop watching you sleep.”

However, I think there is a feminist inside Bella just waiting to come out ( – and, no, I don’t mean Renesmee). I think feminist Bells could call for a re-tooling of the vampire world to make it less patriarchal. She would not only read Austen, but also Lorde, Anzaldua, and Butler. She would call for the writing of Quileute women into history in keeping with this year’s theme for National Women’s History Month, Writing Women Back into History.

Alas, for Bella to be a heroine that would celebrate women’s history, we would need an author more interested in writing women back into history – not into a romantic dream world.

As noted at the National Women’s History Project website, “The history of women often seems to be written with invisible ink. Even when recognized in their own times, women are often not included in the history books.” Whether Meyer goes down in the history books remains to be seen, at the very least, hopefully the millions of Twi-fans will be inspired by her history making saga to pen a more woman-valuing future – one in which the sky – rather than baby and marriage at 18 – is the limit.

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