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Thoughts on Breaking Dawn’s Second Trailer, by Naomi, age 12

October 3, 2011

The most recent Breaking Dawn trailer is very dramatic with suspenseful music and lots of action. The end of the trailer focuses on how the werewolves are ready to kill Bella. The sexism that this is representing is very clear to me.

For one, it seems that everyone is pressuring Bella, the woman, to give up her baby. Don’t get the wrong impression. I do not agree that Bella should give up everything to be a mother nor am I like people who are against abortion because of the constant messages it is supposedly murder. But I do think Bella should be able to make her own decision and the males in the movie should give Bella some respect. For example, Edward and Jacob would give up anything for Bella, just like she hopes to do for her baby, yet they won’t allow her the freedom to make her own choice.


Another very disturbing message I got from the most recent trailer is that Edward can, just like the popular t-shirt, bite the pillows, bruise Bella’s body and bust the headboard without causing emotional trauma. If this were to happen to a real woman, it would classify as sexual violence. In the trailer, this event is classified as “their best night ever.” As clueless as Bella is to this abuse, others may say it is alright because the Edward suffers and feels bad for what he has done. Does this really make a difference? No, it doesn’t. Bella is still injured and her continued desire for him suggests she thinks his violence is ok.

It seemed that even though the two different versions of the Breaking Dawn trailer were quite different that there basic message was the same. The first trailer was building up on the wedding and the honeymoon. This is the basic story of how Bella and Edward can live a happy full life without having to worry about what kinds of things others are feeling or what consequences their love will have on others. For example, Jacob, who they have both put through so much pain, and now they expect him to show up just to be disappointed at seeing the woman he loves get married to his primary enemy.

The second trailer is based on how Bella gets pregnant and is dying and becoming weaker by the second while many are planning to kill her. This is again a message that the two who truly love each other can always make it through if only they love each other enough. It’s Disney all over. Also, once again it seems the woman has to face the difficulties when the man is the one who always saves the day. In the first trailer Bella has to do something she wishes not to, get married to Edward, and in the second trailer she has to go through the pain of saving her pregnancy while others torment her about her choice to keep it.

Even two and a half minutes of preview can bring harmful messages to those who can’t truly understand the problems with this sort of setup. This is a reminder: everything is more than it looks like if you read between the lines.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. LisaVH permalink
    October 3, 2011 1:07 pm

    I really think that we have gone too far. The over analyzation of this story is reaching at best. At this point in the story, the events have been set in motion and the parameters of the universe created have been established. Edward’s so-called violence towards Bella is a result of his physical body and not by any intentional or unintentional malice.

    The werewolves are understandably concerned about the fate of their people and that of the world thru their fears of the ‘creature’ that Bella is carrying. The reader, knowing the history of the tribe, would not accept a reality where they do not try to act on their beliefs. They are torn between their love for Bella and their sense of duty and right.

    The idea that Bella is portrayed at the martyr as a result of the toll that the pregnancy is taking on her is misplaced. The reader again would not accept a reality where she breezes through a pregnancy of this sort. The child she carries is a foreign ‘creature’ (for lack of a better word). Based on the physical properties of the vampires that the author has established dictate that this would be the result. The point of this part of the story is Bella’s love for Edward and the child that they have created. She puts herself through this for the sake of her baby and is a beautiful thing, not the example of male-centered sexism that the blogger above has proposed. Those around her torment her not to keep it to save her own life. They love her and know that the child she is carrying is too different from her on a physical level and will result in her death. Edward is practically destroyed watching her suffer and it kills him knowing that it is HER CHOICE that is putting her in danger.

    The idea that Jacob should be a reason for Edward and Bella not to pursue their feelings is unreasonable. Often, our actions have consequences that affect those around us. One should not take away from this that personal happiness should be denied just because someone else would not understand or be adversely affected emotionally. Jacob is responsible for his own emotions and the reactions to them. He saw going in that Bella loved Edward and both Jacob and Edward did things to push and pull Bella their way. If anything, we should be condemning Jacob and Edward for unfairly hurting Bella for their own gain. However, that is how real life is. People do things for their own benefit. At this point in the story, the author is just displaying human nature. The story would not have been as compelling or believable if all the characters involved were emotionally mature and responsible. If everyone did the ‘right thing’, this would have been a very boring story.

    • Natalie Wilson permalink*
      October 3, 2011 3:07 pm

      Have you read previous comment threads? They have addressed the fact that there is no such thing as “over-analyzation.” Further, just because the “parameters of the universe” have been set, doesn’t mean we can’t analyze those parameters. The point made by the guest author is that Bella is not allowed the same freedom/power as Jacob and Edward. The author argues this is sexist. As you suggest later in your comment, the author agrees that Edward and Jacob are “hurting Bella for their own gain.” Also, I question your use of “human nature” — for one, it goes against your “created universe” argument, for two, it suggests that human activity exists OUTSIDE of culture, which it does not. I would argue there is no human nature per se, but human culture and what becomes “natural” is a result of socialization. Finally, of course the story needs to be complex to be interesting, but it need not be promoting sexism nor the idea that females are only good at falling in love and having babies, as this post suggests.

  2. Jessica permalink
    October 3, 2011 8:41 pm

    I wonder if Romeo and Juliet was analyzed like this? I’m thinking NOT! I agree with everything LisaVH has stated. this is the worst review I have ever read. Maybe things like this should be written by someone who actually can get into the movie with out an adult!

    • Natalie Wilson permalink*
      October 4, 2011 12:54 am

      The twelve-year-old author of the post responded with “Wow. People are really mean.”

  3. October 3, 2011 11:53 pm

    Wow, way to hate on a TWELVE YEAR OLD writer. Twi-fans have often been framed as being very supportive and friendly. Guess that does not always hold true. And, Romeo and Juliet is by Shakespeare. Perhaps you have heard of him? Perhaps you are aware there are reams of books, hundreds of scholars, and zillions of articles analyzing that play? Did you know there is something called literary ANALYSIS? It is a well respected academic discipline. If by “like this” you meant in terms of its representation of love, gender, sexuality, and so on, well, yes, much analysis of the play exists in those veins. In future, maybe comments on this blog should be restricted to people who want to think, not those who wish to bully young writers and offer knee-jerk reactions that contain no analysis. Oh, but I forgot you are anti-analysis. Maybe you should stick to reading celebri-blogs. Wouldn’t want to THINK now would we?

  4. Leah permalink
    October 4, 2011 12:15 am

    I don’t think it is fair to classify Edward and Bella’s consensual sexual relationship as abuse. I realize that the guest author is a minor so I won’t elaborate on this too much. It is not up to the outside world to judge and dictate the way a sexual act should be performed if it is consensual and enjoyed by both parties. If the roles were flipped and Bella had bruised Edward (assuming it was possible and he wasn’t a vampire) this would not be an issue. Analyzing and critiquing books/movies/television that are mainstream is perfectly fine and sometimes necessary, but one must always consider their value system that they are ascribing to the media. If the claim is that the the portrayal of the act is inappropriate for young impressionable girls, that is perfectly fine, because it does not portray a balanced example of healthy sexual relationships. The issue then lies in who the book is targeted to, and perhaps that should be where the lobbying is focused. However, as an adult I have absolutely no problem with what transpired between them in the bedroom. I don’t think I would want my young daughter to be influenced by it, but that would be a choice to either not allow her to see it or an opportunity to have a discussion about how she made meaning from that scene.

    As for the abortion/pro-choice argument, I am not exactly sure what the problem is. Choosing not to have an abortion is not anti-feminist. Whether Stephenie Meyer was pushing her pro-life agenda or not is up for debate, but I personally don’t think that was her intention. I felt she gave a balanced representation of both sides of the argument and in the end Bella was supported by one of the strongest females in the series. Bella was able to make her choice based on what she felt was right, which as I understand feminism is the basis of the pro-choice argument. I am pro-choice, but it does not mean that I would ever make the choice to have an abortion. It means I do no judge or persecute those who do.

    I have many, many issues with the series, based on race and white privilege, and love conquering all. I especially have issues with Jacob being allowed, and encouraged, to assault Bella, as well as issues with the push for young girls to find true love and give up any dreams and aspirations to be with their men. I do not however, have issues with the above arguments.

    • Natalie Wilson permalink*
      October 4, 2011 12:52 am

      Leah, I agree that Edward’s and Bella’s sex is consensual, but someone in another thread brought up an interesting point that I would love your thoughts on – s/he said that even in BDSM, when one partner “passes out,” there can no longer be consent. The way the honeymoon scene is written, many details are left out, but Bella wakes up with a lack of memory, not realizing she is covered in bruises. Thus, we don’t know for sure if she was awake/conscience the entire time. Plus, as we are not given details, we don’t know if there was consent for that much bruising to occur. It’s tricky terrain, but saying “yes” to sex does not mean “yes” to anything that might occur during the sexual act and all people should have the opportunity to say “no” at any point or “no” to certain directions the sexual act is taking. As the text doesn’t tell us Bella okay’d the violence, it does, to my mind, leave open the door to read it as abuse, especially as Edward has been controlling/abusive before and the book condones sexual violence elsewhere (as with Sam, Jacob).
      And I am not sure about your use of the term “lobbying.” I don’t see myself lobbying for anything with my work in any direct way – instead, I am hoping to promote deeper engagement with and analysis of popular culture. I don’t have a problem with the fact the book was targeted at a teen audiences nor that it portrays sex. I do question some of the romanticization of violence that occurs in the texts though – and this concerns me for ALL ages as we have such a problematic tendency to act as if violence is sexy in our culture. I am not referring here to BDSM or consensual sex acts, but to sexual violence, rape, sexual assault and so on.
      I totally agree that choosing to not have an abortion is not anti-feminist, but the guest post is arguing what IS anti-feminist is Jacob and Edward trying to make the decision FOR Bella.
      Thanks for your thoughts, and I look forward to hearing more.

  5. Naomi permalink
    October 4, 2011 1:46 am

    Jessica, if you did not realize from the title, I am 12. I think you might want to be a little more careful what you say to a kid. I am sorry you did not enjoy the article, but this blog is for analyzing things. I stated my view and opinion of the Breaking Dawn trailer and I am not making you agree with my statements. I think it is crucial to realize I am young and am just starting to blog. Also, I assume you wrote that comment without putting my feelings in mind. Yes, I did feel a little upset that this is “the worst review ever” according to you. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I am guessing you do not have kids yourself so you don’t understand how sensitive they can be. So for future you might want to think to minimize your criticism when writing to a child. We should be encouraging children to think outside the box instead of bringing them down with rude comments.

  6. Yasie permalink
    October 4, 2011 4:20 am

    I am super impressed by a 12-year old’s writing ability. It gives me great pleasure to know that the next generation is out there an interested in reading/writing.

    My critique is of the content and not the person. I have stated in all of my comments of the posts NOT done by a young person but by the Proffessor herself and other students of the course, that the inferences made from the story have all been over-reached and taken so far out of context that it amazes me that even I still have the sadistic need to follow the blog.

    From crying forced religion to domestic violence, and to even claim that having the wolves in the story is an insult to the Quillute tribe…it doesn’t end, and I agree with Leah, Lisa, and Jessica.

    Again, I have written in my other responses, if the situations were flipped in any way, there would be an outcry of the opposite. (If Edward was the one tryin to coerse Bella into having sex, we would cry RAPE, but here it is a cause for a feminist movement of Edward denying Bella her sexual nature)

    *sigh* I guess this is why there are so many amazing books on the banned book list!

    (Not to mention that the movies, including the trailers, includes events that never took place in the books)

    • Natalie Wilson permalink*
      October 4, 2011 5:31 am

      Isn’t literary interpretation up to individual readers, though? Why you personally may see the books as great love stories, are other readers not allowed to interpret them in other ways? Is one’s person “over-reaching” another person’s analysis? Also, the phrasing “crying forced religion” begs for some sort of example where this is done. Are you suggesting the book’s are not informed by the devout Mormonism of the author? Are you saying what Sam does is NOT domestic violence? Tribal members and indigenous people have said themselves some of the representation is insulting. Do their opinions and voices not count? Also, your suggestion that Edward forcing sex on Bella would be taken differently fails to take into account that we live in a patriarchal world where women are raped at the rate of 1 every 3 to 6 minutes (depending on national or global stats). Male privilege and the normalization of male violence needs to be taken into account. You also ignore all the times I argue that Bella’s sexual agency is a positive thing, which I do at length in my book, for example. Finally, I never, anywhere suggest banning the book and I don’t support banning of ANY books. Your suggestion is insulting and totally unfounded. Sigh. I guess you didn’t get the memo about there being no such thing as “over-analyzing” either! (And can you see the hypocrisy in only wanting your interpretation to count?) I hope your sadistic streak continues…

  7. October 5, 2011 8:53 pm

    Dr. Wilson–

    I took your Women’s studies class a few years ago at Cal State San Marcos. I just thought I’d let you know I am so impressed with your work! Your class was really influential on my undergraduate and now graduate career, I am prusuing a master and hopefully after a phd. I am not a women’s studies major, but I just wanted to let you know how much your class and your work has influenced me! Its because of amazing professors like you that I have decided to pursue a phd! Thanks for being one of the many amazing professors at CSUSM!

  8. Ana Bastow permalink
    October 10, 2011 7:29 am

    Natalie and alexander and naomi
    If a 12 year old was mature enough to get chosen to post in this blog, that is read by adults but no mature enough to handle critique of her analysis them maybe the very adult person that runs this blog was very irresponsible with this minor feelings.
    You cannot pick and choose people reactions and exposing her just to point out that people are not allowed to be “mean” is intellectually dishonest. You chose a person beyond criticism based on her age, but then posted an article in a very adult context so adults get neutralized,
    Had I ever tell you that as Latina every time you disagree with me you are being prejudiced, condescending and/or racist? How would you feel if I did used my position as a minority to tell everyone they are being mean?
    Please Natalie as a college professor and PHD you shouldn’t have to get this low just to have a blog running (and yes unless Naomi is also a PHD capable of getting this conclusions on her own without being guided by a lot of adults that push her to repeat their conclusions, having her agreeing with you doesn’t have any more merit than having a 12 year old Mormon girl wanting to get married and have children…. what is good for the goose).
    So please remember your position and credentials again and if anything don’t publish minors works or let another minor write an analysis about Twilight being a romantic story of true love so you can at least claim that you are at least an equal opportunity suporter of overanalizing even if the conclusions are differing from yours.

  9. Naomi permalink
    October 15, 2011 10:07 pm

    Ana Bastow,
    You have a point. Critique is definitely respected and okay for commenting and helping blogs. But my point in my comment is, that saying that this review is the worst review ever doesn’t really help the author (me) understand what I’m doing wrong. Also saying that I over analyzed it doesn’t help because this blog is for analyzing Twilight and popular culture, over analyzing doesn’t exist here. I am a little upset by Jessica’s comment, but what I was trying to say was that other children who write on the internet may not be mature and able to handle someone saying that to them. Jessica also pointed out that children should not write articles on the internet by stating, “Maybe things like this should be written by someone who can actually get into the movie with out an adult” which seems to be encouraging kids not to try and act and accomplish things that might be difficult for them and I was discouraging that thought. These were my points I was trying to make in the comment, but if you still believe I should not be writing on this blog than you can just stop reading my articles.

    • Anacaona permalink
      October 20, 2011 1:22 am

      Fair enough.
      Good luck in life and love.

  10. November 27, 2011 6:32 am

    beautifully written review! your point about edward and jacob preventing bella from exercising the same liberties that they do is spot on. i don’t know many people in their 20s+ that have this kind of insight. keep on doing what you do!

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