I was looking at Stephenie Meyer's website tonight, which I don't ever do, but I had a friend that said the picture of what she thought Bella's prom dress should look like was on the website. I couldn't find that, but I did stumble across a wonderful quote from Stephenie. There is a Q&A section about Breaking Dawn, and this was one of the questions she answered. This is just something that has been on my mind, and I like how she puts it.
I kept in the first paragraph, but it's the last two that I love.
**WARNING: If you are reading the Twilight series, or you plan on reading it, skip the first paragraph, or some things will be ruined for you.
Is Bella an anti-feminist heroine?
When I hear or read theories about Bella being an anti-feminist character, those theories are usually predicated on her choices. In the beginning, she chooses romantic love over everything else. Eventually, she chooses to marry at an early age and then chooses to keep an unexpected and dangerous baby. I never meant for her fictional choices to be a model for anyone else's real life choices. She is a character in a story, nothing more or less. On top of that, this is not even realistic fiction, it's a fantasy with vampires and werewolves, so no one could ever make her exact choices. Bella chooses things differently than how I would do it if I were in her shoes, because she is a very different type of person than I am. Also, she's in a situation that none of us has ever been in, because she lives in a fantasy world. But do her choices make her a negative example of empowerment? For myself personally, I don't think so.
In my own opinion (key word), the foundation of feminism is this: being able to choose. The core of anti-feminism is, conversely, telling a woman she can't do something solely because she's a woman—taking any choice away from her specifically because of her gender. "You can't be an astronaut, because you're a woman. You can't be president because you're a woman. You can't run a company because you're a woman." All of those oppressive "can't"s.
One of the weird things about modern feminism is that some feminists seem to be putting their own limits on women's choices. That feels backward to me. It's as if you can't choose a family on your own terms and still be considered a strong woman. How is that empowering? Are there rules about if, when, and how we love or marry and if, when, and how we have kids? Are there jobs we can and can't have in order to be a "real" feminist? To me, those limitations seem anti-feminist in basic principle.