I know that the “Bella and Edward are in an abusive relationship” talk has been around about as long as Twilight has existed, and many of us have rolled our eyes and ignored these claims because “Squee! It’s so addicting!” I read this YALSA blog post the other day, though, and it’s given me some food for thought. I’ve never actually see someone lay out the signs of an abusive relationship like Captain’s Log has, and it is hard to ignore the evidence.
I know a lot of adults will say, “Oh, it’s just a romance novel, get over it,” but it’s hard to ignore the huge number of girls who idealize the relationships represented in these books. There are so many…unhealthy relationships represented beyond Bella and Edward. Jacob and Bella are not normal with the way she pulls him close and them pushes him away and he forces himself on her in Eclipse. Jacob and Renesmee and the other wolf who is in love with the young girl are depicting pedophilia as normal. Sam’s girlfriend carries the visible evidence that physical abuse is okay. Bella’s mom kicks her to the curb in order to follow her husband around.
I’m not going to start a protest against the books, pull them from our library, etc. I’m sure I’ll still continue to see the movies. But it is worth taking a minute to consider the relationships in the books and what you might say if given the opportunity to discuss them with a teenager in your life. Just pondering this on a Friday night.
Of course, there’s always the old Buffy vs. Edward video to drive home his creepy behavior.