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Examining the Twilight phenomenon: Gender roles - Research Paper Example

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Examining the Twilight phenomenon: Gender roles

This paper will briefly examine the impact the Twilight series has had on popular culture and the values set forth in the writings of Stephenie Meyer.The Twilight series, was started in 2005, with the initial book, simply titled, Twilight, and was the first story Stephenie Meyer had written after earning a degree in English almost a decade previously. Inspired by a dream she had, Meyer was able to write the novel in three months, although she never intended on having it published. The young adult genre of books started to see an increased following, having sparked by the success of the Harry Potter series in the late 1990s. The population was ready for something a little more edgy, yet still containing some of the mysticism contained in the J.K. Rowling series that followed the life of a young male wizard.
Readers were hungry for complex characters, interesting and fantastic plot lines, and the lure of a forbidden romance. According to some reviews (Crandall, 2007), the audience received exactly what they wanted, and in return, Meyer became quite successful, her name synonymous with young adult novels. Her writing style was praised by many, some stating that her use of imagery and vivid descriptions were the key to the book’s appeal (Bull, 2009). However, not all critics were so kind, as fellow author Stephen King has shared his displeasure with both the story and Meyer’s writing ability (Flood, 2009). ...
ing’s critique, comparing Rowling and Meyer, he stated that, “The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.” Despite the mixed reviews of her peers, the Twilight series has topped the Best Seller lists numerous times. Plot, characters, and the social role theory The Twilight story presents the life of a shy 17-year-old female character, named Bella Swan, who moves from Arizona to Washington State, and falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. In both the books and movies, Bella is presented as a naive teen, keeping in line with gender conformity messages, which suggest that women are weak, passive, and in need of being protected (Hayes-Smith, 2011). While Bella resembles the frailty hinted at by her surname, Edward portrays the stereotypical strong guy role, acting aggressively and taking charge in even the most intimate of moments. The presentation of the two main characters is in line with what the social role theory posits, in that behavioral differences are influenced by the social roles accepted as normal in a society. People often look at the behaviors of same-sex peers to determine appropriate and accepted behavior, as acting in a manner that is not appropriate would risk social ostracization (Harrison & Lynch, 2005). An additional risk involved in the way the characters are presented is the incidence of violence between Bella and Edward, which mirrors the domestic violence that occurs in intimate partner violence, even among the adolescent population, where an estimated 13% of female adolescents reporting having had experienced physical violence (Collins & Carnody, 2011). If society views the relationship of the whiny and unassertive Bella, who was covered in ...Show more
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Summary

Traditional gender stereotypes have not changed as much as society would like to believe. Female characters in books and movies usually fulfill the role of damsel in distress, needing to be saved by a strapping, handsome, and muscular male lead. …
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