Satire: Revealing the true fangs of “The Twilight Saga”


Alivia Baker

Writers Camilla Lewis and Julia Brossia see “Twilight” character Edward Cullen as a hypnotizing force on his love interest, stealing her individuality in the process.

Camilla Lewis and Julia Brossia

The “Twilight Saga,” a movie series based on the novels written by Stephenie Meyer, is about vampires, werewolves, complicated love triangles and teen romance. The series is recognized as an integral part of teen culture, but despite all of its recognition, “Twilight” has some very controversial aspects. As fans delve deeper into the story, what can be found is that the intense “teenage” love blossoming between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan perpetuates false ideals of what is considered to be a healthy romantic relationship.

Imagine you’re in Forks, Washington — a place under “a near constant cover of clouds and rain” — where you go to Forks High School. One day, while sulkily sitting in the cafeteria at lunch, you see them: the Cullens. An attractive and intriguing family of vampires, with sparkling skin and fierce eyes, where the so-called siblings happen to date each other. Once you look past all of the fake incestual couples, you spot Edward Cullen. The mysterious, dark and brooding loner of the bunch, who immediately fixates on you. The situation seems alluring, right? However, when you look past this initial attraction to him, you will find that being in a relationship with him crosses many different levels of creepiness and only leads to toxicity and manipulation. Under the mask of what seems like a romantic, mysterious love interest, Edward is actually everything you should steer away from in a romantic partner. 

When the series first begins, it becomes clear that vampires are not the only creepy thing dominating the storyline, but rather Edward himself. For starters, Edward’s love interest, Bella, is only 17 years old, while he is a whopping 104. While that may not be considered a lot in vampire years, it certainly is ancient in human years. Although it is acknowledged in the series that Edward Cullen was turned into a vampire when he was only 17, leaving him appearing as that age for eternity, 87 years is a huge age gap, most likely filled with a multitude of impactful life experiences that Bella, a teenager in high school, probably hasn’t come across yet. When examining this closely, the audience is able to become aware that Edward is essentially an extremely old man trapped inside of a 17 year old’s body, who happens to be in love with a teen. So while their relationship may seem rather innocent at first, when inspected upon, glimpses of pedophilia infiltrate any sense of romance. 

Speaking of creepy, it’s not long after the beginning of the first movie, “Twilight,” that Edward starts to cross major boundaries. One night, Bella is forced to hang up on the phone with her mother because Edward suddenly appears in her room with her. After Edward reveals to her that he got in through the window, she asks him how long he has been coming into her room unannounced, to which he replies, “just the past couple of months. I like watching you sleep, it’s kind of fascinating to me.” While Edward’s response is disturbing in itself, what’s even more concerning is Bella’s reaction to Edward essentially stalking her. She is barely allowed any time to process what Edward just said and allows him to start kissing her right after. This behavior coming from both Bella and Edward is extremely toxic, as it promotes the idea that it is okay to stalk other people, as well as crossing not only personal boundaries, but borderline illegal. More importantly, the movie shines a rather romantic light on Edward’s actions in this scene, making something that should be viewed as disturbing to be seen as attractive. 

Boundaries and basic principles of respect are consistently violated by characters throughout “The Twilight Saga.” (Gigi Richardson Seifert)

Looking past the initial red flags at the beginning of their relationship, in “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” Edward decided that it would be best to leave Bella after having been together for five months. This sudden break up threw her into a depressive episode, causing her to lose all motivation for living, until her friend Jacob Black helped her become herself again. When Edward was gone, she essentially saw no purpose in living. Similarly to this, there was a time when Edward was under the impression that Bella had died, leading him to go to the Volturi — the leaders of the vampire race — to commit suicide. The fact that Bella and Edward’s sole purpose of living was for each other shows how dangerously codependent the two were. This codependency is unhealthy at any age, but it is especially concerning for someone as young as Bella to experience. When she should’ve been out with her friends or studying for school, she could barely function normally without Edward. This is depicted in a romantic light, making it seem as though this is what passionate, undying love looks like. However, being this codependent with a significant other is extremely unhealthy and should not be encouraged for teenagers watching the series. 

Not only was Bella entirely emotionally dependent on Edward, but she dropped everything in her life to stay with him. When she and Edward first started dating at the beginning of their relationship, she became more and more distant from her family and friends. It became apparent in the first movie that Bella started to disconnect herself from others that were her age. By spending time with her friends less and avoiding her father, her social life was diminished as she usually only spent time with Edward. As Bella aged, she began to fear her own mortality and by the age of 18, she made the final decision to be with Edward forever. After finally getting her wish and being turned into a vampire, she had to be isolated from the rest of the Forks community to avoid being recognized. Although it was a necessary safety precaution to not only protect herself but others around her too, it is not a good message that someone as young and impressionable as Bella should be willing to sacrifice her life with her family and friends to be with a man who manipulates her. Additionally, it is clear that Edward made a conscious effort to isolate her from others. Isolation is a common technique used by abusers to make sure that no one realizes what’s going on with unhealthy relationships.

While making Bella feel special and loved, Edward was also a master at manipulating her. In the first movie, after he saved her from being violently hit by a car, Bella started to be suspicious of him because of his superhuman speed and strength. When she confronted him, Edward told her, “you hit your head. I think you’re confused.” When she continued to explain what she saw, Edward claimed, “nobody’s going to believe you.” He made Bella feel as though she was crazy, which is manipulative and emotionally abusive. In a relationship, it is important to hear out your partner’s concerns, rather than making them feel crazy and avoiding the issue like Edward did. This behavior made Bella even more interested in him, when in reality people should steer clear of romantic partners like this.

It is apparent that Edward, while being creepy, also displays many traits of an emotionally abusive manipulator. As it is a significant piece of media in today’s pop-culture, teenagers can be easily susceptible to the ideals portrayed in The “Twilight” Saga. On top of all of the unhealthy behaviors shown in Edward and Bella’s relationship, the romanticization of all of this is what makes it dangerous for the primarily teenage audience. The effects of watching this trilogy could potentially produce a generation of people who are unaware of how to identify and stay away from toxic relationships. 

What do you think?