Stephenie Meyer Quoted in The Guardian

Stephenie MeyerStephenie Meyer talked to the UK paper The Guardian about her upcoming movie The Host, Twilight, and impressions of her work by the public. Two notable quotes are in the article.

Despite all the criticism of her work, Meyer says she is a feminist, and that this is really important to her. “I think there are many feminists who would say that I am not a feminist. But, to me … I love women, I have a lot of girlfriends, I admire them, they make so much more sense to me than men, and I feel like the world is a better place when women are in charge. So that kind of by default makes me a feminist. I love working in a female world.” She was thrilled when Catherine Hardwicke’s adaptation of Twilight made her one of the most commercially successful directors in Hollywood, and says of working on Austenland: “It was almost an entirely female production, which is so rare, and to be able to work with female writers and female directors and even our co-producer was a woman – it was a totally different feel than you would have on a more traditional, male-centric set.”

The truth is there must be tens of thousands of romance novels containing similar themes and biases to Meyer’s series: weak heroines, strong heroes, submission and surrender, a central plot involving obsessive love. Had the Twilight books sold 5,000 copies, it’s doubtful anyone would have complained. The most interesting question is not why she wrote it as she did, but why girls responded so wildly. Is there something particularly powerful, in this cultural moment, about a dangerous, potentially violent romantic hero? In a world where porn is ubiquitous, where there do seem new sexual pressures on young women – demands for them from boys to take naked pictures, for example – is a chaste but adoring partner especially appealing? Do young women still yearn for a dominant man? Do they identify, more than ever, with an awkward, unconfident female protagonist? Bubbling away in a generation’s subconscious are some troubling answers.

See it all on The Guardian

Comments

  1. “Unfortunately, the books are tough to defend. There’s no doubt, for instance, that Bella is a remarkably droopy, drippy character”

    Oh, please.

    But why the vampire romance explosion of ’07-08, with Twilight and True Blood leading the charge? I don’t know. Vampires cycle in cultural popularity, but we’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will again.

  2. Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

    “There’s a reason my books have a lot of innocence. That’s the sort of world I live in.” She’s not the only one. :)

    This is a very interesting interview; but it would have been nice if the interviewer could have made up her mind if she was defending Meyer or condemning her.

    I cannot say enough how much I appreciate how real Stephenie Meyer is. That’s part of Twilight’s and the Host’s charm–the author herself is lovable.

  3. I despise when people say that Bella is a weak character and Edward is the strong character.
    I have no idea what book they read but in my opinion, Edward has always been the weakest character. I admire Bella’s character a lot. She had to raise her mom instead of the other way around and she never had a good connection with her dad. As a person who has done the same, it’s very hard to accept somebody into your life after you don’t have any background with love. I don’t think Bella is an ‘unconfident’ character. She’s a real person–she has her insecurities, but she doesn’t run away from anything. She went to save Edward in Italy, she went to the ballet studio to sacrifice herself, she had a baby because SHE wanted to–screw everybody else, and she would have killed herself to save Edward from Victoria. Edward, on the other hand, ran away from Bella and wanted to get rid of any conflict whats-so-ever including his own child because he didn’t believe in fighting through them. And I know the main point that makes Bella a weak character is when Edward leaves her. But I think many people don’t realize that it was not just Edward. She never had a family and she never really had any friends she related to. Most importantly, she never had somebody caring for her–it was always the other way around. Imagine having everything–including an entire future–in your hands, and losing all of it? What? Females aren’t allowed to have emotions now?
    Bella had her weak moments sure–but she had them in moments of faith. And I think that’s the final message of the saga-if you have faith in everybody–the people you love, the people you don’t–everything will be okay. That is something Bella taught Edward, who really didn’t become even a little bit of a strong character until the end of Breaking Dawn.

    Anyway, I realize they are just fictional characters. But I’m tired of so many people bringing them into real life and putting Bella down for being a popular character for girls when she’s apparently this terrible female archetype. She’s a great role model. She’s not perfect–she has her weak moments–but all in all, she’s a real person. And she’s confident in many of the things she does.
    (Although, disclaimer: The strongest character imo in the saga is by far Alice)

    • Thank you for saying this! I couldn’t agree more… I too have always wondered why people seem to hate Bella so much. I think she is a very accurate portrayal of most teenage girls, which is why millions can relate. I also love what you mentioned about her weakest moment (after Edward left) being not just in response to his absence, but also to the disappearance of what seemed to her a very strong and positive future. In fact, I think she is a very brave heroine. Certainly one whose passion and dedication to the things she loves I would wish to emulate.

    • Sophie Calder-Jones says:

      I totally agree! People only seem to consider the fact that Edward is physically stronger than Bella, and rarely the fact that Bella’s internal strength saves Edward.

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      Very well said! And exactly how I feel as well. Whenever people tell me that they couldn’t finish New Moon or they didn’t like it because Bella should just “get over it,” I tell them about the loss of her future and her family. I think people far too often consider it in light of the everyday shallow relationships that teenagers (or adults) have and not what it was for Bella–a deep and committed love that would give her a future, a home, and a family that she had counted on and been working toward. As Charlie said…Bella was always such a constant little thing…it’s not in her nature to “get over things” easily. And there are those of us in real life that are the same way and can relate. Which is, again, part of what makes Stephenie’s works so great–they are so relatable on so many different levels.

      Oh, and with your disclaimer, a thought came to my mind…I think Alice’s strength or Esme’s or Rosalie’s or anyone else’s is not really comparable. Stephenie’s female characters are all strong…and all in different ways. Makes me think of my sisters and I. I am (or so I’ve been told) a strong woman with a fierce force–but it is QUITE a different kind of strength from my sister’s shy and quiet strength or my other sister’s indomitable will. :)

    • I totally agree with you. I can’t understand why they think that Bella is so week and submissive, I think she’s brave and strong. Reread the books and try to be open mind without prejudice.

    • radiowidow says:

      @Katie – I also want to tell you “very well said.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Your analysis is outstanding…and I agree with everything you said! Being middle-aged with teenagers and being completely enthralled with the Saga has given me many lenses to see how various people and age groups react to Bella in particular…as well as the other characters.

      A lot of the popular-type teens don’t seem to like Bella’s character because they sort of see her a a loser who ends up getting everything they have wanted for themselves…a gorgeous, selfless and devoted mate to share everything with, who seems to really care more about her than just what she can give him …and, in the temporary absence of him, yet another very protective hunky guy who’s also looking out for her best interests…in a semi-brotherly way. Even though Bell’a seems lonely, has an awkward demeanor, and is not particularly beautiful or stylish by high school prep standards, she has somehow attracted the attention of these two beautiful, witty and wonderful fellows…who even end up getting along and bringing her a whole, loving and huge family in the end. As they would say, “so not fair”…

      Stephenie Meyer is a genius. I’ve been reading and re-reading her Saga…and the intriguing Midnight Sun draft since July 8, 2008 . (in between everything else that I do for my busy family and job..). .when I bought the first two books at the suggestion of a bookstore clerk as something my teens would enjoy for a long plane trip. Of course, I looked them over a bit to make sure they would be appropriate..and by day two we were all taking turns reading out of the same (first) book…and I was hooked!

      Amazing coincidences led me to the Saga…and it came at a very good time. (BTW the Host was excellent also, yet so very different…) So Stephenie got her $10,000. to pay off her minivan and MUCH MORE…and the world got an unbelievably outstanding story with timeless themes and great vocabulary…and a creative new movie producer as well! …and Kristen maybe really did get Rob…very lucky gal!

      • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

        And many “popular-type” adults too!

        And how you said Edward “who seems to really care more about her than just what she can give him.” EXACTLY! :)

  4. I agree with all of you so much, and have often said similar things myself. I’m so sick of people insulting Bella, when in reality, I think she became one of the strongest characters in the series, mentally. I think this generation has a real issue with only seeing a female as “strong” if they can fight, but I think INTERNAL strength is almost more important and beautiful. Plus, Bella was a beast at the end of BD, so you’d think that would get people to stop nit-picking.

    Anyway, back to what I was saying a moment ago, it’s unrealistic to believe that every woman is a martial artist. I would LOVE to be able to shoot arrows as surely as Katniss does, but if I were ever kidnapped or something, I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. And that does NOT make me any less of a female or femanist. I really have to wonder where people’s heads are these days? Bella WAS strong, and Katie here brought up a lot of the greatest examples of that.

    Look, Bella was not perfect, but neither is anyone else. She could be weak at times, bratty, etc. but those things are what make her beautiful, human, and realistic. And for the most part, I really admire Bella’s inner strength, courage, and kindness. I actually think Bella has much better traits (in some ways, at least) than Katniss, Elena, etc. But that’s a discussion for another time.

    In the end, I love Bella. She was my favorite character in the saga, and I will always love her. HER. The real her that the media doesn’t seem to see, who could deal with a lot of pain, heartache, and sacrifice, as well as carry the weight of the world, and put characters in their places at times. Bella is a real girl, and Twilight is a very real seeming series. I think Stephenie’s magic is making real, believable, and human characters, and I wish others could see that. Stephenie’s world was beautiful, well thought out, and had truly amazing emotion.

    Also, you guys definitely have the right of it when it comes to Bella’s zombie stage. Maybe it’s something you can’t get unless you’ve gone through it yourself, but as I have… I completely got it, in NM and thought it was more than justifiable. Everyone’s entitled to their own reactions, and that means Bella is, too. I actually thought she was STRONG in NM. And people really need to remember (as some of you lovely people said above), that it wasn’t just because she lost Edward that she was like that. And I think Bella explains it best herself. “It was like someone had died — like I had died. Because it had been more than just losing the truest of true loves, as if that were not enough to kill anyone. It was also losing a whole future, a whole family — the whole life that I’d chosen… ”

    P.S. If anyone’s interested, I’ve posted two articles about my thoughts on a lot of this here: http://denizenoftwilight.deviantart.com/journal/In-Defense-of-Twilight-from-a-Former-Fan-338253477 and in a comment here: http://bleach-fairy.deviantart.com/art/beatiful-heroines-355574367.

    And I have to thank you all for being so awesome. In times like this, where you’re often attacked for just being a Twilight fan, it’s nice to still have Twilight sisters somewhere. Especially since the saga’s over, and I’m really sad about it. LOL. The loving arms of this fandom are a blessing, indeed. Love you all:)

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      “I think this generation has a real issue with only seeing a female as “strong” if they can fight.” Yeah, I’m only 5’2″ and I have trouble NOT running into a wall. I wouldn’t be much good as a martial artist, but I can scream! :)

      And excellent point: “Look, Bella was not perfect, but neither is anyone else.” Neither is Edward, neither is Jacob, neither is…..anyone. Again goes back to that awesome relatablity of Stephenie’s writing. The people we love in real life–be they husbands, sisters, parents, neighbors, whoever–have their problems and drive us batty sometimes. But we still love them…just like our fictional characters. :)

      And that was one of the quotes from NM that I was thinking of too, “It was like someone had died — like I had died. Because it had been more than just losing the truest of true loves, as if that were not enough to kill anyone. It was also losing a whole future, a whole family — the whole life that I’d chosen… ” Personally, I haven’t experienced what Bella did…I hope I never do…but I can empathize.

      And yes, it’s very, very nice to be able to have a place where we can talk Twilight and not given looks that we’re insane. ;)

  5. It’s incredible to see so many responses! I was almost afraid to check because even so many people in this fandom despise Bella. And I understand why some people don’t like her–but some justifications I just simply can’t accept. But all of your responses and perspectives have really brightened my day. Enjoying the little things, I suppose. I agree so much with Elizabeth’s point about how every character (and woman) has their own strength. Point very well made.
    Also, Shanna, I totally agree! I’ve seen this fandom fall in and out because of all of the backlash. And, yeah, it sucks, but it’s fantastic that there are still so many people willing to say that they don’t care.

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      I love that sunny effect Twilight has! ;)

      • Aww, thank you so much, Elizabeth and Katie:) I’d forgotten just how much I love talking Twilight, and it’s sort of sad to realize there will be nothing new for us to talk about now (unless Stephenie does something new some time), but it’s nice all the same.

        To be honest, I sort of wish we could all go back to 2008, when New Moon (I believe) was just being filmed, and everyone was a lot nicer about the whole thing. I miss the years where I should have been involved in the Twilight experience more (like the making of the movies), but backed off because the fandom was getting so much hate, and I sought solace in my Kingdom Hearts series. I sort of regret that now (not the KH bit, but the not being more involved in the Twi fandom).

        In actuality, the Twilight fans are the nicest I’ve probably ever met. Sure there’s a bad apple every once in a while, but that happens in every fandom. For the most part, though, my fellow Twilight fans are warm, welcoming, kind, and just really down to earth, you know? And since I’ve been having a bit of a hard time lately, that’s especially wonderful. Twilight really is a little piece of heaven, and I hope it’ll return that way for Stephenie someday, too.

        And back to the whole Bella thing… though she’s not perfect, she was always my favorite character in the books. Actually, she’s one of my favorite characters, in general. It’s hard to put into words why, but I think it’s because she’s so loving, and is always willing to protect her loved ones at all costs. Even at the cost of her own life. She tries hard in everything she does, and just gets stronger and better. I also love how well she knows herself and what she wants. She grows, she develops, but she’s also human and trips up from time to time. And that’s why I love Bella.

        It’s so strange: in this generation, I’ve noticed two things about fans. Either people love characters that are pretty much flawless (and therefore seem inhuman), and don’t like the characters that make decisions they wouldn’t. Or, there are the people who adore the characters who are really flawed, and have done some very bad things (like the GoT characters). Bella’s somewhere in the middle, though, and maybe that’s why people have a hard time liking her? IDK. I, personally, can’t really ever forgive the Lannisters for all they’ve done in GoT, so even though they are very human, I can’t get why people praise them and bash Bella so much.

        And as for the readers that don’t like characters with some flaws: well… Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s what makes us into the people we want to be. It’s like Naminé from the Kingdom Hearts series. She made a huge mistake that wrecked a lot of people’s lives, simply for being lonely. To that end, I can get why people would want to throw her under the bus, but that’s also what makes her amazing. Because after that, she did everything in her power to set things right. She grew into someone beautiful, who does still makes mistakes, but is stronger, and sees the affects of all she’s done and could do. There’s a real guilt and weight to Naminé, and though I do sometimes want to scold her, that’s also what makes me want to reach out to my fellow human being… err, fictional character.

        …Now that I think about it, Nami reminds me of the Cullens somewhat. Trying so hard to be good, and to make up for something that wasn’t her fault, whilst sort of hating herself, and thinking she doesn’t deserve much. Huh. Now I sort of want to finish the crossover I started once….

        Well, this post has gotten really, really long. …I should probably end this now. LOL. Sorry if I lost some of you, or went off on a tangent. In fact, I’m not even sure how coherent all of this is, but it made sense in my head LOL, so maybe that counts for something?

        Once again, I’ve had a great time talking to you guys, and wouldn’t mind doing so more. I’m stronger about the whole Twilight thing now, and I guess I maybe want to make up on lost times? It might be too little too late, but it is what it is, I guess.

        Twilight forever, and may Stephenie finish MS eventually (or something). LOL.

  6. I’m kind of nervous to go against the majority here, but I’m going to risk it.

    I get what you mean about Bella being upset because she doesn’t just lose Edward but a strong future and commitment that she had unconsciously always wanted. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that her entire world revolves around a man, and it does. If it didn’t, she wouldn’t have gone practically catatonic in NM. This is what leads people to argue that Bella is weak and anti-feminist. You can’t argue that the relationship Bella forms with Edward in Twilight and NM isn’t an unhealthy one. I get that she was heartbroken and depressed, but that didn’t mean that she needed to completely alienate her friends for months on end. She doesn’t even attempt to live/hang out with any of them until she realizes that she sees Edward when in dangerous sitautions. The fact that she risks her life for this and it’s basically what she makes her life’s purpose is a bit ridiculous. There’s a meme that has two pictures lined up with each other: one with Edward and Bella in the meadow, saying, “I’d rather die than stay away from you,” and another with Ron and Harry in HP: SS with Ron jokingly saying about Hermonie, “She really needs to sort out her priorities.” And, Bella really does in the first two books.

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  1. [...] the beast, has now taken centre stage and also taken the beast for herself. Is this a triumph for feminism, female appropriation of the male canon, if you will? No, it is patriarchal Mormon doctrine [...]

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