The Psychology of Twilight and Harry Potter

twilight-booksThe Varsity has a piece up that essentially compares/contrasts Bella and Hermione as they fit into women’s roles in the modern era. There’s a lot of what might be termed “psycho-babble” going on in the article that reads somewhat like a research thesis. In the end it concludes:

“What Hermione does seem to represent is the struggles of being a modern woman. She has a feminine emotional range, and yet she finds a way to mediate between masculine and feminine, and grows up to have a successful career.

Bella represents a much more traditional woman, one who dedicates her life to her husband and child.

One thing that I hope modern feminists will concede is that both Bella and Hermione are better role models than, say, Miley Cyrus in the song, “Can’t Be Tamed.” That song is essentially the alpha-straight-male’s nightmare, isn’t it? Jane Goodall discovered that without the taming of unifying social structures, primates will rip each other to shreds. Human beings can be downright beastly. We need to be tamed to function in society. That’s why it’s only socially acceptable for us to bite each other during the “terrible twos.”

There are some interesting thoughts, if you can get through all the citations and clinical analysis.

Check it out here apparently it’s part 1 of an ongoing series.


  1. I’m really going to read the whole thing. It seems there is a lot of social pyschology at work here. I don’t know if I agree with the idea of compliance with gender roles, group think, among other things. But who am I? I will definately read it though to get all of the info. Looks kind of interesting.

    • I had similar thoughts, but am definitely keeping an eye out for the rest of the series. Interesting points brought up, even if the writing is a bit all-over-the-place.

  2. None of the research was cited so I have difficulty believing any of it. I need to read peer reviewed journal articles with actual data to support what the author is attempting to say.

    • Regarding that, from what I gather this is a University of Toronto student newspaper, (or just blog?) so this is probably a student contributor. Ironically, if this were handed in as an assignment they would likely fail as a result of the lack of citation, but the standards for student-run magazines aren’t quite as strict. Her referencing titles and authors is citation enough for this medium.

  3. I read most of it & not being a psychology person it was hard to read! But I definitely agree that Bella & Hermoine are MUCH better role models than the likes of Miley Curus.

  4. Interesting … I left a comment over there requesting a bio. Lots of Deborah Chans on Google. Frustrating that there was all those citations but no page references and no bibliography.

    Anyone looking for very readable, in-depth analysis of the Twilight Saga should check out “Twilight and History.” It’s the only academic commentary I’ve found so far that I would call a must read. The timeline in the forward is from The Twilight Lexicon! “Twilight and Philosophy” is also pretty good.

  5. Here’s the problem I have with downplaying Bella’s role in the series. Yes,she becomes a wife and mother in the fourth novel. However it’s her inner mental strength that saves her family and friends from their enemies. I think trying to find comparrisons between the characters of the HP and Twilight series’ needs to stop,because they’re both different generes. Hermione’s a witch,Bella is a vampire and they follow different paths in becoming strong women. People tend to forget that Hermione becomes a wife and mother as well at the end of the Harry Potter series. So you can’t say she just became a career woman and didn’t find time for family life as well.

  6. of course Bella and Hermoine are better role models than Miley! But there’s something common between these three young women, They stand up for what they belive in!!

    Anyhoo,, I love Bella, Hermoine and Miley too!! Since i’m the kind of a person who would rather see the best in a person rather than the bad, I feel tht they all are great and wonderful!! 🙂

  7. I agree, the writing was all over the place. I did like the fact that the author didn’t really compare the two. She used them as two separate examples. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be more if a illustration of modern feminine life choices and a comparison between those choices and personality type. The author lost me when she threw in sexual relations. So, in the end, what was the point?

  8. I stopped reading at “traditional roles were there to protect women” b/s.

  9. I thought this was a very interesting article. It didn’t seem to be trying to set Hermoine against Bella at all, but just link women’s roles to psychology.

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