Since Midnight Sun is set to release in August of 2020, there has been a sudden resurgence of interest in the Twilight fandom and discussion about the saga. While the series was hugely popular when it was released, it has since held a large place in the pop culture canon for both good and bad reasons.
However, as fans start to enjoy their love of Twilight again in preparation for the new book, many are noticing either again or for the first time that there are some highly problematic things about the series. Here are ten problematic things from The Twilight Saga that didn’t age well.
- 1 10 Jacob’s pursuit of Bella borders on manipulative & abusive
- 2 9 Edward & Bella’s relationship highlights codependency
- 3 8 Edward is really controlling
- 4 7 The views on sex & sexuality are outdated
- 5 6 Bella is a damsel in distress
- 6 5 The representation of women isn’t great
- 7 4 The concept of imprinting
- 8 3 The Quileute Tribe is a real tribe that’s turned into fictional werewolves
- 9 2 There’s no LGBT representation
- 10 1 There aren’t many black characters
10 Jacob’s pursuit of Bella borders on manipulative & abusive
When Bella and Jacob first become friends, there is an endearing feel to their relationship and Jacob is very kind and sweet. However, after turning to a werewolf and becoming jealous of Edward, he becomes angrier and sometimes manipulative.
He tries to use his emotions and feelings to get Bella to feel sorry for him and give him what he wants. He also is pretty crude during the scene in Eclipse where he has to cuddle with Bella to warm her up.
9 Edward & Bella’s relationship highlights codependency
While Bella and Jacob’s relationship has some problematic things about it, Bella and Edward’s might be worse. Their relationship is the core of the series, but it definitely highlights some harmful romance tropes.
These two are very focused on each other to the point of obsession, and this is especially true for how Bella feels about Edward. She is literally willing to give up all of her friends and family just to be with him as a vampire. This could’ve made for a tragic kind of love but instead, the movies and book simplify it to a concerning degree.
8 Edward is really controlling
While Bella might be too wrapped up in Edward, for his part, Edward exhibits some pretty controlling behaviors. While in the books some of these moments are shown as romantic, they are actually quite troubling.
The fact that Edward keeps track of Bella to the point of stalking her and that at one point he ruins her truck to keep her from going to see Jacob is more than just upsetting.
7 The views on sex & sexuality are outdated
Edward is someone who has more traditional views on physical relationships, which isn’t a bad thing on its own. It’s totally fine for someone to choose to wait until marriage to take things to the next level. However, there is a rather conservative tone and message to the books and films when it comes to sex and sexuality.
Waiting until marriage is presented as the best and the most romantic, and any deviation from that is bad or doomed to fail. The simple fact of the matter is that people just need to choose what is right for them instead of blindly following traditions.
6 Bella is a damsel in distress
While Bella might have a few moments where she shows herself to be a strong protagonist, there are many others where she is the complete damsel in need of rescuing. There are so many times where Edward (and occasionally Jacob) has to save her, and she comes off as quite helpless.
While having a woman sometimes be in need of saving isn’t a bad thing in itself, the way Bella came across as innately helpless seemed a bit outdated for the 21st Century.
5 The representation of women isn’t great
While there are a lot of female characters and the main character is a woman, there are still a lot of issues with how women are represented in Twilight. Often the women have traumatic pasts that involve being assaulted in some way, and they seem to often be presented as love interests or as secondary to their male partners instead of people with their own agencies.
Esme is probably the worst example of this, but other female characters like Leah Clearwater are treated poorly by others around them in a way that feels sexist.
4 The concept of imprinting
One of the strangest things about the Twilight series that has a lot of problematic implications is the idea of imprinting. When werewolves imprint, it seems to be an inevitable thing where the person imprinted on will be bothered by the imprinter so much that they’ll eventually give in and fall in love with them. This makes the entire thing seem non-consensual.
However, the worst thing about imprinting is that it’s possible to imprint on an infant or child, which is exactly what the adult Jacob does to Bella’s newborn daughter. No matter how the book tries to explain this, it can’t be viewed as anything other than grooming.
3 The Quileute Tribe is a real tribe that’s turned into fictional werewolves
While talking about the issues with the representation of the Native Americans in the saga is complicated and best left to actual Native Americans, there are some clearly problematic elements that are impossible to miss. For one, depicting people of color as dangerous fictional monsters and then pitting them against vampires who are mostly white people seems rather messed up.
Not to mention that the Quileute tribe is a real one that still exists today, and they are being written about by someone who might not have the best insight into their culture.
2 There’s no LGBT representation
Another way that the saga seems rather outdated and problematic is that every person and relationship is heterosexual. There aren’t any queer characters at all, so it makes it seem like the only acceptable kind of romance or at leas the only one worth focusing on is that between a man and a woman.
While it’s fine that many of the characters are straight, having some representation would have been more progressive and realistic.
1 There aren’t many black characters
One thing about the movies that upset many people was when the director of the original Twilight, Catherine Hardwick, said that she wanted to have more actors of color in the film but was met with opposition to that idea from author Stephenie Meyer.
It should be noted that while Laurent was played by a black actor (Edi Gathegi), he’s one of the only black characters from the entire series and he wasn’t even that way in the books. This reflects a sad lack of racial diversity.
NEXT: 10 Things From Twilight That Haven’t Aged Well
The DCEU’s 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Performances
About The Author
Amanda is a freelance writer in NYC. She is a professional writer and storyteller who loves TV, activism, and fandom. She would definitely die for Captain America.
More About Amanda LaRell Steele