'New Moon' polls: Switching teams? Bella really the best role model?

Before the release of New Moon, nearly 8,000 PopWatch readers voted in our “Team Edward or Team Jacob” poll, with 62 percent being emphatically Team Edward. As promised, we’re doing a post-premiere poll to find out if Jacob’s onscreen transformation — and the pain Edward put Bella through — has earned the werewolf any points. Vote again after the jump.

A more interesting question has turned out to be whether Bella is really the best role model in the film. We’re flashing a giant SPOILER ALERT here so we can have an open discussion. Let’s be clear: It’s not a question of abstaining from premarital sex, should you still be living in a time when that’s all that being a “good role model” meant. It’s about whether you would want your daughter to be so infatuated with a guy that she loses herself entirely for months when he leaves her. Of course you wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to young girls and women. (Let’s just hope that Twilight‘s supernatural component, and the fact that Bella couldn’t talk to anyone about Edward since that would mean revealing that he’s a vamp, accounts for the supersized recovery time.)

Bella only snaps out of her deep depression when she realizes that she can see visions of Edward when she puts herself in danger. Story-wise, it’s a heightened mystical play on the idea that girls and women will do stupid things, like hurting themselves, to get a guy’s attention. But you want smart girls like Bella to not go completely brainless. YOU KNOW YOU ARE CLUMSY. DO NOT RIDE A MOTORCYCLE WITHOUT A HELMET, even if it means we have to give up the scene in which Jacob removes his shirt to dab the blood on your head wound. (That received a laugh in my screening that was second only to that which greeted Edward’s entrance walking across the school parking lot to Bella.) DO NOT GO ON A JOYRIDE WITH A STRANGER. Did you never see that episode of Oprah in which the expert said not to let anyone take you to a secondary location? (Still scarred, but effective!) DO NOT CLIFF DIVE WITHOUT A SPOTTER. I get what Bella doing these things is supposed to communicate to the viewer: She doesn’t care whether she lives or die if she doesn’t have Edward. Is it all okay because at the end of the film, we find out that Edward actually feels the same way, and Bella manages to slip in a line about how she can let him go now that she’s seen him again in the flesh and saved him from his unnecessary suicide attempt?

Bottom line: Love is a confusing message for young girls. On the one hand, you should have a fearless heart, which is what I think Kristen Stewart meant when she told Reuters, “Be extreme. Go for it. I think that’s the point. I know that this is a movie about immortality and mortality but, like, you live once.” On the other, you should never love a man more than you love yourself (which, on a lighter note, also means not letting Edward or Jacob drive your truck every time they’re in it).

What’s your verdict on Bella’s New Moon behavior, which, to his credit, Bella’s father recognized as not normal: Cause for alarm or just a cause for post-film discussion between TwiMoms and daughters?



More New Moon:
EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum dives deeper into her review
Latest New Moon interviews
EW’s Twilight HQ

Comments (328 total) Add your comment
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  • a person

    Team Jacob! since reading the bookss! :) but Bella is not a role model…seriously that is not even a question-she lets a guy take over her life, and is way to depressed and mopey and whiney throughout the movie-even Jessica is a better role model than Bella-or if u want a really good role model go over to Harry Potter world and Hermione is a perfect role model! but Bella=Not a good rolemodel! I’m glad you pointed out that Edward and Jacob always drive Bella’s car and it bugged me throughout the movie because it seems like Bella cant drive, but its probably a good thing because she is so clumsy she wouldnt be able to drive it! :)

    • andinut

      At first glance I agree that Bella is not a good role model in Twilight, and most of New Moon. But then I remember that she shows bravery and self sacrifice in Twilight first trying to protect Charlie when James is after her and then again trying to save her mother (although unnecessary).

      Bella grows into a character that I personally think is a good role model and that growth equally important for young readers to see than if she was 100% strong from start to finish.

      • christina

        I completely agree with you (andinut), and everyone else that is reading this should really think about it! Instead of looking on the surface look a little deeper people!!!!

      • MC

        Having read all four books to see the hullabullo, and the movies thus far, I tend to go on this very same rant to anyone who will listen and not tar and feather me. Bella is NOT a good role model for girls. She is weak, selfish, and though sometimes she tries to “save”those around her, it’s only after her selfish actions put them in danger in the first place. She looses herself and her identity in another, she is a co-dependent! Also, New Moon related, strictly, she know she doesn’t “love” Jacob, and that he feels more than friendship for her, but she continues to use him, because she rather someone, than no one…w/o regard to his feelings and then surprise, she dumps him when Edward appears in her life again.

        I vote bella is a horrible role model for a young (or any) female.

      • Kim

        That’s a very good point about the importance of her growth!

    • twicurious

      who gives a vamps abs?

    • alli

      For goodness sake! It’s a freakin movie! Let it go or get a life

      • Sutton

        that is exactly right, it is a freakin supernatural/romantic book turned movie…enjoy it for what it is…it has vamps and werewolves in it!

  • AK

    How about a week-long moratorium on all things “Twilight” for EW and EW.com? Maybe you would realize you don’t actually need to talk about 25 times a day, and then those who really don’t care could start enjoying this magazine and website again.

    • UGH

      Here! Here!

    • LadyLost

      I agree… this movie/book is NOT the best thing to happen since sliced bread! So why does every media outlet feel that we should be smothered in all things Twi-Crap…
      It’s funny because the writers/people say that everyone reads it so they keep putting it on… how can you not read it when it’s everywhere! On every page, all the time every day! What choice do you have?
      Bella is not a good role model… almost killing yourself for a guy is not what the sheep… I mean youth of today need.

      • GimmeABreak

        You obviously didn’t see the movie or read the book to realize she wasn’t TRYING to kill herself over Edward. She was doing dangerous things that would let her see (movie)/hear (book) him. She is a good role model, because she doesn’t have sex with Edward until after the wedding, she’s a smart student (all this is in the book), and she likes to take care of her parents (also only in the book).

        Its a good series and its helping our economy, so be thankful!

      • Meredith

        @Gimme – I’ve read all the books (and hate them), and it’s mind boggling to me when people think Bella’s a good role model. At first glance she might be, but when you focus, you realize she’s not. Yes, she wasn’t trying to kill herself, but when she jumps and is drowning she gives up when she sees his image. The books say she’s smart, but she never displays that. She thinks her parents are weak and need her help, and she constantly degrades her mother. And as someone who’s read the books, she’s the one who WANTS to have pre-marital sex, and she only abstained because Edward wanted to.

      • Katie

        Um, Gimme, she may have abstained from pre-marital sex, but only because Edward withheld it from her. You act like she intentionally “waited for marriage,” and that’s BS. She only waited because Edward forced her to wait.
        And I agree with Meredith. Meyer has serious issues with the idea of “show, don’t tell.” She can say that Bella is “smart” until she’s blue in the face, but until she actually backs it up with something, it doesn’t count for jack.

      • ash

        Not wanting to have sex before you get married does not make her a role model, – she’s weak and pathetic and lives for nothing but edward.

      • Kari

        @Gimme. I’ve read the books and I love them, but not having sex before marrige does not make you a role model, plus she wanted to have sex, Edward didn’t (a little morman religion hidden here) Like I said I love the books and the film, they are entertaining, but Bella as a role model, no way. I can honestly see myself in her when I was around 18 and I for one tell everyone to not be that brainless as I was. Just my opinion.

    • swthompson

      so go on to the next article! Jeez!

      • @swthompson

        The next article is about Twilight, too!
        A couple of days ago, literally EVERY story in the “Movies” section on the left-hand side of the page was Twilight-related. It’s ridiculous.

      • ash

        No we won’t go to the next article. If it’s going to be shoved down our throats all the time then we will comment on it as much as we please.

    • strickens_girl

      THIS!

    • GimmeAbreak

      This magazine/website is the pits, and from the few lines I scanned this article reads like a 14-year-old Mandi (with an I!) Bierly’s Dear Diary entry. I canceled my sub 2 years ago when a week didn’t go by without Zac Efron on the cover. EW is the new Tiger Beat. Yech. Grow up folks.

    • Celia

      Agreed. I’m all twilighted out. I can’t even muster up the energy to argue about how much I hate it anymore. I’m done.

    • Trish

      Then why are you taking the time to read this article and comment?

  • Annyong!

    EW= The new People Magazine.

    • UGH

      …or US Weekly!

      • ash

        Or The Awful Truth

    • mari

      no people will occasionaly have a thought provoking article, or focus on something not celeb related-like the heros among us thig.
      i can never ever see ew doing something like that-unless of course, the hero was someone who gave up one of their sold out twilight tickets.

    • Celia

      Actually it’s more like Star or InStyle. Gone are the days when I used to get excited about my new copy of EW.

  • lefty

    She’s very dependent on her male counterparts…She’s “that girl” you know that always needs to have a boyfriend, or at least have a significant other’s presence in her life. Ugh.

    • Carrie Ann

      That’s not true. She’d never had a bf until she met Edward, and she was already a junior in high school. When Edward left, she turned to Jacob to take her mind off of things & made it clear to him that they were just friends. If she really needed another bf, she could’ve had Mike Newton in a minute. It was just Edward that she needed to have in her life.

      • Hrfe

        that’s stupid. You shouldn’t NEED anyone to be in your life, especially when you are 18.

    • lefty

      I’m sorry, I guess I made it sound like she was desperate to fill the void which she wasn’t. But she did become fixated on her past boyfriend and couldn’t get over it…and went running after him the moment his family contacted her.

      You remind me of another point about Mike Newton…can we talk about how strange he looked in the movie? He was overly tanned and his hair was so much lighter…it looked weird.

  • Chris

    ENOUGH WITH THE TWILIGHT CRAP!!!!

    • UGH

      I agree!

      • jr mint

        yes at least create ew twilight free website, where you can block all twilight posts

  • lefty

    Also, the reason Edward drives her car all the time is because he can’t stand how “slow” she drives…since she’s just a mortal. So when he drives them around, he drives faster than Bella did.

    • ash

      doesn’t matter why he does, it’s still condescending

      • meggles

        how is that condescending?since when did males doing things for women become condescending?

      • Bellatrix

        Um Jacob/Edward don’t drive her truck every time. The previous EW article that suggested that was incorrect.

  • Connie

    Why is whether or not bella is a good role model being questioned at this point in time? I mean come on, its all written in the books where millions of young little girls read. If it was ever a problem, parents should have never let their children read the books in the first place.
    Also, no one’s trying to be a role model. Calm down. Not every role in a movie is trying to depict a perfect person. Get a life guys.

    • lefty

      It doesn’t affect my view on the franchise whether Bella is a good role model or not. Even while reading the books, I just decided if she and I were to meet, then I probably wouldn’t be friends with her. I don’t think it should affect if parents let their kids read these books or see the movies. I think it is somewhat of an interesting discussion though because my friends LOVE Bella, but I always just thought she was a dependent dud.

    • Pamela

      Thank you Connie!!! I totally agree they are just books!! I love the Twilight series and I will say after seeing New Moon play out on screen Bella does bug me, but it is a book that has been turned into a movie…purely for entertainment, not to be taken that seriously! Parents need to be more involved with their kids for sure!

  • steve

    I went to see this movie with my wife and whenever one of these guys took his shirt off, all of the women screamed. How ridiculous!
    If the tables were turned and a young girl took her shirt off and all of the men screamed like that, the police would’ve been called!
    Society’s double-standards are a joke.

    • NH

      to the contrary, I think the majority of movies have women and girls portrayed in scanty clothes and objectified roles. It’s kind of funny to me how sensitive guys are about teen girls and young women actually expressing their desires the same way men have for ages.

    • twicurious

      men never scream or moan when a woman is scantily clad as you put it in a movie. women acting girls is really pathetic. i can understand teenagers but grown women.

      • Mimi

        The you’ve obviously never seen Swordfish. When Halle berry’s naked twins popped on screen the whistleing and howling was deafening. Similar reactions: Carmen electra running through the sprinklers in scary movie, Megan fox bending over in transformers and so on. I always thout the double standard was that men/boys in movies and real life can walk around shirtless for no apparent reason while women have to wear bras even on most beaches. I am sorry but I’ve seen guys that could easily fill out DD and I just wanted this image to haunt everybody who scorns pretty eyecandy.

  • Carrie Ann

    Who ever said Bella was supposed to be a role model? The books are about an almost average girl next door, who finds herself in an extraordinary situation. Obviously, the books are complete fiction, so why would anyone have to follow Bella’s example?

    • Connie

      AMEN!

    • Brooke

      We take A LOT of our cues about romance and what to expect from relationship from pop culture. This goes for adults reading romance novels and watching chick flicks, too, not just teens reading Twilight. If a young teen hasn’t had a relationship yet, and her and her friends’ favorite book is Twilight and they think Bella’s obsession with Edward and his stalking of her is “romantic”, they’re gonna be affected by that.

    • Meredith

      If people didn’t use these books as examples, there wouldnt be Facebook groups with titles like “because I read twilight i will never think my boyfriend is good enough” and so on. young girls are too impressionable to know not to take such examples and apply them to their own lives.

      • Katie

        Agreed. People claiming that girls aren’t putting Bella and Edward’s relationship must be living under a rock. And that Facebook group is actually one of the more sane ones I’ve seen.

  • Megg

    She is not a good role model and just because the books are fiction doesn’t mean we should just write them off as meaningless. They still have a vast amount of influence. I’m not saying every character in a book has to be a good example for young girls, but it is a little scary how beloved these books are when the main heroine has zero ambition or goals beyond her boyfriend. Can’t she want to be a vampire *and* want to be a teacher or a doctor or something?

    • NH

      I agree. Characters in books and movies don’t have to be perfect, but at least their faults should be recognized, not glorified.

    • Maureen

      Megg, you said it!

    • Jen

      Did you know what you wanted to be at 17? I didn’t. Let’s go even further…say you live in a world with vampires and werewolves- would you really be thinking, “Oh I want to become a teacher someday. Falling in love with you would be foolish since you’ll always look 17.” Come on. It’s the reader’s responsibility to understand the difference bewteen fantasy and reality, not the author’s. And besides, what is so horribly wrong with choosing love? I don’t get it.

      • momo

        I think the point is not that Bella doesn’t know what to do with her life. Before she met Edward she had a college fund and planned to go to a good university. After Edward she dropped all of that and wanted nothing more for her life than to stay with him.

  • SMLEWIS

    Its a fictional story… of course she is not a role model. Thats why its fiction. Seriously you are guna waste peoples time on a poll so useless!? Is Harry Potter a good role model casting spells on people? Its a ridiculous question for a fictional story!!!

    • Brooke

      Harry Potter and his friends exhibit a lot of personality characteristics that are healthy to aspire to. Taking care of friends, being brave, forming bonds with mentors, caring about schoolwork, stepping up to be a leader, sharing knowledge. A kid reading about Harry and his friends who is influenced to be like them is probably gonna get some good stuff out of it. Bella…not so much.

    • James

      Actually, since you went there, I’m gonna say YES, Harry Potter IS a good role model. He’s loyal to his friends, he doesn’t want to hurt people, he’s willing to sacrifice his life to save the people he loves (and there’s a very real chance that this could happen, whereas in Twilight, “danger” is a limp means to fake plot development). He values true friendship over blind ambition and social-climbing. He works to share his skills with other students, for everyone’s protection.
      And Hermione is ten times the woman Bella will ever be. She’s smart, independent, more talented than her friends, and she doesn’t mope around when Ron snogs Lavender Brown — she gets EVEN. She also waits until she has an established career before starting a family with Ron (none of this, “Right out of high school” crap), and separates from her friends to complete her Hogwarts education. So if Hermione Granger can be a good role model for young girls AND also be a fictional character, what’s Bella’s excuse?

    • dave

      Just because something is fiction doesn’t mean that the characters can’t be good role models. Harry Potter is a great role model. He’s brave and courageous, loyal, he stands up for what is right, he cares about school. He’s a fearless leader. He values family and friendship more than anything else. And Hermione is an excellent role model for girls as well. She’s very intelligent, she yearns to do well in school, and countless other positive qualities.

    • Meredith

      warning: if you can’t take it, don’t dish it. Harry Potter and his friends are beyond “good” when it comes to the issue of role models. I’m sure if Bella exhibited traits that made her a good role model, you would say so. But because you didn’t, you’re acknowledging that isnt a good role model.

    • Gabby

      If you had read the books you would know the answer to that question. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and many of the other characters are excellent role models. They never give up on what they believe in, they don’t let more powerful people silence them when they know something is right, they’re not afraid to fight for what they believe, they value their friends and the people they love, they know how to forgive and forget, they don’t judge…I could go on forever. But when you look at the females in the Harry Potter books, even the baddies like Bellatrix are strong. They’re not weak and whiny. I can’t think of one weak female in the entire HP series. Even Cho had her strong moments.

    • Maureen

      Damn SMLEWIS! Shouldn’t have brought up HP in this conversation! HP > Twilight every single time…

  • Mallory

    Just because a story is fiction doesn’t mean that people can’t complain about characters that are bad role models. “It’s just fiction” is a pretty bad excuse. People complain about TV and book characters all the time, and those are all fake. This is no different. Parents have a right to object to any character…even if it is in a fiction book. Bella may not be meant to be a good role model, which is good because she certainly isn’t.

  • jacob78

    “Love is an ever fixed mark. It looks on tempests and is never shaken.” – W. Shakespeare

    Love will make u do irrational things and if I was in Bella’s shoes I probably wouldn’t cliff-dive or take a motorcycle ride with a stranger just to see visions of the love of my life. Albeit I would wallow in my own depression for awhile. You can say because it is a fictional/fantasy novel Stephanie chose to write Bella in that way to create the level of obsession bella has over Edward and how love will make u do stupid things. Bella could have died in any of those instances; definitely not something young girls should emulate. Hence this is fiction and a great way for the author to show the descent of a character in crazy ways making us feel “why in her right mind would she do this.” Because love is an ever fixed mark, it looks on tempests and is never shaken. Not all of the heroines from novels have to be role models. Love happens and rationality doesn’t.

  • E.A.Y.

    I don’t think that all characters must function as role models. They are there primarily to entertain us.

    I’ll try to explain the following point without spoilers…But, if you look at the series as a whole, Bella’s journey supports the idea of being true to what you want and pursuing your heart’s desire. She ends up living the life she wants, and she is better suited for it than she or anyone else anticipated. She fits in better with her new life than she did with her old. So, in that sense, she is a good role model. She follows what she wants, she achieves it, and she’s very happy.

    • Meredith

      serial killers follow what they want (gaining fame by killing a lot of people with a signature something or other), and they are happy when they acheive it. Does that make them role models? I’m not trying to compare Bella to serial killers, but my point is that just because you get everything you want (unrealistically with no consequences) doesn’t make you a role model.

    • Kelsey

      “She follows what she wants, she achieves it, and she’s very happy.”
      So if I want a lot of new shiny things and rob a bank to get money to pay for them, am I a good role model? I followed what I wanted, I achieved it, and I’m happy. Is that your only criteria?

      • E.A.Y.

        Of course not. Either of those two suggestions is a ridiculous comparison. A serial killer is a murderer, and a bank robber is stealing from people. Bella’s pursuit of her goals doesn’t cause anyone to lose their life or their savings or someone else they love. I was being vague in my description so as not to spoil the plot in case someone who hasn’t read the series yet was reading this thread; but really, why would anyone who hasn’t read the books be looking at this? All I’m saying is — at a basic level, Bella’s story is about believing in herself and pursuing life with the man she loves as a vampire. I don’t personally think getting married at 18 is a good idea. I’m not saying that getting everything you want makes you a role model. And I don’t think Bella should be viewed as a role model. Her attachment to Edward is something that only works in the story — in real life she would be seriously emotionally disturbed, as would he. But within the realm of the story, she is strong, she protects those she loves, and she believes in herself. That part is good.

  • phyllis sanders

    I haven’t seen any of these movies, but I have read a lot of stories on this saga. I think these are just young people acting like young people. I would like to see these movies, but have not been able yet. I think Edward is quite good looking, and Bella is very pretty girl. This is like a fantasy love story, and that is the way it should be taken. None of these actors, should be a role model for anyone, unless they start doing good work for the homeless, and needy people. And conduct their lives as normal as possible. They can if they really want to. thank you.

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