Young teenage girls are typically struggling to find their identity as they slowly sidle their way into adulthood and into sexuality. They want to be unique, but they also often run a risk of being too noticed and, hence, derided. Bella Swan a typical teenage girl, and represents the typical teenage experience almost perfectly. She is introspective, loving, quiet, embarrassed to speak up, and unable to express herself adequately. She sees herself as clumsy (even though she isn't, really). This is accurate, and makes for a good character.
Bella Swan, however, doesn't seem to have much of a personality beyond her vague broodiness. She has no hobbies, no interests, no quirks, nothing. She is interested in one thing and one thing only: Edward. Indeed, her tunnel vision is so intense, it begins to reveal her as a bad role model for girls. Do you really want to be defined solely by your boyfriend? And don't get me started about the way she plays Edward and Jacob off of one another.
Edward is the perfect lover. He lives to serve. He is immortal, beautiful, and sparkles in the sunlight. I cannot deny that Edward Cullen is an ideal romantic fantasy come to life. Many male romantic leads in recent romantic films tend to be of the Flawless Rescue Stud variety, and while Edward can be fit into that definition, he has something more of an edge. He knows he has the ability to hurt someone, and remains aloof as a result. This is not necessarily mature behavior, but it's accurate to a teenager.
Edward is the ultimate tease. He claims he loves Bella, and to prove his love, stays away from her, causing misery to them both. He tortures Bella endlessly by denying her the sex she clearly wants to have. He starts a war with his own people by dating the one girl he's not supposed to, even when he's surrounded by vampire mates who are much more interesting. He's a bad, bad guy, and not good for the boring heroine.
In terms of teenage romance fantasy, Twilight nails it. Bella and Edward have that doom-flavored, barn-burning, outrun-the-explosion sort of romance that feels so achingly real to young men and young women in their high school years. Romance when you're a teenager always feels much larger, much more important, much more intense than when you're older, and the realities of forging a long-term relationship take the place of unending romantic isolationism. Bella and Edward have that, only it works for them, because, well, they are immortal vampires, and they really do have all the time in the world, and an excuse to be alone together forever.
Why did it take these idiots so long to hook up? Because they can only express their affection through taunting, denial, and all manner of socially unacceptable behavior. Indeed, after four movies worth of emotional stiff-arming, one might begin to suspect that both Bella and Edward have a BDSM-laced emotional abuse fetish. They're constantly screaming “We can't be together!” Because he's immortal, because his “clan” won't accept it, because the other kids would laugh at mousy Bella landing “teh hotness” Edward. Hey kids: Why don't you fuck and get it over with?
As a shrinking, shy virgin, sex can seem distant, alien, and overwhelming. Some virgins play it off as casual, claiming they don't need to have sex. And they may be comfortable with it. Other virgins seek sex vehemently, only to be denied by their own awkwardness (that was me). When looked at from a shy virgin's perspective, one can see the sexuality of Twilight as being painfully honest. It's a big, big step. Something that needs to be talked about, thought about, planned, reconsidered. You want to have sex, but you're kind of skittish about the social and romantic ramifications of it. Twilight captures the virginal mindset very well.
Twilight also fetishizes chastity to an unseemly degree. I said above that Bella and Edward seem to be in a BDSM relationship where withholding affection is the ultimate sign of affection. That goes for the physical as well. Edward is afraid to have sex with Bella because when he's horny, he gets bitey, and he doesn't want to make her into a vampire... yet. The entire Twilight series is about withholding sex, keeping it distant. How about something more healthy? Like teenagers learning to express their sexuality in a more natural way? Learning to be safe and open about it? And not treating virginity like its a precious jewel? I think teens should plan out their first time, making sure they're comfortable with everything that's happening and selecting a partner they trust.
What young girl doesn't fantasize about being the center of an intense romantic triangle? When looked at from Bella's perspective, the rivalry between Edward and Jacob is nearly perfect. One is intense and gorgeous, but broody. The other is hot-headed, but earthy and more relatable. They reflect two halves of a perfect lover, and one can see why Bella would be torn between loving one or the other. Personally, I'm Team Jacob. The rivalry over Bella is also a bit natural, as teen boys can fight over a common girl in real life very similarly.
Bell's refusal to move away from Edward, date Jacob, and take any sort of decisive romantic action is – well, have you seen Hamlet? A play about a guy who refuses to take violent action, and brings about the ruin of his entire country? Yeah, that's kind of what Bella does. She's so bland, indecisive, and clueless, that she allows a war to take place! That's right. She does nothing noble to help people, nothing forthright to end suffering, and nothing hard that would challenge her. She is the catalyst for misery and death. Her minor decisions are all selfish and irresponsible. And she expects to be loved and protected. Sorry Bella, but I would dump your ass in a second.
The formula has been repeated on schoolyards for generations: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. This poem (penned in the early 16th century by English translator Henry Lovelich, and not by Welsh poet Lewys Daron as many scholars believe) captures another aching romantic fantasy about children. Love can be so intense, that, well, new life can form from it. And when the kid is born, and grows into a relatable human over the course of a few months (sidestepping the pesky parenting-an-infant stuff), we very suddenly have a sweet little kid who represents the perfect romantic union.
A grown man looks at a baby and falls in love with it. In the movies, the baby is achieved through creepy, creepy CGI effects. No one seems to mind that the baby is a monster baby. Everything about Renesmee – even her dumb name – is off-putting and unsavory. In being a perfect romantic fantasy, Renesmee is reduced to an avatar. A symbol. The character is not meant to be seen as another person, but as yet another symptom of the unhealthy romantic obsession shared by Bella and Edward. And doesn't the baby nearly kill Bella? Is this a cautionary tale about your virginity? Please don't ever look directly at the baby. You'll go blind.