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Renee DuShane

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Bella Swan: A Strong Female Character

Posted: 03/29/2012 9:23 am

Is she the typical teenager in love with unrealistic vampire hottie, or a prime example of a strong modern-day woman? Whether you love her or love to hate her, everyone has their opinion on Twilight's Bella Swan. If you ask me, I'd say the latter. Looking past the romance of the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle and the sparkly vampires, you can see that Bella has characteristics sorely lacking in too many teenagers and young women these days. She possesses the qualities of courage, hope and, acceptance that have defined women for centuries.

Bella isn't afraid because she knows that in her world, fear means death. She knows that if she shows fear in the face of someone trying to take her from her family or Edward, her enemy will smell weakness and attack. Take this sensibility and apply it to the life of a 'normal' teenager -- this can happen in sports when you sense fear in your opponent, or when a bully smells fear in people's insecurities.

It's easy to see Bella's courage if you think of all the things she has to be afraid of. Girls can have a lot of fear, rejection, heartbreak -- and the fear of not being good enough. Bella has these; she does have fear. But the difference is that she will stand up and fight for what will make her happy. That's something that makes women special -- we don't take crap, and Bella is a prime example of this.

This courage made me find hope in the character of Bella. She gives me hope that true love is still real in a generation filled with divorce and online dating. She takes it back to 18th-century romance where the girl falls hopelessly in love with a boy who would take a bullet for her. When did that scenario become a sign of weakness in women? Looking at Bella's experience in love, I think it required hope -- hope that she would be strong enough and also that Edward would catch her if she wasn't. If you ask me, falling in love with someone should be seen as a leap of faith rather than a sign of being dependent.

Acceptance is also an admirable thing about Bella Swan's character. The way she accepts the Cullen family and Jacob's wolf pack is a shining example to the world of being truly open-minded. Sure, it took a little getting used to, but Bella knew who these people truly were inside. The fact that they were immortal didn't change her feelings -- if anything, she became even more interested.

That is probably the most important aspect of Bella as a strong female character -- the way she is able to love the person, not the label. If more people could take this approach to each other's differences, there could be serious positive change in society.

A strong female can possess many different qualities depending on the circumstances. Bella showcases how a little bit of a hope and a lot of courage and acceptance can get a girl what she wants. Girls want to be accepted and feel empowered, and many want to find love. Maybe she does go a little weak in the knees, but Bella Swan is far from a weak female character.