The next time you’re having drinks with friends, make the bold statement that Bella Swan does not suck and get ready for some fightin’ words.

I know there’s a lot of hate out there for Twilight’s Bella Swan/Kristen Stewart, and I’m going to tell you why it’s wrong. Yep, totally wrong. I’m not a Twi-hard or a Twi-mom or a Twi-anything, but I’ve been seeing Bella get a bad rap and have a deep need to defend the girl.

I’m going to focus mainly on the first book, Twilight, and touch on a couple of points from the other books, because I recently re-read it. (Plus that would make this like eleventy pages long.) Like it goes for 99% of movies based on books, the book is always better, and part of the hate-on for Bella is the movie series.

The next time someone tells you Bella sucks, here are some reasons why she deserves a defense.

Bella is defined by choice.

The theme of the entire series is choice. The story is driven by Bella’s decisions. I’ll highlight this as I go into my other points because it factors so much into her character.

Bella is independent and wiser than most teens.

The story opens with Bella moving to Washington to give her mom space to be with her new husband. Bella chooses to go, and on the inside hates it, but reassures her mom and dad Charlie that she wants to go. She’s lying, because she wants to make her mom happy. This is one of the biggest reasons I love Bella. Not only does she move across the nation to help out her mom, but she doesn’t bitch about it. I don’t know about you, but at 17 years old I wouldn’t have volunteered to move and I sure as hell would complain as much as possible.

Bella also takes care of Charlie by cooking since Bella wants decent meals. If I had to cook for my dad when I was in high school I would have pouted and starved instead. She doesn’t seek or need direction from her parents at any point in the series because she grew up being the caretaker.

Bella is sarcastic and introspective.

I think this is the biggest failing of the movies that didn’t translate to the screen either through writing or acting (sigh, KStew). Bella is quite sarcastic with a dry sense of humor and keeps her emotions to herself. She has the shiny-new-kid bonus at her school, otherwise I think she wouldn’t have made many friends.

Bella chose to be with Edward.

So Bella meets Edward and chooses to confront him and finds out he’s a sparkly vampire. She doesn’t worship the ground he walks on when they first meet – she’s offended and angry at him for being a jerk for a good part of the story. But they have an attraction that Bella chooses to pursue after many warnings from Edward that it’ll change her life.

Bella is an imperfect dork.

She is the biggest klutz in Klutzville. She’s confident but not totally comfortable in her own skin and she falls down more times than Chevy Chase in SNL. She walks alone down dark alleys at night. She decides to face James alone in the dance studio because she chooses to die to protect the people she loves. She doesn’t always make the best choice, but she makes them with conviction.

Bella is depressed when Edward leaves and works through it.

Edward decides that it’s safest for him to leave Bella and lets her believe that he doesn’t love her to make the break easier. (This is not In Defense of Edward Cullen, jerkface.) Like any normal, feeling, human being, Bella is devastated. She goes into a deep depression until she finds out that hanging out with Jacob helps her feel distracted from the pain.

I don’t know about y’all, but I have been through this sort of heartbreak. Maybe that’s why I want to defend Bella because her depression is completely understandable to me. A sudden loss of the person you love can create a deep hole where you can’t seem to crawl out. I’m impressed that Bella found what helped her and got better.

Oh, and when she realizes that Edward needs her help? She doesn’t bitch that he dumped her; she decides to get on a f’ing plane to ITALY to save him from something she knows nothing about.

I see this crap all the time. While I’d like to be all over this, I’m just gonna say you can’t take a character and put them in someone else’s story. That would be like putting Harry Potter in the Hunger Games but without magic, because there’s no magic in Panem. He’d die in the first five minutes. Someone write this story for me.

Bella is a tough momma.

Not only is she a young mother, she has a supernatural baby! She then helps gather an army to defend the kid. Young mothers are not usually the highlight of this type of story and I found it surprising and bold.

Is Bella perfect? No, which is what makes her a great character. She is all about decisions – both good and bad – and deals with the consequences. She doesn’t take the easy road and follows her own path. Give at least the first book another read and see if your opinion changes about Bella.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.