Why I Am Fascinated By Gender Swapping

Recently, Stephenie Meyer published her re-imagining of Twilight, where the major characters have all been gender swapped. According to many, the book is bizarre and almost unsettling because it is literally Twilight with a male Bella and female Jacob and Edward.  But why would this fascinate me so much?

Let’s face it: the Twilight series is a little sketchy. Edward and Jacob do many things that, if they weren’t a vampire and a werewolf, would be really concerning and scary. Edward breaks into Bella’s house to watch her sleep, completely abandons her, gets her pregnant, and turns her into vampire. And for some reason, we excuse these actions because he is a vampire. Also, Bella is a concerning character because of her entire breakdown because Edward left her in New Moon. This just all seems like a red flag to me.

But now the genders have switched. Does this change how we view the actions? If it does, is it for the better? Should it be a good thing?

If you answer yes to any of those, that is what I am fascinated by. It shows a bias and discrimination based on gender doesn’t it? It isn’t very fair for Bella to be called crazy for having a meltdown over a breakup, but praise Beau for being an emotionally sensitive man. It should be that, no matter the gender, the character should be perceived the same way. Your view should not change because the gender did, even if it would be for the better.

According to Variety, “Meyer writes in her foreword to the anniversary edition of the novel that the gender bending twist was prompted by her desire to prove that Bella isn’t a ‘damsel in distress,’ but a ‘human in distress.'” Meyer herself is looking at this, because it’s not fair for a female character to be judged and an identical male character to be praised.

Is doing a gender swap the best way to accomplish her goal? Probably not, because all I see is people cringing or laughing at the book, but that’s because it seems like she took Twilight, hit Ctrl+F and swapped the names around. The gender swap is not serving to it’s purpose, because everyone is distracted by it. I really want the gender swap to show people how we treat women versus men, in fiction and reality, but I don’t think it is going to happen with the Twilight series.

What are your thoughts on Gender Swapping and Life and Death? Let me know below!


13 Comments Add yours

  1. I like your analysis of the gender swap. I was thinking the same thing. It’s too gimmicky, and can’t lead to a meaningful discussion about gender bias. Even with the gender swap, if all she did was Ctrl + F, as you put it, it’s still a terribly written series that romanticizes unhealthy relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. If it was a story that was not already flawed it might have gone differently

      Liked by 1 person

  2. edefreitas says:

    I love your thoughts on this. I didn’t know she had done that. I realize it’s a very monetarily successful franchise, but did she literally change nothing but the names? If her point was to show that Bella’s actually a strong character, I can definitely see that backfiring.


    1. Exactly. I never identified Edward as strong, so it just does not work out well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that the motivation behind swapping their genders is an interesting take. I’ve often toyed with writing my own YA book that was focused on gender role reversal. I’m 97% sure I won’t read this but it has definitely peaked my interest. I’ll admit I read the Twilight series but it’s not something I’m proud of lol. But you’re right, even when I read the series, I was like, “Edward is hella creepy.” It kind of reminds me of people idolizing the romance of Romeo and Juliet. It’s like, that’s lust, not love, you 14 year-old nitwits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah. I almost wish that Twilight ended after the first book, because it wouldn’t have gotten so bad. I only read the first book and it was fine, but still creepy actions

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Meh. It’s a cash grab. The original books are rubbish, but she’s just capitalizing on their (incomprehensible) enduring popularity.


  5. Meh. It’s a cash grab. She’s just capitalizing on the mysterious, explainable, but enduring popularity of the original series.


    1. I think it’s to take attention away from Midnight Sun not getting published because it was leaked


  6. .hartland. says:

    I too wasn’t aware that Stephanie had written this.
    I’ve always been curious about the concept of gender swap. I think because it’s difficult to discern whether what we ‘think’ we understand about the behaviour and thought patterns of females and males isn’t actually just conditioned based, and therefore not true.

    I would be willing to read Life and Death just to see how my thoughts react.

    Did you know that Elizabeth Gilbert dressed as a man over a matter of months while trying to write from the perspective of a man? Complete with a condom filled with seeds down her pants 🙂


  7. veaves says:

    I can not wait to read! And I am really curious if my opinion about the characters will be different!


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