Bella is magnetic. Hermione is awkward. But fans of both the Twilight and Harry Potter series pick Hermione over Bella any day. Why?
"Some girls want to see themselves as Bella," said Megan Schuyler, who's been capturing the wizard rock scene in her documentary film “The Wizard Rockumentary.” "If you're feeling clumsy and different, it's fun to imagine that some dreamy perfect guy would be obsessed with you."
"We have a song about this," said Lauren Fairweather of the wizard rock band the Moaning Myrtles. "He's supposed to be perfection. That is his personality: perfection."
"He's a tasty specimen of a man," concurred Nina Jankowicz of the Moaning Myrtles. "We enjoy him."
The problem is, even for those who like Twilight, or love Edward, that's not enough for Bella to be a role model. (And perhaps it even sparks a little jealousy, for those who would imagine themselves in her place).
"She's wimpy!" Schuyler said. "When I went to the book release party, I wore a shirt that says, ‘Bella Sucks.'"
"I think Bella is a bit underdeveloped as a character," said Amy Snow, of the wizard rock band Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons. "Hermione was first and foremost a person, and she's realistic. It's a pity Bella doesn't have a secret inner strength. She's more of just a pure maiden."
The purity thing – the whole debate whether Bella should be "bitten" or whether that would corrupt her – is also an issue. Fine for just a love story, they say, but ultimately, it's "anti-feminist."
"What is the message?" asked Mallory Schuyler, also from “The Wizard Rockumentary.” "Bella always needs saving. What does she do for fun? She cooks dinners for her dad. She doesn't have friends outside of Edward and her family. I'm kind of sad that so many girls are latching on to her as a role model, when her whole focus is getting married and having sex with a vampire."
"Bella has a one-track mind," Snow said. "I don't think many second-wave feminists would appreciate her."
Those who enjoy getting caught up in the Twilight romance say that it's a good escape, but don't expect it to be more. "Twilight fans don't think about ways the story can be twisted or different influences it can have," said Melissa Lawson. She's a staffer for the Harry Potter site the Leaky Cauldron but she also posts frequently about Twilight on LiveJournal, so she plays for both teams, except when it comes to this: On her Leaky Cauldron bio, she writes, "I want to be Hermione when I grow up."
Do you consider Bella to be a role model? Why or why not? And do your favorite characters have to be role models in the first place?