@angermonkey "being passive and a victim CLEARLY turns Bella's crank, so to speak, so why so judgey?"
I am judgey of abusive boyfriends. Even fictional ones. That's why.
I think I'm gonna bow out here, because we are on diametrically opposite sides of the universe when it comes to our opinion on this and, y'know, that's okay. I guess we could keep debating for the sake of debating (which is often fun), but in this particular case my opinion is so strong it wouldn't, ah, be any fun, at least for me. I see your points; I don't agree; and vice versa for you. Which is all fair enough.
Enjoy the coffee. I would kill for some coffee this morning.
@angermonkey The problem with saying that the story is about "two pretty damaged people hooking up" is that I don't think you _can_ make the argument that the story is about two pretty damaged people hooking up. Because -- of course Edward and Bella both have issues. But stories about damaged people ought to show consequences to the characters' actions (just like stories about any other type of character, of course), and Bella and Edward never suffer any negative consequences in their relationship. Edward's emotional abuse, Bella's manipulative streak ... nothing ever comes of those aspects of their character journey. (In fact, I'm not even sure that Edward _has_ a character journey.) Because that relationship is held up as the ideal, they are _rewarded_ for their unhealthy control issues, instead of having to face consequences for them that challenge them to change and grow, or that they refuse to change and grow in the face of. And you can't argue that it's a case of the latter, I feel, because again: there are no negative consequences to their refusal to change. In fact, since the relationship is heralded as an ideal one, they are *rewarded* for that refusal to change.
Plus: Bella trying to get her way with Edward sort of pales in comparison to the super-strong indestructible immortal being dragging her through the parking lot and watching her in her sleep and _taking the engine out of her truck_. Edward is definitely a sexist portrayal of a guy (he's not allowed any outside passions or goals in life outside of Bella), but when it comes to being flat-out abusive his character takes the proverbial cake.
There are some good points here (nothing wrong with pregnancy being discussed more often in teen literature, for instance) -- but I feel a lot of your argument is undercut by the unhealthiness of Bella and Edward's relationship. You ask if we feminists are to determine if some desires are good or bad. I say: desire just IS, it's not bad or good -- but sometimes choosing to act on certain desires _is_ a bad thing. Bella's decision to stay with an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive stalker just because she desires him is, y'know, a bad decision. Worst of all, the book gives her no consequences for this decision; the violence of her pregnancy and birth has nothing to do with Edward's emotional abuse to her for the past three books. His behavior towards Bella is not even portrayed as abuse -- but it is.
I see your point, but I think there's too much missing in terms of follow-through consequences for this book to really be considered a good window into feminine issues.