The traditional female/male role of olde time romances was one of the things that most troubled me while I was reading the series of Twilight books (early 2009). As a matter of fact, this was such a persistent annoyance for me, reading continuously about the weak, somewhat pretty heroine and Edward's millionaire, powerful, all-knowing character, that it totally turned me off the series in the first book--but I was intent on seeing whether it was redeemed in the remainder of the series.
Those few of us who noticed there was something amiss, who didn't buy in...we kept taking a grain of salt as we read--if we continued reading. I know that I personally had an immense issue with the third to fourth books, and gave up reading the fourth book for a few weeks before regaining interest. Why did I pick the book up again? Not because it was interesting or I wanted to know badly how it ended, but because I wanted to finish something I'd started. This is hardly the type of thing a reader who's put up with three books should be saying!
Surprisingly, someone's been courageous enough to remark on this issue. I was listening to an article on NPR about teen angst, and one of the segments covered exactly this. They were saying that girls and women are drawn to the all powerful male figure who seduces and protects the weaker heroine. This can also be considered sexy for some, and immensely attractive as a concept for most other female readers. This could very well provide a warped image of what romance and love is for young, impressionable female minds. That this draws out some inner issues women have with prince charming. Edward is also called something like a creepy stalker who's always watching Bella, and engineering her life. True, very true. Wouldn't this be scary in real life? Take a minute and listen to this story from NPR, it makes for some really good listening--and thinking.