I don't know about you, but this leaves me feeling intensely ambivalent. On one hand, good for her for taking on a label that, sadly, so many women in pop culture seem hellbent on shying away from. [...] Meyer does vocalize a lot of feminist principles. On the other hand, walk the walk, girl. If the world's a better place when women are in charge, why not give them a little bit of agency between the covers of your books?
Davis, like many feminists, believes that Meyer's female characters are too weak, too passive, and too boy-crazy. Be that as it may, I think Davis is wrong to say that Meyer doesn't "walk the walk" in her writing. On the contrary, Meyer's writing is quite consistent with the vision of feminism that she puts forward. Again, here's Meyer's quote.
I love women, I have a lot of girlfriends, I admire them, they make so much more sense to me than men, and I feel like the world is a better place when women are in charge.
Meyer says that women make more sense to her than men. Her books are consistent with that. Twilight and The Host are pretty much entirely devoted to exploring women's feelings and women's relationships in the context of genres—romance, soap opera, fan fic—overwhelmingly associated with and consumed by women. In Twilight, Bella eventually becomes a super-powered vampire whose special abilities prevent a war. In The Host, Wanderer's special knowledge and abilities transform the lives of those around her. In both cases, women are the protagonists, the central point of identity, the saviors, the heroes—and, not incidentally, the targeted consumers. All of that seems to fit quite well with Meyer's feminist commitments.
It's true as Davis says that feminism these days tends to be defined in journalistic settings as female autonomy—which is why hyper-competent warriors like Katniss or Buffy are seen as feminist icons. But feminism also has a long tradition of valuing women and, with that, of valuing sisterhood—or, as Meyer says, "I love women, I have a lot of girlfriends." Meyer is the kind of feminist who sees romance and relationships as important, who sees motherhood as important, who has fantasies in which your best friend (male in Twilight, female in The Host) can read your mind and loves you the more for it. Carol Gilligan would approve, I'm pretty sure.
In some ways, it seems (again, as Davis suggests) that Meyer's vision of feminism is in tension with autonomy. The intense focus on relationships, as Meyer says, comes out of her valuing of women and sisterhood, and is surely what so many women value in her books. But to be invested in relationships can easily compromise autonomy. If you're willing to do anything for your lover or child, that puts limits on what you're willing to do for yourself. (Which is why women in their 20s who want careers sometimes feel conflicted about wanting relationships as well.)