Friday, May 11, 2012

Female Vampires: Children, Villains or Servants

'Vampire Pam (True Blood) Fan Art' photo (c) 2009, Angie22Arts - license:
Looking at Urban Fantasy we see a lot of vampires. A lot of vampires.  Sparkly vampires, sexy vampires, daylight walking vampires, sexy vampires, magic vampires, sexy vampires, viking vampires, sex vampires - did we mention sexy vampires? Yes, lots and lots of sexy vampires.

Who are men. Nearly always men - especially when we look at Urban Fantasy on television. Men men and more sexy men wall to wall - and very very few women. Of course, part of this is because most of the human protagonists are women and Urban Fantasy is extremely heteronormative and will only pair them off with a male love interest. But looking at the few female vampires we can dig up and it’s not a great sign - we seem to have 3 models: children, servants and enemies.

Much of the models that we see in vampire stories involve an ancient male vampire and a young, often innocently virginal human female.  You would think that when a relationship forms between a female vampire and a young human male that the pattern would simply repeat, but such is not the case. Female vampires are quite often infantalised, though they are at times well over a thousand years old.  The best example of this is Rebekah from The Vampire Diaries. She is 1000 years old and in comparison to every other vampire on the show, she is absolutely childlike.  Rebekah has thus far concerned herself with proms, dances and even becoming a cheerleader.  Why oh why would a person who has seen so much history be interested in these things, especially after spending so many years trapped in a coffin?

When Bill was forced to turn Jessica into a vampire on True Blood, she was just a young teenage girl who had not seen much of the world.  True to form, she was also a virgin. When she discovered that she had been changed, Jessica delighted in cursing, as this was something that she was not allowed to in her parents home.  It was the act of a child rebelling against that which she had been taught.  Much of Bill and Jessica’s relationship takes the form of father/daughter, based in the fact that Bill is her creator.  He only reluctantly takes responsibility for Jessica, after Eric makes it clear that he will not.  Jessica has matured over the years and has really begun to figure out exactly who she is; however, thanks to being turned into a vampire when she was still a virgin, her hymen reforms after each act of sexual intercourse, thereby constructing her as a perpetual virgin.

In Interview with a Vampire, Lestat turns Claudia into a vampire after finding Louis feeding from her, in the hope of forcing Louis to stay with them.  In the novel, Claudia was only about 6 years old at the time she was turned, though she was portrayed to be between 10-12 in the movie.  Even when Claudia has long past the age where she would find dolls interesting, Lestat continues to gift her with a doll on the anniversary of the day he turned her.  Claudia is desperate to grow up and put away childish things but she cannot because she is trapped in the body of a child, though she has the mind of a grown woman.  Her age means that she is forever dependent upon an adult vampire.  Claudia never does achieve her freedom and dies at the hand of the theater vampires, her very existence seen as a threat. 

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