Wicked Lovely, and the Modern Vampire

23Jan10

Edited and reposted — sorry about the new-blog shuffling that’s going on.

The other day, I started reading this Young Adult fantasy novel called Twilight with Fairies Wicked Lovely. Despite being Young Adult fantasy (which I consider suspect by nature), it had received decent reviews, and the premise sounded intriguing.

I didn’t get far. About two chapters in, the centuries-old and ethereally-handsome vampirefairy started hitting on the reclusive (but still liked by everyone she meets!) high-school main character. The specific point at which I stopped reading was when she was described as having blue-black hair, and so pale, petite, and skinny that she was like a wraith. Immediately after describing her this way, the creepy stalker fairy begins to fetishize that she is pale, petite, and skinny. Literally the next sentence. She’s described, and then she’s fetishized.

Guess how the book ends. (I cheated and looked it up online so I don’t have to read the damn thing.) Let’s see… she embarks upon a tempestuous (and abusive) relationship with the centuries-old pedophile, although she has some mid-story waffling back and forth between him and the werewolf human romantic interest. In the end she goes for the creepy pedophile. In book four they get married and have a kid, we’ll call it “Leneesmee”… Bonus points for Wicked Lovely because the main character also turns out to be ~*~the chosen one~*~.

There are a few different points in this that I’d like to open for discussion. The first one is necrophilia. Completely skipping over the vampire issues of the Twilight parallels I’ve been drawing, I’m still really bothered by the way the main character is described (and fetishized). During her description, which goes along the lines of skin white as snow, hair black as ebony, my very first thought was wondering if we’d comment on her blood-red lips in the next few sentences.  The Snow-White story is one I find very interesting, partly because of the vampiric and necrophiliac themes woven so deep into it. She looks like a vampire even before she dies, with her too-pale skin and too-red lips.

Sticking to the book being discussed here, it really disturbs me that the main character is described so heavily in corpse metaphors. The paleness of her skin is emphasized, and her thinness. She’s literally described as looking like a “wraith”, and it’s the center of the description. Not nymph, or angel, or any variety of warm-blooded animal (how about doe-eyed, or kittenish, to name some very common (and less creepy) ways to fetishize your female main character?). No, she’s described as a dead thing, which immediately makes the male main character want to cuddle her.

The second point I want to discuss is–the idea of women wanting to date controlling and even abusive “bad-boys” aside (though if anyone wants to go there, we can)–what’s with the fetishizing of the creepy pedophile? Has this always been a sub-category of women in literature who choose to fall for the bad boys? I think this comic is again worth referencing here.

Or, what’s the appeal of the vampire in general? Dracula is still on my to-read list, so maybe someone else can shed some light on the subject. Was the modern vampire idealized and sexualized from the start? From the early movies I’ve seen (Nosferatu is one of my favorite silent films, and may very well be worth a post of its own), the vampire is a dehumanized creature, a monster, absolutely not a romantic interest. Is this a Beauty and the Beast complex, the (particularly female) compulsion to humanize the monster and discover the enchanted prince within?

I’m baffled. What do you all think?

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3 Responses to “Wicked Lovely, and the Modern Vampire”

  1. 1 Fallon

    Loving your new blog, darling!

    I had to comment on this one, having read Twilight and recent vamp lit. I don’t know how and why it started, but this vampire fetish is kind of odd. I mean, I get it, you have a guy who has possibly been around for centuries, knows the meaning of true courtship, is probably awesome in the sack, and who will be linked to you for eternity if you give into him. However, it’s curious to me that very rarely do they examine what should happen to those relationships. Nobody can be madly in love for centuries; it’s just not physically possible. So, there has to be some sort of resentment on the female part for stupidly trapping herself in a teenager’s body for ETERNITY. It’s briefly touched on in Twilight, but tossed aside because the “love” is too great.

    And I have to ask, how exactly does a male vampire get it up, what with the lack of blood pumping through his body? Curious minds want to know.

  2. Well, it kind of taps into our society’s idea of true, eternal love, doesn’t it? However unrealistic that may be, it’s pervasive in our books and movies. Finding The One, your soulmate, a love that will last forever into eternity–this shows up a lot, and books or movies that are more realistic about love are rare. Maybe the eternal life of the vampire is just helping to reinforce that idea.

    As for the second question, well… every version of vampires is constructed differently, but most of them involve taking in a large amount of blood on a regular basis, so it seems to me that there IS a steady intake of blood so why shouldn’t it be pumping through certain regions of his body? My other theory is rigor mortis.

  3. 3 Daniel

    So, as far as Bram Stoker’s Dracula goes, the book was sort of a metaphor for sexual domination and rape. Dracula had three “brides”, and after traveling to England took another, and attempted to take even one more (Mina Harker). In all cases, Dracula did not “woe” his target, he came in the night when they were unaware of him, and without power to stop him. He would then “violate them”, and in so doing weaken their resolve. However, the point here is… Dracula was ALWAYS a monster. The only time we see him acting smooth and suave, is at the beginning when he’s trying to charm Jonathan Harker so that he can get legal advice and information about England, because he’s more or less running out of villagers to eat in Transylvania, and wants to move on to a big ol’ feast in the big city.
    Vampires in general have been greatly romanticized since about the 19th century. Prior to that, the typical description of a vampire was “bloated and of a ruddy or dark complexion”. Quite different than these pale, skinny quaffs we see today. Vampires (or the idea of something that sucks the life force from another person) have existed in almost every culture, almost as far back as history recalls. Interestingly enough, the earlier versions of vampires were often still covered in their burial shroud, and did not have fangs. This was again something popularized in the 19th century. However, again, we find that in all cases, vampires are monsters, demons, etc. that are meant to be feared and destroyed. I’m not sure when or where this idea that they are sexy came about.

    As for the getting it up… I always enjoyed the explanation used in White Wolf’s Vampire: the Masquerade. You had a certain amount of blood flowing through you as a vampire, and a certain amount of control over that. So we used to joke about “dedicating a blood point” to get and keep it up. ;)


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