(Franiuk and Scherr 19). The female characters in The Vampire Diaries are magically enamored to the vampires, due to their stereotypical masculine portrayal. The beginning of the human/ vampire relationship is connected to masculine depictions by the male vampires. Stefan, for example, demonstrates his skills on the football pitch before Elena and he get together (20). Elena is a down to earth girl with brunette hair and although she is popular at school and has some admirer, she does not present herself as arrogant.
It is quite the contrary, she is being “caring, mature, and concerned about her drug-taking rotheroften playing the caregiver role with him in place of their dead parents” (Thurber 69). In most vampire fictions, “the focus on the male vampire and his human female paramour serves to make the particular monstrousness of the vampire primarily masculine in nature” (Nicol 145).
The Vampire Diaries certainly does not deviate from this picture, but it is attenuated by introducing cultural conceptions of well-esteemed female gender norms and performances of the female characters in a shift from being the weak human to becoming a strong, independent and gallant vampire (145). Many different writers ave offered different depictions of vampires, older concepts, such as Dracula, show vampires as blood sucking monsters that drink human blood in order to survive. This concept is true for The Vampire Diaries, but a recent change of the character of vampires took place.
Modern vampires in The Vampire Diaries and Twilight are morally reformed and do not want to hurt humans anymore and therefore resist the urge of drinking human blood. Instead they survive of blood bags and animal blood (Franiuk and Scherr 16). However, Stefan’s brother Damon, who feeds on humans and engages in repeated loodshed, is considered to be one of the evil vampires. He is very violent stating (Durocher 52) that “I don’t side with anyone. You piss me off, I want you dead” (Williamson and Plec qtd. in Durocher 52).
Damon seems to be the permeated reincarnation of evil and the perfect depiction of the blood sucking evil vampire, but an important scene from the episode Family Ties, shows him as a feminised vampire, who is not able to keep his male authority up. Damon Salvatore lazes on the bed with a book in his hand, which turns out to be one of the Twilight series. While reading the book, he has a chat with Caroline, who s the girl Damon uses for his evil purposes: Damon: What’s so special about this Bella girl? Edward’s so whipped. Caroline: You have to read the first book first.
It won’t make sense if you don’t. Damon: Ah I miss Anne Rice. She was so on it. Caroline: How come you don’t sparkle? Damon: Because I live in the real world where vampires burn in the sun. Caroline: How do you go in the sun? Damon: I have a ring. It protects me. Long stor… This book, by the way, has it all wrong (Family Ties). The presented scene shows that Caroline is a fan of the Twilight novels, because she mentions that he needs to read the first ook first and knows that the vampire Edward from Twilight sparkles in the sunlight.
Living in a world where vampires are real, Caroline sneers at the new vampire (in this case Edward from Twilight) and hence the emasculation of them. Of course, Damon sees himself as a manlier and stronger vampire, “thus echoing the heterosexual male sentiment that the new vampire (ie: Edward Cullen and those similar to him) are ‘whipped’ by the women they loved and suffering from a loss of masculinity” (Thurber 57-58). Damon then says that he exists in the real world and states that he does not sparkle in the unlight because authentic vampires burn and die in the sun.
He persistently tries to defend his own masculinity of being a real vampire, while at the same time neglecting Edward’s masculinity based on the sheer fact that he sparkles, which Bella (human protagonist in Twilight) describes as beautiful, a description that is considered as feminine. The conversation gets more complicated, considering that Damon tries to maintain and proof his masculinity and he finally pictures himself as feminised in different ways.
The next scene shows Damon trying to defend his vampire friend. The main reason why Damon is in Caroline’s bed is the fact they slept with each other, but while he hangs out, she tries on different dresses and looks for an appropriate one for the evening’s event while Damon gives his opinion on the picked clothes. Although Damon makes fun of the new type of vampire meanwhile “he controls his parading in her underwear in front of himproviding, one would assume, a visual pleasure grounded in the male gaze” (58).
On the other side, he does not seem to be very interested in looking at Caroline’s half naked body, and most of his attention, aside from Edward is devoted to sculinity and depicts himself in the role of a gay Caroline’s apparel. Damon rarely looks at her body, in fact, he instantly recognises the colour of her dress and tells Carline his fashion advice. The following dialog clarifies the situation: Damon: No Yellow. Jaundice. Go for the blue.
Caroline:I don’t like the blue. Damon: Well, I do. And if I’m going to be your date… (Family Ties) He manages to keep his male authority up in acting the opposite from what he believes is Edward’s inferior behaviour, but the way in which he maintains the authority is worth examining. Giving fashion advice to Caroline, who Damon is drinking blood from, controlling, and sleeping with, that the choice of her colour for the dress is not perfectly fit for her skin tone is not really within the social construction of hegemonic masculinity.
He does not make any references towards the skirt in regard of her feminine body. On the contrary, his advice are only about fashion and “the manner in which the female body is clothed in this fashionrepresenting the stereotype of the gay man” (Thurber 59). Comparing heterosexual and homosexual is against Damon’s assertion about Edward, which accidentally uts him in the same position in which Edward is, being “caught between traditional masculinity and the often-feminized new vampire” (59).
An interesting example of female vampire superiority, which upends the traditional gender norms (hegemonic masculinity vs. femininity) is Katherine. Katherine is a five-hundred-year old evil vampire, who dated Stefan and Damon about one hundred and forty-five years before Elena was born. Damon is still in love with Katherine, although she tells him that it was always Stefan she adored. In episode one of season two, which is called The Return, Katherine tells Damon to “kiss her or kill her” (Thurber 72).
The scene turns into a passionate act in which Katherine professes her sexual dominance by thrusting Damon to the ground in order to give him the first kiss. Thereupon he stops Katherine abruptly and asks for a pause. This proofs that, even he tries to maintain his masculinity, he slips into being the new type of vampire by “reversing the gender expectations since it is normally the female who is portrayed as the one asking for a pause during heated sexual moments” (72). She gets frustrated and pushes him from her and waits for him to tell her the easons.
The following dialogue takes place, in which she takes over the male part and seems to be sexually frustrated, due to his emotions (72-73). Damon: I have a question. Answer it, and it’s back to fireworks and rockets red glare. Answer it right and l’ll forget the last hundred and forty five years I’ve spent missing you. ‘ll forget how much I loved you l’ll forget everything and we can start over. This can be our defining moment. We have the time. That’s the beauty of eternity. I just need the truth. Just once.
Katherine: Stop. I already know your question and its answer. The truth is, I’ve never loved you. It was always Stefan (The Return). After saying that Katherine walks off, leaving Damon heartbroken behind. He was searching for love, but was disappointed because she only wanted sex. Finally, he no longer displays the old dominant type of vampire and masculinity, but represents “a man so violently in love that his love has manifested into a bitterness that willfully covers up his true feelings” (Thurber 73). 5.
Conclusion While there are many more passages in Dracula and quotes from different Vampire Diaries episodes that can be analysed egarding gender and hegemonic masculinity, this paper has demonstrated that hegemonic masculinity plays an important role in Stoker’s novel and it has furthermore displayed that The Vampire Diaries, indeed, comes close to the depiction that male vampires are also shown as superior in the television show, but it also provided proof that women take over the dominant role and it turned out that the evil vampire is in reality, a rack of emotions, which he tries to hide behind the masculine facade.
Bram Stoker’s novel set the foundation “for the depiction of vampire males whose evolution reflects each generation’s revalent anxieties” (Durocher 57). From a contemporary cultural view, Dracula might appear to be more than just an old man, who tries to find white young women to satisfy his sexual appetite and his bloodlust (Stevenson qtd. in Durocher 57). This old and creepy man Dracula impersonates is far away from the depiction of modern vampires, who are young, sexually desirable and handsome.
Nevertheless, vampire men stay a danger, also in modern novels and television shows, such as Twilight, or The Vampire Diaries, because they can still threaten cultural and gender norms. Dracula was displayed as an outsider, who used white women to practise his masculinity, and while contemporary male vampires are no outsiders anymore, but a component of society, the link between power, masculinity and superiority subsists (Durocher 57).
Contemporary vampire fiction, such as The Vampire Diaries, also amplify gender roles and stereotypes. The given television show as an example, highlights that men and women are portrayed stereotypically, “with the male vampire as dark, brooding, and strong and the female human as open, virginal, and vulnerable” (Franiuk and Scherr 24). This depiction ensures that the gender narrative, which ties males to dominant and women to subordinated roles.
Although some of the male vampires in The Vampire Diaries are aggressive and controlling towards their partner, they still seem to be desired by their girlfriends/sexual acquaintances. Finally, the television show portrays a typical trait from The Angel in the House, stating that dangerous men (the vampires) only need the devotion and love from their women, to calm themselves down.
What is really striking for modern vampire fiction and in the given example The Vampire Diaries, is female vampire superiority, which upends the traditional gender norms. As a vampire, Katherine possesses immense physical strength and challenges the evil vampire Damon during their sex act, in which Katherine professes her sexual dominance by thrusting Damon to the ground in order to give him the first kiss and therefore reverses the traditional gender norm in which the man is depicted as the predator and the woman the prey (24).