Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Modern vampires send inappropriate message

By Stephen Margelony-Lajoie

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As the fourth season of the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” approaches and fanatics are still trying to maintain their composure and keep emotions in check after the fifth season finale of HBO’s “True Blood,” it’s getting harder to pinpoint exactly why the vampire craze isn’t over yet.

Jason Schlachet Flickr

Jason Schlachet Flickr

Hollywood vampires used to be the reason why teenagers who snuck into R-rated films were afraid of anything that made the slightest sound to break the silence of nighttime. Now an overwhelming number of teens and preteens hope that some hot vampire will make things go bump in the night.

There’s no denying that the new, European model-esque vampire has been a fantasy to thousands, if not millions, of crazed men and women just waiting to get bitten. But is this new genre of entertainment starring these glamorous creatures of the night projecting an unhealthy image about what a positive relationship looks like?

Elena and Stefan, Sookie and Eric, Bella and Edward. These iconic couples that are featured in “The Vampire Diaries,” “True Blood” and “Twilight” franchises are famous for their male vampire, female human power-couple status. All of that power in these vampire-human couples is given to the men in the relationship, though. These men are always portrayed as aggressive, super strong alpha-males who are always forgiven for their violent so-called “nature.”

The problem is that teenage girls and even older women are eating this up as if violence of any kind in a relationship is the norm. In the stories of these famous couples of literature, the female always endures a tremendous amount of physical pain. She’s bitten, thrown across the room and, as a prerequisite for being with her love for eternity, must be killed before being turned into a vampire herself. It’s okay, though, because it’s in his nature and if it’s for true love it’s for the good, right? This isn’t the message that the media should be sending to teenagers, especially at such a crucial time when teens are still learning what having a romantic relationship even means.

WebMD states that “[two] in 10 teen girls say they have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.” It’s not the highest statistic ever, but that’s two out of 10 girls too many. These franchises rarely address the abusive nature of the scripted relationships upon which they are built. The vampire dude accidentally drains his powerless girlfriend of her blood because he just can’t control himself, she’s a little scared, but she loves him so he’s forgiven again until the next time she ends up in a life-or-death situation.

These forms of entertainment are really just glorified abusive relationships that rake in millions of dollars. The media is not creating enough mainstream material geared toward teenagers that portrays positive, healthy relationships that don’t always fit into a heteronormative structure. Too many teenagers are enduring abusive relationships and why wouldn’t they be? Our culture is teaching that love means forgiving and staying in a relationship with a partner who hurts you. Enduring some form of physical abuse is practically a requirement for a relationship according to these vampire tales that are made for teens.

However, these relationships are not at all a healthy portrayal of love in our society and it needs to end now. Besides, the vampire thing is getting old now. Especially when they glitter in the sun.

Stephen Margelony-Lajoie can be reached at [email protected]

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Modern vampires send inappropriate message”

  1. Nikki on September 12th, 2012 2:22 am

    While I agree over some points in your article, there are some disagreements I have in respect to Twilight and the Vampire Diaries (I have not seen True Blood). To begin with, Edward does not throw Bella across any room, neither does Stefan with Elena, you’re making it seem as if they are abusing their girlfriends in that particular example, when it was other characters who did the throwing. Yes, Bella did spend months in a completely unhealthy depressive state after Edward left her and I believe that is not a good message for teen girls (That would have been a good example for your article). However, Elena did not go into depression when Stefan left. Yes, Elena did forgive Stefan after he went psycho for part of the season and yes he did bite her (not to the extent of completely draining her of her blood as you said), but unlike Bella (who desperately wants to become a vampire to spend an eternity with Edward), Elena did not want to become a vampire at all. And for the record, Elena did fight back against Stefan and did stake him and slap him during the third season when he was being an egotistical jerk. For most of the three seasons of the show, Stefan is the complete opposite of an “alpha male” who lets Elena decide her own fate, i.e.: when she and another person were both drowning, she made Stefan save the other person, completely unaware that she was going to become a vampire. You would have done a better job had you chosen Damon (Stefan’s brother), who no matter what, completely ignores her decisions, is always forcefully grabbing her, “kills” her brother, makes what he thinks is the best choice for her, and is dominating. At one point in the series he tells her “Get your ass out the door before I throw you over my shoulder and carry you out myself”.

    I have an obvious bias for the Vampire Diaries but the reason is because it is different from Twilight in the sense that Elena does not let herself be pushed around by her lover like Bella does, which is refreshing. With all that being said, I do think the vampire trend is winding down, now that the final Twilight movie is set to be released soon. However, the problem with abusive relationships isn’t because of vampires. The trend of a dominating male relationship will still continue after the vampire phase is over, especially with the new 50 Shades of Grey sensation, in which both the male and female are human. Sorry for the long rant.

  2. Stephen on September 12th, 2012 9:48 am

    Hi Nikki! Thanks for your response. It’s ALWAYS good to hear back from our readers, regardless if it’s criticism or not! I pointed out these couples because they are the most well known and I wanted my readers to be able to recognize some of the shows that I was talking about. I love these shows and movies, too! I just like to provoke thoughts and ideas about often overlooked messages that our media is sending to us. Once again, thank you so much!

  3. Stephen on September 12th, 2012 10:07 am

    PS there was also a recent article about the whole 50 Shades of Grey craze. You should check that out too!

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