Modern vampires send inappropriate message

By Stephen Margelony-Lajoie

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]