No, I’m not writing a vampire novel and it’s not just because it’s been done ad nauseam, which it has. It’s not even because Twilight happened to us all, from which we are still only just recovering. My reasons are just a little more personal.
It offends my feminist outrage.
I’m not carried up in the romantic necrophilia that is modern vampirism, nor am I titillated by the victim-predator dynamic which is often its result. I don’t care if the vampire is woman or man or both; my feminism is not restricted to cheering for Girl Power alone. My outrage exists when there is any unfair romantic dynamic which is based more on obsession than partnership.
I give you an excerpt from Dark Symphony, by Christine Feehan:
Others fear him, sensing that he is dangerous – a predator – but for Antonietta he is her ultimate fantasy, her dream lover. He woos her with kisses full of erotic allure, whispering that she is his light, his salvation. Byron has waited an eternity for her, and he will let nothing stand between him and the woman born to be his lifemate…
Puh-lease. If that’s not an unbalanced relationship, a la Edward-Bella, I don’t know what is.
Why do I care? I’ll tell you why – this shit sells. I can’t even be glad our teenagers are at least reading, because I know exactly what they’re thinking. I’d be thinking it, too, reading these novels at age 14-16, a sponge for all the tragic-romantic sigh-worthy crap that’s out there. The thought is:
I want to be her.
The idea that a whole generation of young people consider this dynamic attractive makes me worry. To be aroused by fear and obsession, to desire a predator “full of erotic allure” and who will “let nothing stand between him” and the possession of you. I wonder how many of them will pursue and remain in unhealthy relationships because the partner that scares them and makes them powerless ultimately reminds them of the terror-desire of their teenaged dreams.
Maybe I’m underestimating today’s youth, and I hope I am, but I still feel that writers of novels directed at teenagers should refuse to idealise danger, violence, obsession and fear. I wholeheartedly applaud using those concepts, and would never advocate censorship or removing difficult ideas from young adult and even children’s literature, but when you do so there needs to be a sensitivity of treatment, a responsibility. Interacting with danger, fear, obsession and violence can lead to empowerment, but my worry is that the lesson is lost from these particular novels when their authors fail to depict it.
This leads me to also address that what I’m talking about is the modern vampire novel, and that most certainly isn’t the beginning nor end of vampire literature. However, as I’ve mentioned above, that shit sells. It’s the hot teen craze right now, so to try and thwart the tide of popularity with something contradictory would be an uphill struggle. I’m fairly certain people are doing so, because not everyone is a total idiot when it comes to writing vampire fiction, and we have a wealth of amazing novels already in the genre from a time before this craze ever occurred (a blissful time for all).
So, no, I’m not writing a vampire novel.