I was discussing vampires on Twitter the other day (as you do) and it occurred to me that there are no proper awesome hardcore female vampires. A couple of people pitched some names my way, but they all failed to live up to expectation in some way. None of them were the bloodthirsty creatures of the night, the fearsome legend that used to keep us awake at night for fear that they might drain our blood. These days they’re more likely to keep us awake at night so they can drain us of less vital fluids…
The main failing of the female vampire, seems to me, to be their relationships. Each one appears to be defined by their partnership, whether with another vampire, a human or a werewolf. They’re portrayed as soft, compliant, standing in the shadows of love, or overpowered by their lust, only coming into their own when their loved one is threatened. Or worse, they’re a mere supporting character, to be killed off at the whim of the writer before they can prove me wrong.
One of the worst offenders is Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a show which empowered women, gave a young woman the ability to slay demons, made her friend the most powerful witch in the world, and left the male characters as bystanders when danger appeared. The most prominent female vamps were Harmony who wanted nothing more than to please Spike and go shopping, a subservient and fickle creature of the ‘Clueless’ generation, and Drusilla who is again defined by her relationship with Spike. Her “madness” leaves her mostly dependant on her paramour, and she is used as an emotional weapon to feed the conflict between Angelus and Spike when the former is evil. When she leaves the series it’s due to her being overpowered by her lover and forcibly removed, also removing the potential she had as an evil character.
Anne Rice has a highly successful history of creating vampires that you can believe in, ones that you might watch out for as you walk alone down a dark street at night, but she too fails to bring forth a powerful female vamp that can survive without being eclipsed by her male counterparts.
Claudia the eternal child who develops the mind of a full grown woman and her character is built upon the fury and frustration that brings. All she wants is to grow up and experience what it is to be a woman.
Akasha, the queen of the damned gave me more hope. She was a fearsome goddess queen, mother of vampires with an insatiable blood lust, but she succumbs to the male Lestat’s charms despite her plans to slaughter the men of the world.
Twilight. I fear I must talk about these books as they’re possibly the most popular vampire stories of all time. What can I say about these novels that hasn’t already been said? They’re a masterclass in controlling relationships and female abuse, and their main vamps are vegetarian (they eat animal blood instead of draining humans). They can all fuck off as far as I’m concerned.
By no means am I a vampire expert. There are probably a hundred people out there more qualified to talk about this sort of thing than I am, but I do like to have an opinion and I’m not shy to shout it out! Got an opinion yourself or think I’ve missed someone/something? Let me know!