Perhaps the Greatest Pop Culture Intersection EVER…and it Involves Literary Criticism, so English Nerds Who Like to Laugh- Navi says: “HEY! LISTEN!”
While researching my project about the literary evolution of the vampire, I stumbled upon this delicious tidbit of criticism that I just HAD to share.
Read it and then see if you think of the very first thing that I thought of…
Sedgwick broadens Rubin’s argument by investigating “compulsory heterosexuality” as a distinguishing factor in female relationships and in male relationships. She argues that men’s relationships are defined by “homosocial desire,” that homosocial relationships between men must be distinguished from socially threatening homosexual unions, and the only way to eliminate the homosexual threat between men is to include a woman in the relationship, forming a (safe) triangular configuration rather than a (threatening) linear, male-to-male union. She contends that contrary to women’s relationships “patriarchial structures [assure] that obligatory heterosexuality’ is built into male-dominated kinship systems, [and] that homophobia is a necessary consequence of … patriarchal institutions [such] as heterosexual marriage” (3). Women function in this system as signs and tools to ensure the survival of male relationships and to deflect the threat of homosexuality by serving as a link between men.
Elizabeth Signorotti (Repossessing the Body: Transgressive Desire in “Carmilla” and Dracula)
Did you read it through carefully?
Are you giggling? Did you figure it out?
I’m just doing this to create more suspense and keep you from scrolling to fast into the gifs below.
Okay Elizabeth Signorotti! I get what you’re saying…
In other words:
It’s okay when it’s in a 3-way…
It’s not GAY when it’s in a 3-way!
With a honey in the middle there’s some leeway!
The area is grey in a ONE, TWO, THREE-Way!
It took all my willpower NOT to incorporate those lyrics into my subheading for the section about gender and homosexual anxiety in my paper :)
abundleofletters said: What was your 60 page English project??
It was about the evolution of the vampire myth from Romanian folklore to, Dracula, to well, of course, Twilight.
My premise was that any surge of interest / shaping of the vampire myth can be tied back to a stimulus originating from the contemporary social anxieties of a given period. For example, the vampire of folkloric origins was shaped by a pre-industrial society’s fear of death / inability to explain the spread of disease. The vampire of Stoker’s era was shaped (partly) by anxieties related to the emergence of progressive women, the pressure to maintain sexual relations only within the bonds of marriage, and homoeroticism/homosexuals. When talking about our modern era, most recently we have terrorism, social networking anxieties (online privacy, identity theft), the economy, and changing social norms related to things like gay marriage and gender roles.
That last intersection was particularly interesting because it means that a lot of problematic Victorian issues are STILL problematic for us, even after all this time has passed by. This suggests that some social anxieties are very much deeply woven into the vampire mythic tapestry. The one topic that was an evergreen issue across all generations was, appropriately enough, SEX (and/or intimacy).
Twilight, can kind of be seen as an weirdly accurate homage to older works like Dracula because it (I imagine subconsciously on the part of the author) affirms all the conservative Victorian values of Stoker’s era. Bella relinquishes control to Edward (the patriarchy) by agreeing to marry him in order to gain a higher social status (the vampiric abilities / longevity that she desires). Her need to become a vampire in order survive her pregnancy affirms that metaphor of marriage/domestic life ultimately resulting in the loss of personal identity (the un-death status).
My final point was an attempt to argue that the slasher serial killer villain of the horror genre was, effectively, our modern day interpretation of the traditional vampire. I won’t go into all the details, but there are some cool parallels between the two that relate to psychological degeneracy, sexual ambiguity, and gender dynamics with the “final girl” character who manages to survive the horror film and outwit the killer in the end.
I emailed my professor a copy last week, but am still waiting to hear back from her with any results. My fingers will be permanently crossed until then ;)