Where Are All the Lesbian Vampires?
Someone contacted us here and asked an interesting question–namely, where are all the lesbian vampires? In one way, this seems very nearly ridiculous. Almost to the point of whining! True Blood comes back in a couple of months, featuring a regular lesbian vampire character (Pam) who now looks to be in a relationship with another regular (Tara). Styria, a really interesting-looking adaptation of Le Fanu’s Carmilla is on its way.
But then, further thought simmered for a few moments. How many vampire movies and t.v. shows have emerged in the last several years? Yet how many had lesbian characters? In terms of television at least–two. Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave us arguably the most wonderful girl-girl relationship seen on the little screen. And then there’s the afore-mentioned True Blood. Now compare that to the rest of the mass media. The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Hope. House M.D., Warehouse 13, Supernatural, etc. To name only a few!
One begins to wonder! Especially if (like myself) one begins to consider the possibilities of the characters seen, how the shows might have proven even more compelling with such a curlicue. It isn’t as if Elena torn between the love of two undead sisters couldn’t make for some compelling stories. Or that Drusilla isn’t in her own just as fascinating a character as Spike or Angel. One nearly eternal failure in the series Forever Knight was how rarely any of the regular female characters even met! But what if Janette instead of Nick had been the one seeking to reclaim her humanity with Natalie’s help? How many different versions of Dracula we have seen, often re-imagined in startling ways! From a blood-thirsty warlord a la Vlad the Impaler to romantic figures or rat-faced monsters. Along the way, all sorts of reshapings have taken place with the characters–changing ages, nationalities, fates, relationships. Yet we’ve never seen (outside of porn anyway) Lucy and Mina as lovers.
Why not? Especially since the whole trope of the Lesbian Vampire seemingly pervades our genre enough to become a basis for parody (albeit not good parody, not in this case).
Unpleasant as this may sound, perhaps the reason lies in a lack of maturity, coupled with our culture’s rather neurotic attitude towards sex. The vast majority of the genre we love still tends towards schlock–even if good, fun, amusing schlock. When vampire films venture into the world of adult issues, some of us feel thrills. Others sulk in disappointment. Look at the notorious negative feedback both Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer get–for treating vampires as people rather than human-shaped sharks. One can frankly see in a lot of prevalent vampire tropes more than a hint of male chauvinism. The image of Dracula with his harem of brides comes to mind.
So I can see the point of that reader who offered her feedback. She said she felt it was rare for her to feel represented on this website. And one can see that easily enough. Despite its supposedly popularity, the trope of the sapphic undead really ends up more talked about than dramatized. More the object of humor rather than story-telling. It has even been almost a generation since a motion picture dramatized Le Fanu’s novella, the first and most famous ‘vampire lesbian’ story yet.