Magical Mondays: Who Gets to Be a Vampire?

(via goodreads)

(via goodreads)

I was recently reading the latest book in The Vampire Chronicles, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. After the many ups and all-too-frequent downs of the series, reading the new installments comes out of the same schadenfreude-y curiosity that presumably leads other people to watch the Kardashians: namely, wanting to know what on earth these disaster (non)humans are up to now.

One of the major worldbuilding developments in the most recent books has been, as one might guess from the title, the ascension of Lestat into a sort of mutually-agreed-upon rulership of the vampire community. Even Lestat has acquired some self-awareness, over the years; he knows that he is not going to have the attention span to attend to every issue of the community, and so he forms a court of vampiric elders from across the world. While this has the immediate benefit for the reader of putting all the major players of the series in one place to stand around and be beautiful at each other, it also lends a seriousness to Lestat’s rule. His princeship is not symbolic, and for the first time the vampire community is less an arbitrary group of metahumans connected only by the fluke of their condition and more of an organized nation. And that, of course, means there needs to be rules.

In an increasingly plugged in and hyper-vigilant world where the existence of vampires is a very poorly guarded secret, it’s more important than ever that vampires maintain a low profile. As part of this (and as part of the mentality that vampires are not inherently evil despite their predatory nature) they are expected to behave in reasonably moral ways.

(via wikipedia)

Except for that whole “don’t turn children” rule. (via wikipedia)

Don’t kill; only take enough blood to sate your hunger. Don’t drink from innocents; only take blood from those who are clearly bad people (you know, like, sex traffickers, murderers, people who don’t use their turn signal). Don’t broadcast your existence to humans—a “do as I say, not as I do” rule given Lestat’s history—as this endangers the entire vampire community. However, despite the rather checkered history of how all these people actually became vampires, there don’t seem to be any rules forthcoming about who gets to be a vampire.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Subverting the Lolita Trope in Interview with the Vampire

(Trigger warning for discussion of pedophilia and rape apology.)

The sexualization of young girls is an ongoing issue in our society, and it constantly trickles down into our pop culture. Every day someone misreads Lolita as a romantic story, and every day someone has inappropriate thoughts about the Sailor Scouts (who are thirteen in the narrative, FYI). In recent months both Marvel and DC have come under fire for sexualizing young female characters; DC for the cover of Teen Titans #1, which featured a ludicrously busty Wonder Girl in an inappropriate-for-battle tube top, and Marvel for including a controversial scene where Falcon sleeps with a character who claims to suddenly be twenty-three after having been portrayed as a teenager for years.

In real life, the people who commit sex crimes against young, sexualized girls often defend themselves by saying the girls acted older, or were mature for their age—even that they led the offenders on. That they were mentally older than their physical appearance would state. This is some hot, rape-apologist bullshit, but characters like this—actual adult women trapped in childlike bodies—do exist in pop culture. An easy example is the Batman: The Animated Series villain Baby Doll, an actress who, because of her childlike appearance, can only play kids’ parts, and who longs for nothing more than to be treated as an adult woman. These stories tend to walk a fine line between subverting and confirming the idea that young girls can “ask for it”. On one hand, these characters are presented as tragic figures who struggle with their situation, and so we want to root for them to be treated as adults; on the other hand, the Venn diagram of people you want to have a relationship with and people who want to have romantic/sexual relations with children’s bodies are two circles that don’t touch. I started thinking about this trend a few days ago, after rewatching Interview with the Vampire for the thousandth time.

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