Let me be frank with you. I love True Blood. I think Eric’s an asshole, but I have a delusional soft spot for Byronic Vikings. Hell, I even like Twilight. The pre-adolescent girl that lurks in me gets giddy over Bella and Edward’s star-crossed romance, while the feminist in me screams “WTF Bella!?” Plus, reading the Twilight series incites the bra-burning, second-wave feminist in me, and I love getting riled up over a book.
But seriously, what’s up with me and other feminists who tolerate antiheroes like Eric and Edward, especially when we’re speaking out against victimization? I suspect there’s more to it than being raised on a diet of Disney princesses the last 75 years.
Here’s my theory: rose-coloring rape culture and domestic violence is an old phenomena, but people seem to be more accepting of chauvinism if it’s in a fictional world―particularly a fantasy world. Also, because women falling in love with their captors/abusers/rapists is an overused plot element, we’re used to it by now. (Gone with the Wind or Pamela, anyone?)
Vampires are the James Deans and James Bonds of the supernatural world―they represent sex, power, and vitality. Although female vamps are common now, they’re not the stars of the show. Dracula had his concubines, Carlisle is head of the Cullen clan, and Pam does everything Eric tells her to do. And it’s Team Edward, not Team Alice.
So when I watch True Blood tonight, I know what I like best about it (and what I loathe most about Twilight) is that Sookie Stackhouse will put her foot down and tell Eric to get the hell out of her house. Sookie wouldn’t tolerate Bill or Eric sneaking through her window to watch her sleep, nor has she gotten back with Bill after he raped and drained her. Plus, we’ll see if her fairy blood acts as a trump card over the vamps.
–By Jenna Cooper