Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program


Lisa Arellano

Second Advisor

Laura Saltz,


The United States has been taken over by vampires. Numerous films, television series, and romance novels are being rapidly consumed by Americans of age groups ranging form pre- teen to adult. Interestingly, the most prominent vampire stories of the early twenty-first century have all centered on one key narrative convention: the heterosexual romance between a human female heroine and her vampire boyfriend. Although the vampire continues to occupy its historical status as a sexual “other,” in modern texts it is not a villain but an ideal. We no longer kill our vampires but instead place them on a pedestal. In a culture of increasingly polarized sexual politics where a growing queer rights movement is opposed by a significant rise in religious fundamentalism, where a feminist movement for insurance coverage for birth control is met with increasing limitations on abortion rights, the vampire has become a pop culture weapon for both sides. Through these vampire narratives, certain dissatisfactions with dominant society’s construction of gender and sexuality are mitigated, and a fantasy vampire emerges that embodies the idealized views of these subjects. However, the different sides of this sexual war disagree on what is represented by “dominant society,” and as such their vampires embody vastly different cultural values. Furthermore, even though some vampires may appear to offer a critical breaking down of gender constructions or normative sexuality, they are unable to do both and thus their transgression is mitigated by facets of normativity. Although our culture embraces the vampire rather than killing it, its transgression remains bound (to varying degrees) by conventional notions of gender and sexuality.


Full-text download restricted to Colby College campus only.


vampire, sexual politics

Multimedia URL