How will demonization affect women

Demonic seducers in literature

Table of Contents

1 Introductory remarks ... 5

2 Preliminary Considerations: Femininity and Vampirism ... 11
2.1 The demonization of femininity: from goddess to vampire ... 11
2.2 Femininity, gender and vampirism ... 18
2.3 Female sexuality in the 19th century ... 24
2.4 Concepts of femininity between femme fatale and femme fragile ... 30

3 The beginnings of the literary vampire: Goethe's ballad “The Bride of Corinth” ... 38

4 The Male Vampire: Lord Byron's Fragment and John William Polidori's “The Vampire” ... 44
4.1 Fear of female desire ... 45
4.2 Darvell and Ruthven - Homosexual Vampires? ... 47

5 The lesbian vampire: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanus "Carmilla" ... 53
5.1 Of perpetrators and victims ... 55
5.2 Carmilla's strategy of seduction ... 56
5.3 Breaking taboos on homosexuality ... 61
5.4 The vampire as a natural being ... 67
5.5 Carmilla's death - the restoration of patriarchal order ... 71

6 The classic: Bram Stoker's "Dracula" ... 76
6.1 Dracula's role as a catalyst ... 76
6.2 Dracula's female followers ... 83
6.2.1 Mina Harker, née Murray ... 83
6.2.2 Lucy Westenra ... 93
6.2.3 The three vampire brides at Dracula's castle ... 107
6.3 "Dracula" in the context of the New Woman movement ... 114

7 Conclusion: the vampire of the 19th century and her sisters of the 20th century ... 124

8 Outlook: No Sex Sells - Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" saga ... 130
8.1 "Twilight" and sexuality ... 131
8.2 "Twilight" and feminism ... 132
8.3 "Twilight" and religion ... 135

9 Bibliography ... 140

1 Introductory remarks

Vampires have been biting their way through various media around the world for more than two centuries. The fear of blood-sucking beings has been documented since ancient times. Towards the end of the 18th century, at the height of English horror literature (gothic novel) and Black Romanticism, the vampire finally becomes a permanent literary figure, with the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) it was given a preliminary final shape.

Like hardly any other literary motif, the figure of the bloodsucking revenant has developed into a popular item in the western entertainment industry in the 20th and still young 21st centuries. Numerous works reached a large audience with the vampire as the main character; The vampire has also found a place in children's literature, comics, computer games, on stage and in advertising.

The figure of the vampire touches on archetypal human fears and desires. Longing for immortality, the fear of death and the dead, as well as the fascination and symbolic power of blood are just a few of the themes underlying the motif that can be cited as the cause of the ongoing success.

Since violence and bloodthirsty literally come out of nowhere in the vampire motif, his literary adaptation basically serves any criticism: the vampire sometimes appears as a symbol of a disempowered and vengeful aristocracy, sometimes as a symbol of nymphomaniac femininity, sometimes as that of excessive Don Juanism, Sometimes Stalinism is branded with it, sometimes the Franco regime, sometimes the Jesuits, then again it is bureaucracy, venereal diseases or the fear of recent scientific discoveries such as hypnosis and magnetism that have found their image in the vampire. It is precisely this elasticity that prohibits a […] simple interpretation.[1]

For the 19th century, Susanne Pütz aptly describes a "polyvalence"[2] of the vampire motif. During this time it conveyed psychological, scientific as well as religious and socially critical statements.[3] Most obvious, however, is the sexual symbolism of the vampire. Mario Praz added in his broad-based study Love, death and the devil found that sexuality was clearly at the center of the literature and art of (black) romanticism.[4] It is therefore not surprising that the focus of literary vampires is also on romance. The early Romantics in particular wanted to redefine the relationship between the sexes, propagating the emancipation of women as well as love and sexuality outside of the bourgeois conventions of marriage and morality. For example, Clemens Brentanoin wrote love frenzy to his poet colleague Caroline von Günderode:

[S] o open all the veins of your wise body so that the hot, foaming blood gushes from a thousand wonderful fountains, so I want to see you, and drink from the thousand springs, drink bit I am intoxicated and can weep your death with exultant rage [ ...]. What I have is too much, so I bite my veins and want to give it to you, but you should have done it and had to suck. Don't open your veins, I will bite them open for you.[5]

This letter from 1802 already impressively describes the outstanding components of the literary motif, the fusion of sex and vampirism. The blood-sucking undead embody sexual potency at all times. The vampire's bite is surrounded by strong sexual imagery and is equivalent to dental penetration.

The ideas of eroticism presented in vampire narratives have a complex relationship to sexuality within the respective social order. The vampire, who on the one hand eludes a clear gender identification as man or woman, on the other violates the accepted norms of marital monogamy and heterosexuality. - The vampiric break with applicable norms is both feared and longed for.

The core meaning of vampirism not only includes sexuality, but also gender - in the sense of gender - plays an essential role in classic European vampire literature of the 19th century. In nineteenth-century texts, the vampiric threat often comes from a woman. Femininity, which man can no longer control, appears demonically behind the facade of domesticated femininity. Above all, it is the female vampire who active Living out their sexuality is perceived by men as a threat. Traditionally referring to the passive role and an asexual being outside the marital barriers, the woman in the form of the vampire represents a taboo break. In vampirism she lives out the erotic outside of the regulated moral concepts of society. Both premarital devotion, such as in Stokers Dracula or Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Bride of Corinth (1797) as well as homosexual love, as in the case of Sheridan Le Fanus Carmilla (1872), shatter the existing social order in which only men are allowed to fulfill their sexual nature.

According to Simone de Beauvoir, the woman is mostly seen in the traditional female role of the victim: "The woman is the sleeping beauty, the donkey skin, the Cinderella, the Snow White, lots of figures who completely tolerate." It is the fate of the woman to suffer and to wait passively for their prince, because: "The top priority for women is to delight a man's heart."[6] This image changes with the figure of the vampire. As a self-determined woman, the bloodsucker takes the initiative, she conquers the man - before she is finally killed.

Femininity of this kind is associated with power, but ultimately the vampire only apparently crosses the boundaries of what is controllable, because she is the object of a genuinely male literary creation, never her subject.

In any case, she [the woman] is nothing other than what the man decides; so one speaks of her as the "opposite sex", which expresses that she appears to the man primarily as a sexual being: since she is it for him, she is it once and for all. It is determined and differentiated in relation to the man, but not in relation to the man; it is the inessential in the face of the essential. He is the subject, he is the absolute: she is the other.[7]

It thus falls within the range of the ideas of femininity produced by men. Feminist literary research and today's Gender studies have largely exposed such productions as male fantasies. The term male fantasy coined by Klaus Theweleit means that the female characters are wish projections in which individual and collective fantasies about the nature of women are expressed, as well as the contemporary expectations and fears of men are visualized.[8] The forms of female sexuality threatening the patriarchal social order, which are embodied in the vampire, are to be brought under control by either converting them as male wishful thinking or denouncing them as perversion and abnormality.

The vampire fits into a "gigantic figure panopticon"[9], brought about by male art production and detached from the reality of women. According to Silvia Bovenschen, the feminine becomes an "artificial feminine"[10] doubles what women identify with nature and not the real women, but the imagined / constructed ideal image of the feminine mean.[11]

Since the feminine needs the masculine determination in order to mark the difference between the sexes, the concept of the feminine is lost and a "conceptual 'no man's land" "[12] arise. The consequence of this existence without its own place in culture is a quasi vampiric inter-existence; "Equally within and outside of a historical situation."[13] In a patriarchal dominated society, women have the status of both subordinate and excluded. A double role that can be understood in a similar way in the image of the vampire.

Following a dualizing principle, the variety of stereotypical images of women is split into two parts; into an idealized and a demonic form. One part stands for values ​​and norms that society considers worthy of protection. The other part symbolizes the longing to escape from the narrowness of the corset of values ​​and norms. The woman is saint or whore, innocence or seductress, loving mother or femme fatale. The literary processing of the vampire myth also only envisages two alternative roles for its protagonists. You are either the innocent victim or the bloodthirsty vampire. As a vampire she can evade the attributions that real women are subject to. But as an imagined figure, she too remains subject to male images of femininity through adaptation or negation.

The vampire is neither dead nor alive [...] the ambiguous figure, the figure of "negativity" par excellence. The fact that he liked to have a female face from the beginning [...] is primarily due to the fact that at the latest romanticism discovered “femininity” as a critical concept that can be played off against the forced organization of culture and society. The fact that at the same time woman [...] is fixed on the place of death and the other, the disparate and natural, makes the term a category with a deeper meaning, an ideological trap.[14]

Based on these considerations of the vampires as fictional characters, projections of contemporary fears, desires and ideas, the following will look at how the female bloodsucker portrayed herself in 19th century literature. This work cannot do justice to the multi-dimensionality of the motif, which was only briefly touched upon at the beginning. The following interpretations are not intended to give an overview of all possible readings of these texts; they concentrate on the ideas of sexuality that belong to the core of the motif.

As an introduction to the topic, an insight into the ancient ideas of blood-sucking demons is given. Subsequently, the expectations of the social role of women in the 19th century, which had an impact on the image of the vampire, as well as the contemporary perception of female sexuality, which was significantly influenced by the physician Richard von Krafft-Ebing, will be examined. This first part concludes with an overview of the opposing conceptions of femme fatale and femme fragilebetween the poles of which the female protagonists of the vampire stories oscillate.

The special focus of this work will be on the vampire texts of the late 19th century. As a forerunner this will initially be Goethe's Bride of Corinth The focus is also on the writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker, who portray the vampiric femme fatale have significantly shaped. Each of these authors sets a different focus in the conception of his female vampire figure (s): If Goethe's vampire is still a cautious lover, this picture shifts as the demonization of women progresses in the 19th century. This is how Le Fanu helped shape Carmilla decisively brings in the prototype of the homosexual vampire and stoker Dracula expresses male skepticism towards female emancipation efforts.

The conception of male vampires should not be neglected here either. Dracula as well as Lord Byron's text fragment from 1816, as well as John William Polidori's story The vampire (1819), like the other texts dealt with, it is important to consider sexuality, the homosexual component of the motif, the relationships between the sexes and the literary models of femininity and masculinity.

The work concludes with an outlook into the 21st century, the one with Stephenie Meyers Twilight-Tetralogy (2005 to 2008) takes a feminine look at the phenomenon of the vampire, which is now an integral part of American-European popular culture.

2 preliminary considerations: femininity and vampirism

2.1 The demonization of femininity: from goddess to vampire

The figure of the vampire did not appear out of nowhere in the 17th or 18th century. Bloodsuckers have populated popular beliefs and literature since ancient times. "The oldest vampyrs, of which we have news, were at home with the Greeks"[15], wrote Carl von Knoblauch zu Hatzbach as early as 1791 in Paperback for enlightenment and non-enlightenment groups and thus refers to the lamias and empuses of classical antiquity. Without being completely identical, many of these figures are so similar to the vampire that they can be counted among his spiritual fathers or mothers. In antiquity, for example, female demons are often encountered, who are said to kill children at night, but also men and often explicitly sucking blood. Demonic figures such as the lamias and empuses appear in the mythology of almost all peoples. The wide spread of the myth of the child-robbing and blood-sucking creatures on the one hand and the seductive women on the other hand allow vampires to be recognized as archetypal figures.

The popular belief in vampires arises when the deities are divided into good and bad. While the earliest human cultures worshiped a great goddess who combined all positive and negative aspects of life, these were split up when the (female) earth cults shaped by nature were replaced by the (male) sky cults.[16]

In the early stages of the development of the faith, two terms stand in the foreground: fertility and the feminine. Both are viewed as a unit and dominate the religious level of this era called the matriarchy.

Within prehistoric matriarchal cultures, the feminine always appears first in the form of the Great Mother, who appears in three forms. It provides information about the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth, which is why the three spheres of rule heaven, earth and underworld are assigned to it. The symbol of this female trinity is, by analogy with the female fertility cycle, the moon with its three phases; as a rising crescent moon symbol of the girl goddess, the red full moon represents the woman goddess and the invisible new moon is assigned to the underworld goddess.[17]

When the patriarchy places birth and death in the hands of an invisible father god, this archaic model is stripped of the ground. The relocation of the place of creation from “Mother Earth” to “Father God” means turning away from the cyclical return and thus also detachment from nature and ultimately overcoming mortality. "It is at the same time the hour of the man's fear of the woman and the attempts at her humiliation and submission that it triggers"[18]is how Helmut Uhlig describes the upheaval. Because the repression of death leads to the demonization of nature and the woman who is equated with it, who gives birth to all life but also draws it back down again; Nature no longer means creation, but mortality.[19] By equating femininity-nature-death, femininity becomes that Other Constructed in relation to culture and thus a privileged object of male projection work that needs to be explored, domesticated and also eliminated.[20]

The idea of ​​immortality in the hereafter goes hand in hand with a new understanding of the world, which on the one hand leads to the victory of the spirit that now continues to exist over mortal matter, as a result of which matriarchal myths are also reevaluated.[21] On the other hand, the transition from the feminine, natural-material to the masculine metaphysical principle also favors the development of (gender) polarities that were alien to matriarchal culture:

Now what was torn apart as an opposition was what was never intended to be an opposition. […] And the contradiction between the male and female principle was constructed in such a way that the scale of negative properties always slid to the side of the feminine: if the man was the upper, the light, the good, the woman was the lower, the dark , the evil.[22]

Under androcentric influence, the man gains in importance, while the woman loses almost everything positive, which in turn affects the social status of the sexes. The woman in her reduction to body / matter / nature is now spiritless and thus worthless because she only produces finite life. The striving of the spirit is infinite life, life without death. Thus, in the course of patriarchalization, the triune goddess transforms on the one hand into harmless apparitions that no longer radiate divine, on the other hand also into those demonic beings that will be discussed in the following.[23]

At this point it becomes clear that the vampire embodies only one aspect of the once triune goddess within her conception. All that remains is its “black aspect”, but no longer in the sense of a change from which new life arises. "The goddess of life and death [becomes] a purely destructive goddess of death, a cruel demon who is still up to this day as a vampire."[24] As a bloodsucker, she is a distorted representation of the dark, sexual, destructive side of the goddess.[25]

The story of Lilith is an example of the many “black goddesses”. By its original nature it is part of a divine triad. Lilith appears for the first time in connection with the Sumerian narrative Inanna and the Huluppu Tree from the Gilgamesh - Epic (ca.1950-1700 BC). The name Ki-sikil-lil-la-ke (Babylonian-Assyrian: Lilitû) used here for Lilith shows her still as a deity ("goddess of the wind at high altitude"), who plays a role in the creation of the world.[26] Only within the Talmudic-rabbinic tradition is Lilith classified in the group of the Shedim, the demons. As a result of the division of the triune goddess into different partial aspects and the associated assignment of predominantly negative properties, the Babylonian goddess Lilitû initially loses her divine form and becomes a pale, colorless "night ghost"[27], from which its two sides - the terrible mother and the seductive woman - develop, as we will encounter them again in the vampire myth.[28] These two sides of the essence of Lilith also appear personified in Babylonian literature, namely in the two goddesses Lamashtû and Ishtar, from which the figure of Lilith has crystallized.[29]

The feminine in its fertility as well as in its erotic sensuality is perceived as threatening by the patriarchal rabbinical Judaism.[30] The aspect of death, which is positively canceled out in matriarchal myth, is negatively hypostatized in Hebrew mythology in the image of the child-devouring demoness who, moreover, only sinfully uses her fertility. In the Babylonian Talmud, the most important collection of texts in rabbinical Judaism, she is already regarded as a seductive demon with long hair and wings.[31] Men are warned not to sleep alone in a house, otherwise they could become victims of Lilith.[32] in the Sefer ha-Zohar (14th century), the main work of Kabbalah, she then plays a decisive role, on the one hand as a strangler of children, on the other hand as a seductress of men. It is said here of Lilith that - similar to a succubus - she appears to men in dreams at night to steal their seeds.[33]

The legend should become better known, according to which Lilith Adam was the first woman to leave the Garden of Eden because she did not want to submit to Adam (sexually). in the Alphabet of ben Sira (approx. 9th century) it says:

As soon as she was created, she started an argument and said, Why should I lie down? I am as much (worth) as you, we are both created from the same earth.[34]

Lilith, who was created from earth just like Adam, feels herself to be a completely equal being, independent of the man. Her refusal to assume the inferior position during marital intercourse represents an attempt to question the man's traditional Jewish supremacy. In this dispute, at the time this Midrash was written, the patriarchal standpoint had to prevail: the feminine who makes such a claim to (sexual) equality appears threatening. As a result, Lilith is punished for her rebellion: The punishment is the eternal birth of demonic children condemned to die and an existence as a lustful seductress and cruel child murderer. Her desire for her own sexuality that is not subordinate to the man thus contributes to the creation of Lilith as a voluptuous woman. In contrast, Eve, who is marginalized because of her origins from the man's rib, appears as a passive woman who obediently subordinates herself to Adam's wishes.[35] For Robert von Ranke-Graves, this version of Genesis comes from a "myth with which the supremacy of men is sanctioned"[36], equal. The two dichotomous sides of female existence can already be recognized in Eve and Lilith, with the patriarchy sanctifying the Eve (or Mary) image and demonizing Lilith. Eva (Hebrew: Chawah = the one who gives life) in this context stands for the submission of women, for sexual passivity, for monogamy and motherhood, Lilith embodies equality, sexual activity and stands as a symbol for the rejection of motherhood.

The demonic children of Lilith, the Lilim, entered Greek mythology as lamias, empuses or daughters of Hecate. According to the Greek legend, Lamia is an outcast lover of Zeus, whose children were killed by his jealous wife, the goddess Hera. As a result, Lamia lost her former beauty and took revenge by becoming a child-murdering demon in turn. Later she is said to have joined the society of the Empusen. They also kill children and suck their blood. In addition, in the form of beautiful girls, they also attract young men to suck their blood out at night.[37]

The ancient demonesses as descendants of the triadic mother goddess are initially considered a "negative of the nurturing mother"[38] to recognize. The feminine ability to give birth to life is perverted in the image of the child-eating woman. Lamias as well as their relatives, the Empusen, are also attributed lascivious tendencies, which points to one of the inherent destructive aspects of female eroticism, which the goddess did not show in this form. The name Lamia is derived from the word “lamyros”, voracious or eager. In connection with a woman, however, it also means voluptuous.[39] The Empusen are even "horny and cruel"[40] attested. A lack of subservience and self-determined sexuality also characterize the vampire as a representative of "dark mother figures"[41]. In the encounter with her there is a confrontation with the dark side of the feminine.

The figure of Lamia probably goes back to the Babylonian goddess Lamatschû, which in turn shows her relationship to Lilith.[42] Lilith is also called a "Canaanite Hecate"[43] spoken, and the Empusen, as daughters of Hecate, also stand in a divine context. Because Hecate originally corresponds to the former divine trinity, which rules over heaven, earth and underworld and thus over the phases of birth, life and death. Later it only appears in its third, more destructive variant.[44] Only in the course of mythological reinterpretation are aspects removed from this almighty goddess, completely suppressed or so drastically reduced that the positive character of the feminine as protective, nourishing and childbearing mother is lost and only the facet of deadly femininity appears. As a blood-sucking demon, the vampire is a variation of those myths that legitimize the subordination of women to the patriarchal principle by making the feminine responsible for the mortality that is perpetuated through sexuality.[45]

James Craig Holte aptly sums up the importance of the earlier myths about Lilith and her blood-sucking relatives such as lamias and empuses for the vampire motif:

Violence, rebellion, and sexuality, the most consistent and significant elements in vampire lore, are fully developed in these early narratives. Sexuality begets jealousy and violence; and male authority, Adam’s and Zeus’s, is questioned by strong, sexually active females. These [...] myths and legends clearly depict struggle between men and women for autonomy and authority, and in the canonical versions handed down to us, the patriarchs triumphed, and female monsters were created out of perceived threat to patriarchal order.[46]

In the post-classical period, the ancient bloodsuckers finally mix with the vampires of the revenant belief of the Slavs. The modern belief in vampires arises.[47]

Antiquity does not offer any real Vampires, - these are not revenants, but immortal demons - but a number of adjacent motifs and materials in which there is always one Mrs is what afflicts children and especially men and robs them of their lives. This brings Lilith, Lamia, Empusa etc. into the vicinity of the bloodsuckers in the following chapters.

2.2 Femininity, Gender and Vampirism

Towards the end of the 18th century there was a debate about so-called sex characters; In the course of the establishment of the bourgeois industrial society, there is a change in the idea of ​​gender and the gender body. Due to the diverse social and industrial upheavals of the epoch as well as the ensuing emancipatory tendencies, ideas about the gender difference are subject to a paradigm shift. As a result, an understanding of the meaning of “female” and “male” is necessary.

With regard to the social staging of femininity in the 18th and 19th centuries, the American sexologist Thomas Laqueur speaks of the change from the one-sex model to the two-sex model. Whereas in the 18th century the position of women and their role in society was justified on the basis of cosmological and social arguments, in the 19th century one begins to argue on a purely biological level.

According to the one-sex model prevailing in the early modern period, the social role of the individual serves as a characteristic of sexual differentiation between the sexes, not the differentiation on the basis of biological conditions. Male and female gets through here gender, not through sex Are defined. There is therefore only one gender, which is either male or female, whereby the male is always viewed as more perfect than the female[48], because contemporary opinion is based on the assumption that the vagina is an inwardly turned penis.[49]

To date, gender differences have been interpreted by the lack of perfection in women. With bourgeois society in the second half of the 18th century, however, a two-gender model that contrasts with the one-gender model begins to establish itself, which in the context of binary thinking outlines the strictly mutually exclusive opposites of male and female.

While the concept of women as an inferior man in the context of the one-sex model only determines the difference between the sexes gradually, the difference is now defined as a qualitative one. As a result, women and men are completely different biologically, which - which can be deduced from this - is also expressed spiritually. Since the social agreements of the estates, societal organizational structure in the process of breaking up and which had strictly defined female rights and duties, the division of tasks is increasingly justified by internal characteristics and character traits. In this context it is also assumed that women are determined exclusively by their reproductive ability, while men are sexually determined beings only in the context of the act of procreation.

The term gender itself loses its original meaning and increasingly no longer describes social origin (the ancestral gender), but the physical-sexual, as well as the psychologically and socially charged physical difference between the sexes.

From now on, the female characteristics are composed of a conglomerate of traditional and religious ascriptions, civil standards and socially necessary functions. Deviations from this set norm are condemned as unnatural.[50]

Biological, psychological and moral ascriptions to the respective role are traced back to medical and scientific knowledge. An important factor here is the emerging human biology, according to which the difference between the male and female body can not only be made out in different sexual organs. By assuming that the mind is determined by the body, their anthropological perspective leads to the thesis of perfect sexual difference, which is expressed not only anatomically but also spiritually. It is assumed that men and women are fundamentally different from one another, including how they feel and think. The Enlightenment discourse finally defines the female gender character as a "natural" and thus unchangeable one and also gives the impression of being anthropologically based.[51]

While this discourse asserts a fundamental innate and universal difference between the sexes, it serves to legitimize different gender roles and identities. The sexual nature of women becomes the justification for excluding women from the public domain.The female traits, such as weakness and devotion, as well as tolerant virtues such as modesty, industriousness, chastity, kindness, grace and beauty, assign the woman to the domestic and private sphere. Because of these “natural” gender characteristics assigned to women, the role assigned to them is that of wife, housewife and mother.

The gender-specific separation goes hand in hand with the moral higher valuation of the feminine, which is equated with passivity, while the masculine sphere is associated with activity. The place of women in private becomes the sphere of the embodiment of true values, from now on women embodies the ideal gender.[52]

But their transfiguration goes hand in hand with their impotence. The bourgeois construction of women as virtuous brings her respect, but it is only significant in relation to men. "Women are a decorative gender"[53] , Bram Stoker's contemporary Oscar Wilde leaves out one of his protagonists The portrait of Dorian Gray (1890) say and thus reflect the spirit of the late 19th century. The strict separation of private and public spheres curtails women's social relationships. The most important link to society is their husbands, which increases their dependency. Women have no subject status within their roles, but rather require gender guardianship, exercised by their father, brother or husband.

The changing ideal of femininity is particularly evident in the new family role of women. The loss of importance of the family as a business community in the course of the change in the feudal class society towards mechanization, industrialization, urbanization, the outsourcing of professional activities from the house, etc., the family increasingly became a place of education, a place of retreat for the people towards the end of the 18th century working men and thus a place of intimate relationships. The female existence is increasingly restricted to the family, within which the cultural, political and economic upheavals are to be absorbed. As a result, women are no longer measured by their labor or their function for the community, but by their feminine character. As a prerequisite for the men's work ethic that is hostile to pleasure, which makes it possible to expand the economic power of the bourgeoisie, the female virtues are supposed to match the male Facilitate the renunciation of instincts through their good example.[54] In the context of changed family structures, love marriage is also being promoted more strongly, which is seen as the most important basis for the emotional environment of the future family. The idea of ​​love in marriage here is based on the concept of ideal (asexual) maternal love. As a liberation from the constraints of the forced, "befitting" marriage, women are offered the prospect of a love marriage as a place for their emotions to develop and thus as the only form of female self-realization. The promise of happiness, which is rarely kept between the sexes and which promises fulfillment to women only through fellowship with a man, not least serves to guarantee the subordination of women. Their biological disposition to care serves the satisfaction of the man, their instinct is to satisfy him. Your only desire should relate to the well-being of husband and children.[55]

Not only marriage, but also the pedagogy of this time aims to internalize patriarchal authority. As early as 1762, Jean-Jaques Rousseau designed this in his educational novel Emil or about upbringing the ideal of the caring, motherly woman, which subsequently has a decisive effect on the bourgeoisie image of women. Women and men are both physically and morally different in Rousseau's design.[56] The man demands his will actively and strongly, while the woman behaves passively and weakly. In the situation of powerlessness and dependency, the only strength of women, according to Rousseau, lies in assessing the men around them in order to adjust their own behavior accordingly. She must be able to manipulate men through their speeches, actions as well as looks and gestures, and thus give them what is right without them noticing.[57] Such qualities ascribed to the feminine create space for the imagination of the falsehood of women and the fear of what might lurk behind the domesticated surface. Immanuel Kant states: "The man is easy to research, the woman does not reveal her secret."[58] The vampire becomes the embodiment of this very secret. She breaks out of the role assigned to women and transgresses the boundaries of definition of gender.

In relation to Laquer's model of gender differentiation, the unisexual vampire body stands as a metaphor for the threat to current definitions of gender. With her single-sex body, the bloodsucker breaks into the new notion of biological bisexuality. The binary gender system, according to which the gender difference is no longer only attached to the social, but to individuals based on theirs sex defined, experiences a negation through the mere existence of the vampiric body: At first glance, their biological gender appears (sex) as female, their social gender (gender), on the other hand, turns out to be male. Since it does not reproduce sexually in the strict sense of the word, it questions the concept of a biological dichotomization in men and women anyway. In doing so, she exposes the sexual-biological gender differentiation as a mere social construct as well as the concept of masculinity as a purely social position. By adopting characteristics that are considered typically male, she makes the position of power defined as male accessible to women as well.[59]

At the latest in the sexual organ of the vampire, namely the mouth equipped with fangs, the distinction between the sexes is canceled out; as Christopher Craft writes:

As the primary site of erotic experience […] this [vampire] mouth equivocates, giving the lie to the easy separation of the masculine and the feminine. Luring at first with an inviting orifice, a promise of red softness, but delivering instead a piercing bone, the vampire mouth fuses and confuses [...] the gender-based categories of the penetrating and the receptive. Furthermore, this mouth, bespeaking the subversion of the stable and lucid distinctions of gender, is the mouth of all vampires, male and female.[60]

Although vampires maintain their gender differentiation into female and male, their reproductive behavior (through the bite) are gender-identical beings. “Count Dracula (and the creepy sisters too) are apparently dead from the waist down; they make sex with their mouths alone. "[61] The sexuality of the vampire can also be described as "the final fuck without the zipper"[62] consider. The vampire is no longer tied to a biological gender. Neither biologically nor socially, the vampire can be classified in this way in the binary gender system: As a figure that defies common definition criteria, she represents a "threat of gender indefinition"[63] Traditional gender roles and femininity norms, which refer women to passivity and ascribe power to men, are thus in danger of losing their foundation in anatomical differences. Questioning and redefining the traditional role of women is perceived by men as a threat, as it also calls into question the legitimacy of their societal patriarchal position of power. The fears caused by this are demonized in order to make them controllable.[64]

2.3 Female sexuality in the 19th century

In particular, the romanticism that began in the late 18th century is responsible for a new and progressive image of women: Contrary to the rigid gender assignments, the early romantic concept of androgyny, the equalization of the sexes, at first glance offers an opportunity to break out of the solidification of gender characters .

The supposed naturalness of women plays a central role in the context of the romantic striving for reconciliation between man and nature. The romantics hope that women as mediators between the poles of nature / culture, feeling / reason, woman / man will turn away from enlightened rationality towards more feeling. Although this development goes hand in hand with the upgrading of femininity, it does not change the social situation of women, because the romantic model is also geared towards the male. With the help of the woman, the man of romanticism can, within the concept of androgyny, regain the irrational / feminine characteristics that have been lost through alienation from nature and thus find their way back to wholeness. In its exaggeration, the woman thus proves to be functionalized for the man.[65]

In this way, woman is identified with the metaphysically transfigured principle of nature; it is raised and lowered at the same time, so high and so low that it no longer finds a place in the social context of life.[66]

What as a crisis in the fin de siècle sets out and moves towards the "generally observable hysterization and demonization of femininity and sensuality"[67] is already latent in romanticism as an immanent tension. Because "[t] he esteem with which women are spoken of in Romanticism conceals the gesture of their humiliation"[68]. Carola Hilmes speaks here of a misogyny that manifests itself in the tendency towards idealization of women as the “beautiful soul” and their reduction to the mediator function.

The essence of women is defined in romanticism as an exaggerated ideal, whereby the male world of experience is the absolute norm and therefore those properties that contradict this norm are elevated to the mystical and overrated. The woman is consequently stylized as a saint in a mystifying way. This makes her body inviolable and wiped out the woman as a sensual and erotic being.

In connection with the ambivalent imaginations of femininity, however, there is mistrust that the transfigured saintly image of women could reveal its downside. "The fear of the revenge of the 'woman' feeds from the subliminal knowledge of the compulsion exerted by the attributions [...]."[69] The question of what lurks behind the facade of the pure and chaste woman points to the difference between the nature and appearance of women. This makes women ambiguous, sinister beings. Behind the mask of the de-sexualized, disembodied, but loving mother, the dark, instinctual side of the woman is always suspected.[70]

Women who could not be transformed into passive-receptive and invisible mother wives were considered sexual predators, instinctively driven to decimate the economic potency of men and their vitality.[71]

The fear of the insatiable woman is one of the reasons why female sexuality was demonized and in some cases completely denied in 19th century medical discourse. Sexuality is generally regarded as an animal-primitive behavior that must be controlled and used sparingly, as otherwise the career of the individual or even the entire economy could suffer. In particular, the uncontrollable natural being woman should have no desires. All glorification cannot hide the fact that female eroticism continues to be imagined as threatening and destructive; she is consequently banned and suppressed in the role of the housewife. For fear of unrestrained femininity, the uncontrolled nature of which is mainly reflected in the equation of woman and nature, the sexuality of bourgeois women is limited to the marital relationship alone. So that the sensuality ascribed to her cannot break out, the woman in marriage must be placed under male control and her sexuality reduced to the role of mother.

At this point it becomes clear that there is a pronounced double standard with regard to the assessment of male and female sexuality: While men are allowed to have premarital and extramarital experiences, the wife and mother are subject to the dogmas of asexuality, monogamy and marital fidelity. Adultery of the woman leads to her social isolation, with the man, however, it is tolerated because he does not know how to defend himself against the seductive arts of the let loose woman. - The male Don Juan is approved according to bourgeois sexual morality, but the woman has to guard morality. If she lives out her desires outside of her mother and wife existence, that means falling out of her social role and becoming a socially ostracized.[72] The judgment of a woman is always based on the dichotomy of saint and whore.

In the social discussion of the 19th century, female sexuality became a crucial issue. The question raised as to what (abnormal) sexuality is is resonating in scientific circles. In particular, the patriarchy uses medical discourse to underpin its definition of what counts as natural and thus permissible female sexuality as a scientific fact.[73]

The scientific and social opinion is largely determined by the Psychopathia sexualis, the psychiatric textbook from 1886. In his work, Dr. Richard von Krafft-Ebing naturally gives the man a stronger and more aggressive sex drive, whereas the woman is courted by the man and is therefore more likely to be described as passive. Thus, a tendency to polygamy is ascribed to the man, while the "spiritual direction of the woman"[74] a monogamous one. The well-behaved woman must have lower sexual desire from the outset, otherwise there is a risk of social morality:

If she [the woman] is spiritually developed and well-bred, then her sensual desire is low. If this were not the case, the whole world would have to be a brothel and marriage and family would have to be unthinkable. In any case, the man who flees the woman and the woman who pursues sexual pleasure are abnormal phenomena.[75]

Krafft-Ebing sees the social and sexual position of women only in marriage: "At the cultural level of today's social life, a sexual position of women that serves social moral interests is only conceivable as a wife."[76] The existence of female sexuality is tolerated within socially sanctioned framework conditions, that is, if it takes place in marriage for the purpose of procreation and serves to reduce tension in men. - Everything else is pathologized: "As perverse [...] every expression of the sexual instinct must be explained, which is not the purposes of nature, i. e. corresponds to reproduction. "[77]

In the category Woman's sadism For example, Krafft-Ebing describes the case of a young woman who is sexually aroused when she sucks blood from her husband's arm. The German-Austrian psychiatrist and forensic doctor makes a direct reference to vampirism and its origins in Greek mythology when he concludes:

This case is reminiscent of the widespread vampire saga, the origin of which may be traced back to sadistic facts. [...] The legend is particularly widespread on the Balkan Peninsula. Among the modern Greeks, it goes back to the ancient myth of the Lamias and Mormolecs - blood-sucking women.[78]

The pronounced double standards with regard to chastity and morality, which are most rigidly manifested in the bourgeois middle class, primarily pathologizes in women what is conventional in men. While a man's active sexuality is seen as a sign of his particularly virile masculinity, prevailing sexual morality condemns the same level of sexual activity in women as pathological behavior.

Chastity is a woman's capital, so a deviation from the virtuous path of the ideal woman means a mistake that can no longer be made good. If a woman is considered to be modest, her task is to have a positive effect on the man with her abstinence. However, if it is seen as vicious, it is morally condemned by society.[79]

It is noticeable that vampire stories are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the medical context of equating semen and blood.[80] The blood-sucking vampire is to be seen here as an analogy to the dreaded insatiability of women. While the desireless, ideal woman is seen as a “seed container” that helps the man to maintain virtue and gives birth to him children, she is opposed to the “seed sucker”, the woman who steals the man’s semen out of sexual pleasure.[81] According to contemporary belief, the male body only has a limited amount of sperm (vital juice). Ejaculation represents the loss of male strength that is consumed by the woman. In the opposite case, the woman's weakness is explained by her monthly blood loss, which prevents the formation of brain cells and thus leads to a constant desire for the (male) sap of life. The female vampires are a metaphor for a sexuality that is unconsciously perceived as a threat.[82] This is what Otto Weiniger claims in 1903 in his work Gender and characterthat “all sexual instinct is related to cruelty”, since it leads to the loss of vital energy: “Everything that is born of women must also die. Conception, birth and death are indissolubly related. "[83]

In addition to the fear of death, which is expressed in the male psyche as fear of sexual intercourse ("the little death"), the vampire also symbolizes the fear of the vagina dentata, the toothed vagina. The female sex, now endowed with phallic teeth, represents the man's fear of being devoured or castrated by the woman during intercourse.[84]

The imagined ideal of the cruel woman is also in conflict with the traditional image of masculinity, because the power of women is only possible as a result of male weakness. One of the "main features of the demonization process of femininity"[85]According to Bettina Pohle, it can be seen that the man is shown as a victim of female instinct. However, since the seductive arts of women arise from their own imagination, the victim role of the man turns out to be freely chosen. "Representing the dangerousness of the sensual woman, one was allowed to deal with her in detail, in such a way that she could not really be dangerous for one's own self-image."[86] The more the woman is endowed with irresistible sensuality, the more her level of threat increases, which at the same time becomes controllable because it is constructed. The man appears in the literature as a victim of an unleashing sexuality, but in this way he can live out his own desires without having to be held responsible. The woman is ultimately pushed back into her victim role, since the man can triumph over her by virtue of the sexual characteristics ascribed to her.

Just as threatening as Krafft-Eving's idea of ​​the sadistic woman seems to be a new type of woman for the male imagination of the Victorian era, which marks the beginnings of modern feminism. From the 1830s onwards there were efforts against male attempts at oppression. The emerging women's movement, which is beginning to withdraw from the traditional definition of what a woman is and which is breaking with social role expectations, is questioning male supremacy and male self-image. It casts doubt on familiar structures and in this way conveys disorder to the patriarchy. The man consequently meets the growing emancipation claims and thus the efforts of women to break out of social constraints with mistrust. In the last third of the 19th century, women were increasingly able to evade male domination; in the course of new educational and professional opportunities, marriage is no longer inevitable. Through the equal rights demands of the New woman, the new emancipated woman who has experienced English society since the late 19th century, it is feared that the woman will evade the role of mother intended for her. The New womanwho also rebels against reducing their sexuality to a mere reproductive function, also seems to endanger the male's position of sexual power. Above all, these changes in the role and position of women are able to stir up men’s fears. - In the course of the demonization process, the woman finally becomes the murderer of men femme fatale.[87]


[1] Hans Richard Brittnacher: Aesthetics of Horror. Ghosts, vampires, monsters, devils and artificial people in fantastic literature. Franfurt: Suhrkamp 1994. p. 125.

[2] Susanne Pütz: Vampires and their victims. The bloodsucker as a literary figure. Bielefeld: Aisthesis 1992. p. 12.

[3] See ibid. P. 166.

[4] See Mario Praz: Love, Death and the Devil. The black romance. Volume 1. Munich: dtv 1970. p. 13.

[5] Clemens Brentano: Complete Works and Letters. Volume 29: Letters I (1792-1802). After preliminary work by Jürgen Behrens and Walter Schmitz, ed. by Lieselotte Kinskofer. Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne / Mainz: Kohlhammer 1988. pp. 444f.

[6] Simone de Beauvoir: The opposite sex. Woman's Customs and Sex. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1968. pp. 284f.

[7] Ibid. P. 11.

[8] Basically, see Klaus Theweleit: Man's fantasies. Volume 1: Women, Floods, Bodies, History. Munich: dtv 1995.

[9] Silvia Bovenschen: The imagined femininity. Exemplary investigations into cultural-historical and literary forms of presentation of the feminine. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1979. p. 13.

[10] Ibid.

[11] See ibid. P. 37.

[12] Ibid. P. 14.

[13] Ibid. P. 264.

[14] Silvia Volckmann: She greedily sucks the flames from his mouth. Notes on the change in the function of the female vampire in 19th century literature. In: Femininity and Death in Literature. Edited by Renate Berger and Inge Stephan. Cologne / Vienna: Böhlau 1987. pp. 155-176. Here: p. 166.

[15] Carl von Knoblauch zu Hatzbach: Our folly is so great. In: About the vampires or suckers. Seals and documents. Edited by Dieter Sturm and Klaus Völker. Munich: Hanser 1968. pp. 489-490. Here: p. 490.

[16] See Hans Meurer: Vampire. The angels of darkness. The dark myth of blood, lust and death. Freiburg: Eulen 2001. S. 16ff.

[17] See Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The goddess and her hero. The matriarchal religions in myth, fairy tale and poetry. 9th edition. Munich: Women's offensive 1990. p. 20.

[18] Helmut Uhlig: The great goddess is alive. A world religion of the feminine. Bergisch Gladbach: Bastei Lübbe 1992. p. 258.

[19] See Meurer 2001: 16ff.

[20] Elisabeth Bronfen Only about her corpse. Death, Femininity and Aesthetics. 2nd Edition. Munich: Antje Kunstmann 1994. p. 100.

[21] See Göttner-Abendroth 1990: 118-132.

[22] Ibid. P. 7.

[23] See Uhlig 1992: 260.

[24] Gudrun Wegner: Blood taboo - making life taboo. A historical-cultural anthropological study of dealing with the feminine from Greek mythology to the age of genetic engineering. Dissertation Freie Universität Berlin 2001. p. 68.

[25] Cf. Petra Flocke: Vampirinnen. I look in the mirror and see nothing. The cultural stagings of the vampire. Tübingen: Konkursbuchverlag 1999. p. 16.

[26] See Siegmund Hurwitz: Lilith - the first Eva. A Study of Dark Aspects of the Feminine. 2nd Edition. Zurich: Daimon 1983. p. 34f.

[27] Isa 34:14.

[28] See Hurwitz 1983: 19 and 64.

[29] Cf. Hurwitz 1983: 21. Ishtar, the most important Babylonian goddess, was the sky goddess and her subsidiary forms were also worshiped as the goddess of love, war and fertility. Lamashtû, originally also a sky goddess, on the other hand, is considered a demon who spreads diseases and death.

[30] See ibid. P. 66.

[31] See treatise Erubin 110b; Tract Nidda 24b, quoted in Hurwitz 1983: 67.

[32] See tract Sabbat 151b, quoted in Hurwitz 1983: 67.

[33] Cf. Zohar I 19b; Sohar III 76b, quoted in Hurwitz 1983: 106f.

[34] Quoted in Hurwitz 1983: 93.

[35] See Hurwitz 1983: 136ff.

[36] Robert von Ranke-Graves & Michael Patai: Hebrew Mythology. About the creation story and other myths from the Old Testament. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1986. p. 85.

[37] Cf. Robert von Ranke-Graves: Greek Mythology. Sources and interpretation I. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1955. p. 169 and p. 184.

[38] Volckmann 1987: 155.

[39] See Ranke-Graves 1955: 184.

[40] Ibid. P. 169.

[41] Elke Klemens: Dracula and his daughters. The vampire as a symbol through the ages. Tübingen: Gunter Narr 2004. p. 58.

[42] Cf. Barbara G. Walker: The secret knowledge of women. A lexicon. Frankfurt: Zweiausendeins 1993. p. 601; also: Hurwitz 1983: 29.

[43] Ranke-Graves 1955: 169.

[44] See Walker 1993: 361f.

[45] Sabine Schwientek: The disgrace. The success story of patriarchal propaganda: origin, development and socio-cultural consequences. Diss. University of Wuppertal 2009. S. 114.

[46] James Craig Holte: Dracula in the dark. The Dracula film adaptations. Westport / London: Greenwood Press 1997. pp. 94f.

[47] See Klaus Völker: Historical Report. In: About the vampires or suckers. Seals and documents. Edited by Dieter Sturm and Klaus Völker. Munich: Hanser 1968. pp. 505-533. Here: p. 508.

[48] See Klemens 2004: 24.

[49] See Flocke 1999: 40.

[50] Cf. Silke Arnold-de Simine: Corpses in the cellar. On questions of gender in stagings of fear in horror and crime literature (1790-1830). St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag 2000. S. 55f.

[51] Compare Arnold-de Simine 2000: 57.

[52] Flake 1999: 41.

[53] Oscar Wilde: The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Frankfurt / Leipzig: Insel 2001. S. 58f.

[54] Compare Arnold-de Simine 2000: 65.

[55] See ibid. P. 67f.

[56] See Flocke 1999: 42.

[57] Cf. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Emil or about education. 13th edition. Paderborn: Schöningh 1998. In particular p. 421.

[58] Immanuel Kant: Anthropology in a pragmatic way. Hamburg: Meiner 2000. S. 234. On this: Arnold-de Simine 2000: 72.

[59] Compare Klemens 2004: 25ff.

[60] Christopher Craft: Kiss Me with Those Red Lips: Gender and Inversion in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In: Speaking of Gender. Edited by Elaine Showalter. New York / London: Routledge 1989. pp. 216-242. Here: p. 218.

[61] Stephen King: Danse macabre. The world of horror in literature and film. Munich: Heyne 1988. p. 99.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Craft 1989: 234.

[64] See Klemens 2004: 27.

[65] Flake 1999: 47.

[66] Bovenschen 1979: 31f.

[67] Carola Hilmes: The Femme Fatale. A type of femininity in post-romantic literature. Stuttgart: Metzler 1990. p. 12.

[68] Ibid. P. 17.

[69] Arnold-de Simine 2000: 304.

[70] See ibid .; also: Klemens 2004: 42f.

[71] Bram Dijkstra: Evil is a woman. Male fantasies of violence and the fear of female sexuality. Reinbek: Rowohlt 1999. p. 157.

[72] See Flocke 1999: 44.

[73] See Klemens 2004: 70.

[74] Richard von Krafft-Ebing: Psychopathia Sexualis. With special consideration of the contrary sexual sensation. A clinical forensic study. 9th, improved and partially enlarged edition. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke 1894. p. 15.

[75] Ibid. P. 14.

[76] Ibid. P. 16.

[77] Ibid. P.56.

[78] Ibid. P. 88.

[79] See Klemens 2004: 60ff.

[80] See Dijkstra 1999: 121.

[81] See Flocke 1999: 45f.

[82] Cf. Arnold-de Simine 2000: 303f .; also: Dijkstra 1999: 80.

[83] Otto Weininger: Gender and Character. A principal investigation. 19th, unchanged edition. Vienna / Leipzig: Wilhelm Braunmüller 1920. p. 324. http://www.dalank.de/archiv/guc.pdf (Status: 29.06.2010).

[84] See Walker 1993: 1121ff.

[85] Bettina Pohle: Work of art woman. Staging of femininity in the modern age. Frankfurt: Fischer 1998. p. 68.

[86] Hilmes 1990: 65.

[87] See Flocke 1999: 44f .; also: Klemens 2004: 201.

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