Vampires are sexy. This is the post-zombie monster theme running through our culture right now that books, television, and movies are parlaying into big money. You can’t even take a trip to the grocery store without reading about it on the check out racks. WE GET IT. VAMPIRES ARE SEXY.
Rolling Stone magazine is continuing its history of naked covers while lending its hand to help in our vampires-are-sexy cultural bludgeoning by featuring the cast of True Blood – Stephen Moyer, Anna Paquin, and Alexander Skarsgard – in the buff with a generous drizzling of blood. See the sexy:
I don’t particularly prefer being covered in blood while getting with the sexy, but to each his own. Others, though, including fans of the series, have declared the cover disgusting and inappropriate for high school students, as though, somehow, this cover is worse than all the blood-sucking, semi-cannibalistic, and raunchy sexual overtones that are emitted through North America’s televisions on a weekly basis.
Alan Ball, True Blood creator, has this to say about it:
To me, vampires are sex. I don’t get a vampire story about abstinence. I’m 53. I don’t care about high school students. I find them irritating and uninformed.
While I am not irritated with the bloodied nakedness on the upcoming cover of Rolling Stone, I am irritated by the underlying message of our culture’s whole sexy vampire zeitgeist. Cast member Stephen Moyer nails my irritation with the sexiness = vampires thing quite neatly:
If we go from a base level, vampires create a hole in the neck where there wasn’t one before. It’s a de-virginization — breaking the hymen, creating blood and then drinking the virginal blood. And there’s something sharp, the fang, which is probing and penetrating and moving into it. So that’s pretty sexy. I think that makes vampires attractive.
Basically, killing virgins is hot.
When I was in high school, there was this one guy who proudly wore a pair of underwear with VIRGIN KILLER scrawled across the front. He thought having sex with virgins was hot, because he was the first in line, the initial conqueror, the one who went where no one had gone before. What he was so proudly declaring was that that he was into slaying the very thing for which he valued them, which in turn, slayed the very value of the girl with whom he had sex. He got off on devaluing women.
Which brings me back around to our present culture’s love of vampire lust. Vampires are being used as a metaphor for the kind of improprietous sexual intercourse we so adore in pornography. We shove little girls around stripper poles, give them slutty dolls to play with, and generally commodify their bodies until they learn to treat themselves as though they are products for the use of others, and we all know that the more an object is used, the less resale value it has. That we wonder what went wrong when they act out is just a symptom of our mass denial.
As a culture, we get off on devaluing women, and True Blood is just one part of an entire genre that lays it out in all its gory metaphor. At least in the realm of vampires, the virgins either die altogether and are able to escape the stain of sluttiness or they die and are reborn as another kind of animal free from human mores. Either way, though, they are slain, and their true humanity is stripped from them by no more than the “probing and penetrating” fang.
. . . . .
Schmutzie thinks the idea of virginity is a scourge.