Oct 10 2009

Why Women Love Vampires More Than Men?

Published by at 1:31 pm under Gender Differences,Horror

Over at The Frisky, John DeVore speculates (careful– probably not safe for work) that vampire-lovers are disproportionately female because vampires are exotic, dangerous, mysterious and passionate.  So vampires do a better job of satisfying female wish-fulfillment (which is more about romance than violence).

In contrast, male wish-fulfillment tends to involve badass characters doing badass things (superhero stories, military action, James Bond, cops-and-robbers, etc).  Also, I don’t think that men find vampiric qualities very romantic.

All of this is probably an overgeneralization, but I think there’s some degree of truth to it.  What do you think?

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Why Women Love Vampires More Than Men?”

  1. A.N. Onymouson 10 Oct 2009 at 2:03 pm

    EDIT (damn laptop keyboard; can someone delete the above post?)

    As a long-time fan of vampire fiction to the point of having actually tried to write some at some point, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you’re definitely over-generalising. The reason for this is that there are several sub-genres within the very vast and wide-ranging field of vampire fiction. As it stands, there are three major ones that get attention; vampire romance, vampire action, and the now-fading area of vampire horror.

    Vampire romance is the commonly-seen Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Chronicles, the Hollows, the Southern Vampire Mysteries (televised as True Blood), and the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter style of series. It’s about vampires and romance in the same general area and tends to be marketed mostly by women for women. Sometimes it mixes in mystery and occult detective work (Hollows, Southern Vampire Mysteries, Anita Blake), but mostly the focus is on the fact that there are vampires and that women are sleeping with them.

    Vampire action is the other commonly-seen area, covered by Blade, Underworld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, the Dresden Files, Night Watch, Moonlight, Ultraviolet and the other Ultraviolet, as well as overlapping with the above-mentioned Hollows and Anita Blake. Vampire romance may figure into this (Buffy slayed AND shagged vampires), but the majority of it’s going to be about vampires as an over-the-top fight scene enabler. They’re super-strong, super-fast, and even super-durable when you’re not armed with any of their weaknesses. This allows for a bit of showiness, and actually happens to be the area which does appeal to the various areas of male readership and viewership. Another noted trend, however, is to lower the focus on vampires as in Night Watch and Dresden Files by merely having them be one part of a much larger supernatural world.

    Vampire horror is much rarer now, but that’s where vampire fiction started, with novels like Carmilla and Dracula. It has some modern following with works such as 30 Days of Night, From Dusk Till Dawn and I Am Legend (the novel, at least); the basic concept of them is ‘bloodsucking, super-powerful versions of humans who lurk in the darkness aren’t sexy… they’re scary‘. This has an equal-level following amongst men and women, and is my personal favourite area. Despite the fact that horror fiction rarely, if ever, actually scares me. Go figure.

    They’re not mutually exclusive; it’s possible to overlap two or all of them, after all, but these are the three major areas.

  2. thablueon 11 Oct 2009 at 3:20 am

    Well, as a vampire fan – and a part-time writer about vampires, I’ll dare to post the first comment. It’s interesting to me that the article only deals with the typical Hollywood “Male Lead” vampire– like Dracula, Lestat, Bill, Edward, Eric, Angel. To varying degrees, all of them are that “Bad Boy” romantic lead.

    The article doesn’t even mention Selene from Underworld, whom whom ALL of my straight male friends LOVE. (Okay, maybe some of them only like the skin-tight catsuit, but still!) And most of my guy friends loved Buffy too, although interestingly enough, they didn’t all like the Angel series.

    That stereotypical vampire is one driving reason for me to write about Rue. She’s not at all like most female vampires in books and films (with the notable exceptions of Anne Rice’s Pandora and Nancy Collin’s Sonja Blue) – who are usually two-dimensional bikini-clad male domination fantasy girls with sharp pointy teeth. She is neither romantic lead nor male fantasy, nor shark-toothed soul-less monster. I really want to know what happens if you take a human being and grant them immortality with the price that they will have to become a serial killer just to survive. I think – well, I hope – that that exploration would appeal to any gender or orientation.

    Oh, and I’m a woman and I like a good zombie film. :)

  3. Ribbiton 11 Oct 2009 at 1:58 pm

    While I think it’s true that vampires appeal to woman, I think you’re right in saying it’s something of an overgeneralization. Right off the bat, I can think of John Ajvide Lindqvist, who wrote Let The Right One In, a story featuring vampires. It’s not such a good example, but Stephen King also wrote vampires, and so does Justin Somper and Darren Shan (I know plenty of boys who love this). Hellsing is a Japanese anime and manga about vampires which seems to lean towards a male demographic.
    I don’t think vampire-lovers are specifically female, but I think there is a certain section of vampire fiction that tends to appeal mostly to women. (Twilight, Vampire Chronicles, Midnight’s Daughter…) Vampires are done in a lot of different ways, and one particular type that shows up a lot is the quintessential bad boy, the outcast and the romantic recluse. That’s the one a lot of girls go for.
    Argh.
    Yes.
    I am a complete *nerd* when it comes to vampires. If you can get a certificate in vampirology, I would have it.

  4. B. Macon 11 Oct 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I wonder if it would be possible to write a superhero story that appealed to women in the same way that “bad boy vampires” often do. How would you do it?

    Hmm. I think I’d probably go with…

    –The superhero isn’t the main character. That’s extremely rare for superhero stories, but (as far as I know) reasonably common for vampire stories. Instead, we’d use a female protagonist as the lead. I could see her going down two paths: one is to make her a super-relatable, ill-defined everywoman like the protagonist of Twilight. The other is to make her more active, probably like a cop or something similar. Either way, I suspect that it would only work if female readers got some wish-fulfillment out of the lead’s eventual romance with the superhero.

    –The superhero has no origin story– I’ve found that origin stories tend to matter more to guys than women. Also, not having an origin helps keep him mysterious.

    –His costume should be very simple and noir-ish, maybe like a darker version of Zorro.

    –He should be as emotionally tormented as possible. This creates a need for her (emotional balance) as well as a sense of volatility and danger.

    –He needs to be preposterously good-looking. Her too, probably. Obviously. Who would want to read a romance between two ugly people? (Sigh).

    –The romance should be passionate but fleeting. My theory is that actually making it a lasting, stable relationship takes the mystery out. Everyone wants what they can’t have.

    –His superpowers should lend themselves well to romance (“But to his great surprise, it seems she prefers guys who can kiss upside down in the rain“). Flight or some other elegant form of movement is practically required.

  5. TheSuperTeacheron 12 Oct 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Are vampires mostly for women? Yes but there’s nothing wrong with that. It is true that they make better characters for sex appeal. It’s been this way since the first Dracula went after a young and impressionable girl. Personally however, I would love to see some more ass-kicking from these paranormal people who are supposed to my almost indestructable? Heck yes. What’s superstrength without some super ass-kicking!

  6. B. Macon 12 Oct 2009 at 6:00 pm

    “Are vampires mostly for women? Yes but there’s nothing wrong with that.” Indeed not! Superhero stories already have a fairly strong appeal to male readers, so I think that an entrepreneurial superhero author might look into why vampire stories succeed with many women to understand how to write a story with crossover appeal.

  7. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Oct 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Well, I’ve always liked vampires since I was a kid, I have a couple of ideas for books/manga about them. But as you all know, I despise Twilight. Haha.

    I prefer the type that cause mayhem, or those that play against type while still being vampires (unlike the Twilight pixies. They’re not even vampires. They’re just glittery little pixies)

    But because I do not possess a Y chromosome, I do like romantic vampires, too. I just prefer the type that rip throats out or do unexpected, non archetypical things.

  8. B. Macon 15 Oct 2009 at 6:43 pm

    “But because I do not possess a Y chromosome, I do like romantic vampires, too.” Clearly you know me too well. :P

  9. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Oct 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Oh, I also like stories about chaos, ruin, death, zombies/mutants and the apocalypse. Haha. It’s not just vampires.

    I love disaster, broken utopia or end of the world movies, like Independence Day, I Am Legend, I, Robot, The Day After Tomorrow, Cloverfield and Surrogates. Some of these movies may not have done too well with critics, and some are full of inaccuracies, but for some reason my usually critical side shuts down because of the OMG EXPLOSIONS and WOW BLOOD! Haha.

    I am desperate to see 2012.

    But in these movies there is a lot of emotion, too. They generally have things about the fragility of life, family, love etc, so that is part of how it appeals to me. In the trailer I saw for 2012, a guy said “The moment we stop fighting for each other, that’s the moment we lose our humanity”. I have a lot of beliefs along those lines, and that quote is the main reason it attracted me. Haha. But on the other hand, I do not have a single female friend who shares my love for these movies. They just stare at me.

  10. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Oct 2009 at 6:53 pm

    The Twilight vampires seem to be a huge bunch of cliches thrown together from a girl’s view on how they should be. Because Everything’s Better With Sparkles and bodies “carved from stone” are supposedly attractive, Meyer just grabbed a few random things and said “this’ll sell!” Unfortunately, she was right. (facepalm) These books make vampire lovers look bad. If someone now says “I like vampires”, they are assumed to be a Twihard.

  11. ShardReaperon 15 Oct 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Ever since Twilight, I’ve begin to slowly lose my faith in humanity.

  12. B. Macon 15 Oct 2009 at 7:02 pm

    As far as I can tell, having not read Twilight, I think its vampires are more like superheroes than vampires. Not that Twilight’s lady fans can admit that– superheroes are such a guy thing. ;-) Or something like that.

  13. thablueon 16 Oct 2009 at 4:24 am

    As a vampire fan since forever – I have to agree. The Twilight vampires are the My Little Pony of Vampire-dom. I am actually surprised that they don’t come in little pink boxes in the toy isle with “interchangeable hair and teeth” and “Different colored glitter so you can sparkle too!”

    My frustration with the majority of Vampire books and films is why I am writing one. Rue is different. She’s actually more Superhero than Vampire – albeit one more along the lines of Batman or Hellblazer than Superman. And she will have a comic too :D

    Maybe all of this is because I am also the kind of girl that is more likely to choose an action/thriller than a comedy/romance when walking down the DVD isle. I am also the only girl I know that MUST go into the comic book shop while the other girls are looking at shoes – (yes, even the lesbians are looking at shoes.) Not that there’s anything wrong with shoes. :P

  14. Tomon 16 Oct 2009 at 8:32 am

    “Meyer just grabbed a few random things and said “this’ll sell!” Unfortunately, she was right.”

    I don’t think she was consciously trying to sell books when she wrote it. She just thought her idiotic fantasies about having a magical vampire boyfriend would make a good book. Unfortunately, her idea of a perfect boyfriend is shared by a lot of girls…

    On that note, I’ve just started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer! ^_^

    Also, I had a good idea for a book. Similar to Twilight, but instead of a vampire he’s a superhero…

    Yeah, I think I’m the only one who’d read it too…

  15. Wingson 16 Oct 2009 at 8:58 am

    There are Edward action figures at Borders.

    There are also Bella Swan Barbie dolls.

    Let that speak for itself.

    *pictures a row of Meg dolls at Toy’s R Us*

    GAH!

    Aaaanyways, let’s just say I would be thoroughly pissed if a sparkly guy waltzed into my life, watched me while I slept, forced me to go to prom with him (Me? Prom? What are YOU on?) and all and all tried to control my life.

    The next morning would bring a pile of smoldering-and-sparkling ashes in my back yard, a sign on Bella’s door reading “You’re next, %^&$”, and a breaking news program about how a vampire hunter with a lunchbox and a beret is brandishing Edward Cullen’s head and beating Twihards to death with the head of their idol.

    ‘Nuff said.

    - Wings

  16. Glasson 23 Oct 2009 at 7:11 am

    Most vampire fiction nowadays is marketed specifically toward women. Vampires as legitimate horror monsters is fading away to the wimpified vampires of Twilight and such. They’ve become romantic icons now. Let’s move on to werewolves before Twilight destroys that too.

  17. Wingson 23 Oct 2009 at 8:36 am

    At least *Breaking Dawn spoiler* they’re technically “shapeshifters who just happen to take the form of a wolf”.

    Personally, Jacob is one of the only – okay, he IS the only – characters with an actual semblance of a personality. I know for a fact he was the only reason one of my friends kept reading the books, even through Breaking Dawn started giving her rather traumatic nightmares (That book is EVIL, people. I know, I survived a reading).

    - Wings

  18. Lighting Manon 23 Oct 2009 at 8:57 am

    I’ve classified werewolves into two catalogs “puppy werewolves” those that turn into useless regular wolves and are utterly useless, such as Twilight, and real werewolves, such as those in the Wolf Man, the Underworld films, Harry Potter and eventually something else of note, the werewolves that are part-human and part-werewolf as opposed to all-stupid.

    I am scared to death of dogs in reality, real dogs, little tiny dogs, big dogs, all kinds of dogs, and I don’t find puppy werewolves scary in the least. If a door is a major stumbling block for a loner creature, you’ve got big issues.

  19. Lighting Manon 23 Oct 2009 at 9:02 am

    I added the “loner creature” part not as a typo of “lunar” but because I love zombies and I take tremendous comfort in the reality that a character saying “I only eat the brains of Bambi.” will never make a girl swoon.

  20. NewAgeZombion 23 Oct 2009 at 12:27 pm

    This is NOT always true my dad’s more into Twilight than teenage-girl-me, which frankly isn’t too hard. I used to like it but since the movie, and seeing fangirls in action, my eyes have opened to how awful it is.

    However, I can tell you of a vampire book that would be too grostique for most girls, and it’s my favorite; Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld. Don’t be fooled by the name (It’s a shortening for the term for vampires in the book), it’s very adult and science-y, as well as having a touch of macabre. However, it must be admitted that there’s plenty of romance, but it’s from a hormone-driven male’s point of view, which is refreshing. I think there’s something for anyone, so long as they’re not squeamish.

    I suggest the Bad Blood Trilogy, by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald, for werewolf fiction. A moderate dosage of gore, teenage turmoil done right and at least one new species in every book. In addition, the authors are quite skilled.

    And Lightning Man, what you’re calling “puppy werewolves” ARE the real werewolves. Every single folktale or historical account I’ve ever heard: all those “cured werewolf stories”, the ancient roman tale, (No, no, not the Greek story of Lycaon this was Roman and had an actual werewolf, not a man turned into a wolf as punishment.) Jean Grenier, Gilles Garneir and the Beast of Gèvaudan all walked arond on all fours with proper ears and snout and black-and-white vision. The whole hybrid thing is a case of old-time lack of special effects and a major case of movie maker see, movie maker do.

    In addition, you might want to know that “part-human and part-werewolf” literally means “part-human and part-man-wolf”.

  21. NewAgeZombion 23 Oct 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I still don’t get the “loner” thing you were talking about. Is it refering to how zombies come in hordes while werewolves (typically) come alone?

  22. Lighting Manon 23 Oct 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Yes, that’s what the loner bit was talking about.

    I’m aware of the folkloric origins of werewolves, and what the name means, I just seriously dislike puppy werewolves, even giant ones like Twilight’s. I’ve always been a huge werewolf fan and The Wolf Man was one of the first horror movies I saw, even though by the time of my birth, far better regarded horror movies such as Alien and The Exorcist had been a part of popular culture for a while. I consider Curt Siodmak and Jack Pierce to be geniuses that should not be so easily disregarded. The “part-werewolf” was a mis-type, I had intended to only put “wolf” but made a mistake. Although, I’d have to say that modern werewolves, what I regard as the now “true” werewolves, owe far too much to the myth of Lycaon, who typically was depicted as a mixture of the two species for it to be disregarded.

    Regardless though, the folkloric origins of modern movie creatures have little value or influence on what they are, they are always most defined by the first successful film to feature them then what came before, even Twilight owes more to Count Orlok then it does folklore.

    Honestly, as a whole, those are another two posts I would delete if I had the ability, I’d only just woken up and it is little more then idiotic gibberish. I keep intending to be more discerning in regards to what I post but those first thirty minutes or so after I wake up always let me post something embarrassing, I apologize to any and everyone that read them and I sincerely hope they do not mar whatever has been thought of me prior.

  23. B. Macon 23 Oct 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Don’t sweat it, LM. However, if you’d like me to delete the posts, just leave the times when they were posted in a comment.

  24. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 31 Oct 2009 at 7:17 am

    “There are Edward action figures at Borders”.

    I’ve seen a set of them at a fan shop I go to! There was an Edward and a Bella in a box together, my friend cringed when she saw them, I followed her line of sight and went “YAY!”

    …because there was an L necklace right next to it. Haha, I got it for four bucks and I’m wearing it right now. I’d take a pale guy with rings under his eyes, barely sleeps, eats only one thing and has messy hair any day. And I’m not describing a vampire here, people. For you non-Death Note fans, the only thing he eats is sweets. Also he sits funny. Haha. But yeah, I’d take him over a vampire any day. Hell, I’d take Light over a vampire any day, even though he’s a million times as dangerous. Haha.

  25. Wingson 31 Oct 2009 at 11:16 am

    I have finished my L plushie (soon to be plushies) at last…*hugs the tiny one* So cuddly…

    - Wings

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