Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Anorexia in Women of the Victorian Era

Sins of the flesh: anorexia, eroticism and the female vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula is about anorexia in women being a problem of the Victorian society more specifically 19th-20th Century. This article shows the ways in how women were seen as weak because of anorexia. The article disagrees with Fin de Siecle and Bram Stoker’s ideas of women being weak beings that men are suppose to dominate. The eroticism in the novel that Bram Stoker pointed out in the female characters makes another controversial topic. The reason why is because Dracula gets to do what he wants and he isn't seen as terrible as the women because he is a man. In my opinion, anorexia in the vampire women were intended because this was a problem during the Victorian Era. This article also uses multiple examples to support the argument. As a side note, anorexia in women of the Victorian Era was probably more common in poor women. The reason why is because vampire women in Dracula were considered foreigners in the Victorian Era meaning they weren’t like the people who were considered normal. Stokers view of women was to degrade women to make men feel even more superior.

This relates to my theme of my essay The collective fear in the Victorian Era, Change because in the Victorian Era their fear was anorexia in women. Men during the Victorian Era would find women will think that anorexia is something that is true beauty and they should copy it. Although this may be true for some, the idea of the new woman is to empower them to be independent not starve themselves and turn into zombie women. In addition Dominguez Rue makes an interesting point. According to Dominguez Rue, “Dracula is undoubtedly a product of its time, considering the fin de sie`cle fascination for the vampire and Stoker’s treatment of the female characters. In the novel, all the vampires except the Count himself are female: it is relevant to consider that, although Renfield and Harker are attacked, only women mutate into vampirism” (300). This connects to my theme because the fear in Victorian Society was the change in women’s physical appearance. If the women changed then men wouldn't be seen as superior. In the article anorexia in vampire women was just something men made as a hoax to make women believe that they could only do what is required. A rebuttal of the idea women are anorexic therefore weak is Count Dracula himself because he is also pale but highly attractive with the same facial features as the vampire women. Anorexia may be common in women but I cannot ignore the fact that men also were anorexic in that Era.

Work Cited
Domínguez-Rue, Emma. "Sins Of The Flesh: Anorexia, Eroticism And The Female Vampire In Bram Stoker's Dracula." Journal Of Gender Studies 19.3 (2010): 297-308. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 July 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting piece! But I'm not sure I see how the vampire women represent anorexia. Victorian women kept themselves thin to attract men, Remember how Lucy remarks that Arthur says she's "getting fat" after they're engaged? And remember how she and Mina eat a lot at that restaurant in Whitby and note that even the New Woman would be shocked at their appetites? So wasn't food just about means of control over women? A control that vampires and the New Woman would ignore, eating whatever they want?

    Regardless, this is a fascinating take on the novel that I've yet to see, so well done!