Comparing Sexuality and Power in Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Comparing Sexuality and Power in Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer At first glance, Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the hour-long TV series which premiered in 1997 and is now in its third season, bears little resemblance to the book which started the vampire craze -- Bram Stoker's Dracula, published a century earlier. And yet, looks can be deceiving. Although the trendy -- and often skimpy -- clothing and bandied about pop-culture references of "Buffy" clearly mark the series as a product of a far different culture than that of the Victorian England of Dracula, the underlying tensions of the two texts are far similar than one might think. Beneath the surface differences in the treatment of their heroines, the two texts…show more content…
Just how the forces of good organize themselves in each text reveals much about the assumptions about gender roles present in their cultures of origin. Buffy Summers, a teenage girl, is the Vampire Slayer -- "One girl, in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the. . . the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of evil" (Giles/Buffy, "Welcome to the Hellmouth") -- and her friends, the so-called Slayerettes, and her Watcher Giles only provide assistance and support. Dracula's Mina is merely a minor -- and weaker -- member of a large group of men, including her husband, who fight in order to protect her. Without doubt, the image of the petite Buffy fighting and killing vampires week after week forces the viewer to recognize her strength and power. Despite her physical passivity in the novel, "sweet-faced, dainty-looking" Mina reveals she too is strong and necessary to the fight against evil, even if in less obvious ways (226). Seward credits Mina's skill in typing and work in compiling hers, Harker's, and his diaries with providing the key without which they "could never have found the dates otherwise" (232). The information she provides while under hypnosis -- visions echoed in Buffy's prophetic dreams ("Welcome to the Hellmouth," "Prophecy Girl," "Surprise," "Innocence") -- makes

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