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Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter- A Feminist Perspective
The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter franchise is often lauded for its supposedly “feminist” protagonist, a role model to women everywhere. I hope to dispel this falsehood: Anita Blake is not a role model for feminists or anyone else.

  • Throughout the entire series, Anita displays a nearly pathological hatred of blonde women, apparently rooting from her father’s remarriage to a blonde woman. If a blonde walks onto to the scene, there’s a good chance Anita will monologue about the woman’s incompetence, malevolence, or femininity, which is often linked to weakness. The reader assumes Anita would overcome this prejudice in time, but the author seems to be only interested in perpetuating this petty dislike for blonde women. The majority of other women are also villainized to varying degrees, as if to convince the reader that Anita is the best woman out there.

  • Anita’s internalized misogyny rears its ugly head again when the stepson of her friend Edward is unofficially accused of raping his two teenage girlfriends, one of whom was said to be a virgin. A U.S. Federal Marshall, Anita immediately dismisses their claims, callously stating that the virgin must be suffering from “buyer’s remorse.” Anita's lack of compassion toward female sexual assault victims manifests again as porcelain-pale but apparently African-American Vivian recovers from a violent rape and subsequent beating at the hands of a Vampire Council member and his followers. Upon looking at her, Anita can only think to adjust her body posture because "[ehe} doesn't want to huddle like Vivian," with the suggestion that Anita thinks being fearful after a sexual assault and battery is a show of weakness.

  • Anita's "liberated" sex life is problematic. The first issue is the sheer hypocrisy of forcing the members of her harem to swear monogamy to her, while she is free to engage with whomever she pleases, an arrangement which lasted until Bullet. The other problem is "the Ardeur." Anita is openly sexually with various men, but her consent is dubious due to the Mate Or Die scenario. Anita isn't sexual because she's a willing participant- "the Ardeur" forces sexual feelings onto her, and she literally risks death if she doesn't have sex. She can use "the Ardeur" to gain magical powers- but that leads to the questionable equivalent of sex to female empowerment.
I disagree, you can say she's a feminist but not necessarily a feminist role model.

  • Reviewing point one. I don't think bigotry toward a group of women discredits her "badge" of feminism. Her prejudice is more than likely a misattribution of feelings toward "uneducated" females, still rooted from her father's remarriage. I would say that is still a decidedly "feminist" outlook. Just not a pretty one.
  • Reviewing point two. Not a very feminist perspective though it may be attributed to her "liberated sex life" and nature as a vampire hunter, she cannot truly understand the rape victims perspective. Not to mention it was the stepson of her friend. She might just put friends and family ahead of "women everywhere". It's like a black person defending their white friend who was accused of a hate crime.
  • It's probably disingenuous to suggest that sexuality has no role in female empowerment. She can still be considered a feminist, just one who seized power for herself.
comment #14976 son 20th Jun 12
if she is a feminist its more straw than anything else. At least until obsidian butterfly, then it is just insulting.
comment #15064 master 24th Jun 12
1. I honestly don't see how using hair color as a basis for general disdain of other women is "feminist." Could your elaborate on that, please?

Anita's constant scorn for other women- directed at a mother for crying when her two children are kidnapped, at a female wereleopard for wearing revealing clothing while in human form, at a teenage vampire girl for being scared when Anita interrogates/terrorizes her, at a female werewolf for having the sheer audacity to be physically attractive -is not feminism. It's the opposite- she shames other women for feminine tastes, showing her own misogyny.

2. It's worth noting that Anita (A) doesn't know the stepson in question very well, (B) was only hearing about the information secondhand and therefore did not know many details but still just totally disregarded the very idea, despite her police training and near obligation to play Devil's Advocate to the accused, and (C) the stepson in question had also been raped a few years earlier when he was 14, so Anita should have known that there is a slim possibility that he may have become a sexual aggressor due to his own trauma.

Furthermore, Anita is always sympathetic towards male rape victims, such as Peter, the friend's stepson, or Nathaniel, one of the guys in her harem. But she never hesitates to be dismissive of other women who claim to/have suffered sexual assault.

Also notable are the dub-con situations Anita herself is involved in- Micah has sex with while she actively and genuinely protests, Nathaniel continues domming her even when she shouts the safeword, and the villain in Obsidian Butterfly has sex with her despite her protests (Changed in the Orwellian Retcon- now she didn't protest "enough," you see). All have the distinctive taint of Its Not Rape If You Enjoyed It.

3. Sexuality and female empowerment can be mutually exclusive, believe it or not. A woman does not necessarily need to have sex in order to achieve her goals. My point is that a women having sex doesn't equate with female empowerment. A woman can be empowered without having sex, a woman can have sex and be empowered. But due to the Ardeur, it seems as though the only way Anita is able to empower herself is through sex. Sex with high school boys, that is.

I'm kind of curious. Why exactly do you believe that Anita is feminist? Because she has a guy killed for refusing to have sex with her?
comment #15078 CasualBanshee 25th Jun 12
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