Bram Stoker’s Dracula reflects the Victorian fear of reverse colonization by the “Other” or the encroachment of the outsider on the British Empire as well as the repression of sexuality in Victorian England; however, there is one facet of the text that has never been fully explored: the inherent male fear of castration and feminine sexuality as well as its relationship to the “vagina dentata” motif. Furthermore, this dread of female sexuality has not been adequately explored in light of the novel’s historical context. Written during the rise of the New Woman, Stoker crafts a response to the increasing independence of women, embracing the strength and abilities of women, but rejecting the New Woman’s sexual forwardness and lack of maternal instinct. Using the female vampires to represent the New Woman, Stoker creates a social commentary that juxtaposes the New Woman with the reinvented traditional woman to demonstrate the dangers the New Woman poses. By re-envisioning the critical landscape of Dracula, the discussion on the place of and misconceptions of female sexuality within a phallocentric discourse will be extended to demonstrate that a vaginally-centered discourse exists. As Judith Butler states, “Within a language pervasively masculinist, a phallogocentric language, women constitute the unrepresentable. In other words, women represent the sex that cannot be thought, a linguistic absence and opacity” (9). Therefore, female sexuality is not verbalized as clearly as male sexuality; however, through the male dread of the unrepresentable nature of female sexuality, particular motifs and images, such as the vagina dentata, are used to visually represent the male projection of female sexuality in light of a phallocentric discourse.
"The Fear of Castration and Male Dread of Female Sexuality: The Theme of the “Vagina Dentata” in Dracula,"
Journal of Dracula Studies: Vol. 12
, Article 1.
Available at: https://research.library.kutztown.edu/dracula-studies/vol12/iss1/1
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