Merideth Grinnell muses on our love of supernatural, for full story visit Tartarus Volume 13: Folklore.
We live in the age when one supernatural obsession succeeds another one within a matter of months. Early and mid 00s were marked by our fascination with vampires. TrueBlood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries, there was enough bloodsuckers to satisfy every blood tooth. Then came the age of the Werewolf: Twilight again, TruBlood again, Teen Wolf, and Vampire Diaries – again! Something about those ferocious beasts tickled us. Then came the zombies. Less come-hither and more survival of the fittest. The question is why are we so drawn to the supernatural? What is it about it that makes us tick? Why can’t we get enough?
Monsters have always been able to elicit thrills and chills, but for a lot of women lately, those shivers are more of delight than fright. Just turn on your TV, visit a movie theater or look through the New York Times’ Bestsellers, and you’ll see multiple examples of morally questionable men sporting fangs, fur or fairy wings, all about to sweep women right off their normally sensible feet. Through fiction and mythology, the paranormal bad boy was usually defeated in the end, but now, you’ll more often find him going home with the girl.
Perhaps some of the appeal of the dangerous-but-debonair paranormal anti-hero lies in his scorn for societal expectations. In some ways, a supernatural bad boy’s disregard for propriety and his devil-may-care attitude may call to women’s inner rebels. Or is it the lure of the unusual? Many women today are juggling jobs, families, relationships, school or other responsibilities, not leaving much room for themselves. Or is it the power? They are powerful in an understated way, without the bulging muscles of a superhero or a WWE wrestler. They might be mistaken or underestimated given their lean musculature, whereas in physical strength they are anything but. Today women are faced with the prospect of an overly feminine pussy of a man. Men have ceased to be men. A fictional hero gifted with mystical abilities, lethal sexiness and a razor-sharp wit is the ultimate fantasy package, because those are as rare as unicorns in the 21st Century. The appeal of the paranormal bad boy – or James Bond super-spy, hell even the Christian Grey dominant as some example of male escapism – can sometimes make everyday problems seem less dire. Thus, a few hours spent immersed in the world of the wicked yet alluring hero is the equivalent of a minivacation. You won’t catch a paranormal anti-hero being intimidated by a strong woman, either. In fact, more often than not, her strength is what attracted him in the first place. And perhaps they might even be able to dance in sync, giving as well as getting, going toe to toe. …
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