Though the modern generation is more sensitive to cultural appropriation and its negative implications, one minority still finds themselves a major victim to this theft of customs and styles. Vampires.
Since the days of Bram Stoker’s classic fabrication of the undead, vampires have been portrayed only as mortals saw them, not as they truly are. Though they were unflatteringly represented, vampires were happy not to have the spotlight cast of their culture. Until the Goths came along with their blatant misappropriations.
In the late 70s/early 80s, bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie & The Banshees appropriated the style of music vampires were creating in their own underground clubs (which were not as extravagant as the ones promoters would soon open for these Goth kids). It attracted a bunch of mortal kids who copied the vampire styles of dressing in black with lots of leather and fishnets. They added the big hair and combat boots themselves.
They’re notorious for wearing white face to make themselves look as pale as vampires. It’s shameful that this insensitivity has been tolerated for so long.
Many of the clubs have blood sucking themes, exposing the vampire’s most shameful urge. They serve drinks that look like blood, not realizing this was something vampires did out of necessity, not enjoyment.
Big events are called Vampire Balls, but real vampires aren’t invited to them. Not that they would attend. True vampires don’t dress that extravagantly and gathering in large groups. They are simple, solitary folk.
Some Goths hang out in cemeteries for fun, ignoring the fact this was where vampires were forced to live when they were even less accepted than they are today. It’s an attempt to rewrite the history of the darkest parts of vampire history.
To act as if they could only go out at night further shows how insensitive they are to the vampires’ plight. What vampires wouldn’t give to be able to go out into the sun without it disintegrating them.
They also write terrible poetry, claiming to know what it feels like to be undead. Both the themes and rhyme schemes are insulting.
Perhaps people would be more culturally sensitive if there were TV shows and movies that showed vampires’ true nature. They’re tired of being portrayed as bloodsucking heartthrobs. And the mortal women as vampire savior stories infuriate them.
Hollywood continues to use mortal actors instead of real vampires. Unions complain that they can only film at night. And if they go into overtime, vampires have to retire to their coffins.
The Academy won’t begin The Oscars after sunset so the few vampire actors could attend on time. Not that they’re ever nominated for anything. The “Oscars So Mortal” campaign grows stronger every year.
But Goths and Hollywood are vampires’ smaller issues compared to:
Vampires are trying to abolish this holiday. Every October 31st, they have to watch mortals all over world dress up like them and perpetuate stereotypes. The following day, the Internet is inundated with images of people biting necks (yet never arms, which are most vampires’ preferred drinking method), casting vampires away with crosses (a horribly outdated notion, especially insulting to Christian vampires) and some made-up to be drooling blood (vampires would never squander a drop of the precious commodity).
Costume stores and the plastic vampire teeth manufacturers profit from their image, never making donations to vampire rights organizations. Even children are encouraged to steal from this culture, yet vampire history has never been taught in schools.
So when you ponder your next Halloween costume, make sure you’re not appropriating vampires. And if you see somebody doing so. Shame them on social media.
And don’t dress as zombies or werewolves either. It’s only a matter of time before those groups stand up against cultural appropriation, too.
Tom Misuraca studied Writing, Publishing and Literature at Emerson College in Boston before moving to Los Angeles. Over 90 of his short stories and two novels (including the vampire parody Lifestyles of the Damned) have been published. He is also a multi-award winning playwright with over 125 shot plays and 11 full-lengths produced globally. His musical, Geeks!, was produced Off-Broadway in May 2019. For more information, please visit www.tommiz.com.