The Feminist Movement In Bram Stoker's Dracula

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In the late nineteenth century, when Bram Stoker was writing and publishing Dracula, the feminist movement was beginning to find its feet. The concept of a “New Woman” was born and along with her came education reforms, increased divorce rate, and women tired of being put in an idyllic and antiquated box. The Portrayal of Mina (Murray) Harker in Bram Stokers iconic novel Dracula is Stokers input in the ongoing conversation of the New Woman. Through Mina, Stoker displays the Victorian, predominantly male, idea of a woman and the constant danger surrounding her by the invading ideals of the “New Woman”. As the Feminist movement began to take way many men were realizing that alongside more educated and independent women came a loss of their…show more content…
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An essay in the mid 1800’s on the duties and nature of men and women claims that “[women] must be enduringly, incorruptibly, good” (Ruskin, 120). There was an impossible expectation of purity, and innocence, which was ore suited for fictional women than actual human beings. The purity of women, however goes beyond sexual purity but also the purity of their minds from the dangerous feminist ideals which where threatening their compliance in the overwhelmingly patriarchal society. Once sullied you switched from innocent to temptress, from the good woman to a vampire a minion of Dracula. The nature of black and white, clear-cut status of women was a common theme in Victorian novels, going beyond just vampires. Stubbs observes that there are two types of women in Victorian novels. The first is the sweet and innocent respectable virgin, and then there is the more promiscuous “femme fatale” that corrupts men with her sexuality. (Stubbs, 10) In Dracula Mina touches both of these categories but ends firmly planted in the prior. Mina nearly descends from the sweet and respectable woman into a vampire the very epitome of femme fatale. A professor of Women’s Studies and English at Skidmore College observed that in the beginning Mina is a combination of “saint and mother” she is all that is good and “pure” until she is seduced by Dracula when she becomes visibly marked as “unclean”. (Roth, 418) The only way to ensure that a woman
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