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The story of “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes”[1] by Fritz Leiber provides a unique modern twist on a vampire story. The story is told by a photographer who discovers a young model known only as “the Girl”. At the beginning of the story, the narrator warns that the Girl is dangerous, saying “the girl isn’t like any of the [other models]. She’s unnatural. She’s morbid. She’s unholy” (Leiber 335). He then proceeds to describe how he was the one who started off the Girl’s modeling career before she became a huge international success that entranced audiences. While working with her, however, he becomes uneasy and suspicious of the Girl while simultaneously becoming hopelessly attracted to her. Eventually his attraction to her is overridden by fear as she tells she wishes to own everything that belongs to him and makes up who he is, saying things such as “I want everything that’s made you happy and everything that’s hurt you bad” and “Feed me baby, feed me”.

This story is interesting as it subverts the traditional idea of a vampire by making the “vampire” not a creature that feeds off blood, but one that controls and feeds off of the lusts and desires of those who admire it. While it is hinted at earlier on the Girl may be responsible for the actual murders of victims who had died under mysterious circumstances, this is never confirmed and may have been a false suspicion spurred on the narrator’s other fears about the girl. The narrator says himself “there are vampires… and the ones that suck blood aren’t the worst”(Leiber 347), suggesting the girl doesn’t necessarily kill, but hurts people through manipulating and entrancing them. The Girl is described as having very sexual eyes which is what attracts audiences attentions in advertisements. Sex is often used in marketing to sell products, which may go back to the idea of the “fallen women” that was present even back in Victorian times, as there is/was something mysterious and enticing about a sexual women even in a sexual repressive society. Using women as symbols of sex to advertise make some people worry about negative results, such as women being objectified and viewers potentially being “corrupted”[2]. This worries are expressed in the story as the viewers of the add are controlled by the image of the girl and the girl herself has no name or personality given in the story, only her sex appeal.

Resources

https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/victorian-sexualities

https://d2l.arizona.edu/d2l/le/content/563364/viewContent/4977168/View

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/madeline-wahl/why-its-unfortunate-that-sex-sells_b_5433251.html

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