The Mixed-Up Gender Roles in Dracula
In the Victorian Era gender roles were very clear-cut and were not to be ignored. Men were masculine, tough, and considered protectors. Women were meant to be pure, kind, matronly, and frail. These were the stereotypical social behaviors of the genders and they were very strongly enforced. Women wouldn’t find a husband if they began to act at all masculine and subsequently, men would never find a wife if they began to act feminine or do “girly” things. The line between masculine and feminine was scarcely crossed and when it was the person doing the crossing was an oddity. The line of gender is frequently crossed in Dracula by Lucy, Mina, Jonathon, and especially Dracula himself.
The character in Dracula that crosses the gender line the most out of all is Mina. Mina was independent, smart, and resourceful. At one point in the novel Mina acted out one of the masculine features a male would have: protectiveness. Mina stayed with Lucy when she had become a meal for Count Dracula. She did everything she could to protect Lucy from the unthinkable. Mina, Dr. Seward, and Van Helsing do all they possibly can to protect Lucy. Eventually Mina must leave Lucy on the news that her fiancée, Jonathon Harker, is in a hospital after having been missing for months. Mina is also very much in control of herself. She is very much opposite Lucy in the fact that her and Jonathon have a gender-equal relationship. Just because Jonathon is the male, he doesn’t treat Mina like a fragile being but as an equal.
Jonathon Harker can also be seen as having feminine behavior or being put in feminine situations. Jonathon completely succumbs to the power and beauty of the Brides of Dracula, like, stereotypically, a women would release all power to a handsome, well-established, potential husband. Other than the fact that he is paralyzed by the beauty of three women, he is also the “damsel in distress.” Jonathon is being controlled and taken...
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