By Katherine Timpf
Stop being so judgmental.
Sociology researchers are now insisting that we as a society start accepting people who choose to “identify as real vampires” — so that they can be open about the fact that they’re vampires without having to worry about facing discrimination from people who might think that that’s weird.
The study, titled “Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires’ Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals” was conducted by researchers from Idaho State University and College of the Canyons and the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles.
“Most vampires believe they were born that way; they don’t choose this,” said Dr. D. J. Williams, the study’s lead researcher and the director of sociology at Idaho State.
The study is based on the experiences of eleven “real” vampires — which, by the way, are different from “lifestyle vampires.”
“Lifestylers,” the study explains, are people who just do things like wear fangs and sleep in coffins as lifestyle choices, and although “real vampires” may do these things too, they all also have one major thing in common that distinguishes them from the “lifestylers:”
“The essential feature of real vampirism is their belief in the need to take in ‘subtle energy’ (called feeding) from time to time from a willing ‘donor’ in order to maintain physical, psychological and spiritual health,” the study explains.
“Unlike lifestyle vampires, real vampires believe that they do not choose their vampiric condition; they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation,” it continues. Williams explained that no one should be bothered by a person wanting to drink another person’s blood.
Some of these “real vampires” prefer to feed on “psychic or pranic energy” while others, called “sanguinarians,” prefer to feed on “small amounts” of human or animal blood. (Of the eleven “real vampires” interviewed for the study, three said they preferred psychic energy, three said they preferred blood, and five said they got energy from multiple sources.)
Williams explained that no one should be bothered by a person wanting to drink another person’s blood because “it is generally expected within the community that vampires should act ethically and responsibly in feeding practices,” and it’s not their blood-drinking that’s the real problem here — it’s the fact that they have to worry that other people will judge them for their blood-drinking.
After all, the study reported that all of the participants seemed to “function normally” based on questions about their careers and “psychiatric histories” (apparently, believing you need to drink blood in order to function was not taken to be an indicator of a psychological problem) and yet “nearly all participants were distrustful of social workers and helping professionals and preferred to ‘stay in the coffin’ for fear of being misunderstood, labeled, and potentially having to face severe repercussions to their lives.”
Ugh — how unfair!
“The message is to not take things at face value, to be more aware of our stereotypes and our judgments, maybe focus on commonalities that people have,” Williams said in an interview with MTV. “People understand themselves in very different ways, and that’s OK. We’re all human. We all have a lot of things in common. I think a little more awareness of our own biases and more cultural sensitivity — more compassion — that’s really the important thing underlying all of this,” he said.