Thirsty for a Fresh Take on All Things True Blood?

WELCOME! Thirsty for a fresh take on all things True Blood? Pull up a virtual barstool at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern where sisters Rachel and Rebecca are serving up juicy feminist analysis with a twist and opening a vein of thoughtful sociocultural dialogue on HBO's hit series.

Like the epic literary salons of eras past - theaters for conversation and debate which were, incidentally, started and run by women; where the spirited debate about the issues of the day ran as copiously as the actual spirits did - but updated for the digital age, the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is a fun forum for exploring questions ripe for discourse about the human condition & today's most crucial social issues through the medium of True Blood.

Your salonnières are not peddling liquor per se, but they are offering up new and alternative ideas informed by such diverse influences as pop culture, art, music, cultural history, Goddess studies, transformative theory, literature and poetry, and archaeomythology, filtered through the sieve of their own lived experiences as feminist women of a particular age, background, and culture.

This is a space where you - patrons and passersby alike - can view and engage with these perspectives through the lens of True Blood and contribute your own thoughts. So, no matter if you're a Truebie or a more casual viewer of True Blood, or your drink of choice is a pomegranate martini - one of Rachel's favorite cocktails to drink and Rebecca's to mix - an herbal tea, a frothy double mocha latte, or a can of Fresca (wink, wink) you're invited to join the conversation on the show's complexities in a way that can spark transformation.

Hopefully you'll find something to sink your teeth...err...straw, into! PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY ;-)


The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is dedicated to exploring social issues and more through the lens of True Blood. As such, you may encounter:

related to the often provocative and adult themes presented by the show

If you choose to enter and participate in this virtual salon, please be prepared to do so in a thoughtful, respectful, and mature fashion with the above in mind. Click here to check out our comment policy. Thanks!


No copyright infringement is intended, all rights to True Blood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images appearing here were originally found.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I don't know who you think you are, but before July is through, I wanna talk equal rights with you!

"I ought to post something about this", I remember telling my mom after she finished reading a piece on it being high time to honor our foremothers and pass the Equal Rights Amendment by Newsday opinion columnist Janus Adams to me over the phone on the Friday before the 4th of July.

By the time we got on the phone, the crickets were already humming in the grass and the sun had dipped low on the horizon. I was hurried, getting ready to take off for a trip upstate to the Lake George area to spend the long weekend with my in-laws. I knew we had to shove off in about two hours or so, and my mind was preoccupied.

Stomping around in the cramped confines of my laundry room with the phone balanced precariously on my shoulder, I was rooting through piles of folded wash for enough clean underwear to pack for the next three days and thinking about how best to avoid the crush of holiday traffic when Mom asked if I had time to hear an article she planned to tape to the fridge.

She does that, you know. A lot. Taping stuff to the fridge, that is. Her refrigerator is like a veritable billboard; gone are the scribbles and macaroni mosaics that decorated it when we were kids, replaced by political cartoons clipped from the paper, magnets that share the varied causes and ideas she supports, and lovely artwork accompanied by philosophical or spiritual mantras reminding her - and us - of who she is and what she believes. It's like a personal - or family, really, mission statement.

The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree - you should see my fridge! But I digress...

Mom wanted to read me something she planned to include as part of the rotating exhibit of refrigerator wisdom in the hopes of sparking a family conversation around the gendered politics of Independence Day that weekend, and I knew it behooved me to listen.

She had me at the first sentence, "As we celebrate our Declaration of Independence this holiday weekend, a triumph of history, let's pause to consider our herstory" [emphasis mine].

Also the author of Sister Days: 365 Inspired Moments in African-American Women's History, Adams highlighted Democratic NYS Rep. Carolyn Maloney's efforts to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment. It's been four decades since Congress passed this constitutional amendment enshrining the equality of rights under the law not to be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of gender - and three decades since its defeat, three states shy of the 38 needed to ratify it within 10 years.

The struggle for women's rights in the U.S. has been long and hard. Adams traced its history to March of 1776, when another female Adams - Abigail - chided her husband John to "remember the Ladies", following it through to the present day and the recent Supreme Court dismissal of a massive class-action gender discrimination suit against retail giant Walmart. In this context, she asked, "What of the rights of women?".

According to Adams, we here in 2011 are far from 1848 (the year of the Women's Rights Convention and its platform, "A Declaration of Sentiments," that exposed "a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman."). But not far enough.

Invoking the liberatory legacy of the Seneca Falls convention the Female Anti-Slavery Society, of Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and of the unsung women - black and white - who defied slavery and refused to be silenced or deterred by white abolitionist men who thought they had no place in the movement, Adams called for the passing of the ERA.

Here’s the True Blood connection: the as-yet unratified Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is the capstone for the gender-blind laws liberal feminism has historically fought for which, according to the eminent Professor of Social Work Mimi Abramovitz (1996), include the right to vote, to enter the market, the receive an education, to own property, and to control their own bodies, to earn equal wages, etc.

As we wrote on our Feminism-With-A-Twist! page, the ERA (along with other equal rights and civil rights legislation of the past) seems to serve as the model for True Blood's Vampire Rights Amendment (VRA); the campaign for which has come recently to a highly contentious and divisive head with the string of reactionary anti-vampire terrorism touched off after King Russell Edgington "went Medieval" on TV.

By ripping out the spine of a news anchor and speechifying about the evils of humanity and the "true face of Vampire" before a television audience of millions, the King of Mississippi virtually nuked the American Vampire League's, as he called it, "precious VRA".

Check out this hilarious (yet educational!) AVL "children's outreach program" video promoting the VRA:

According to the True Blood Wiki, the VRA is a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that if approved and ratified would extend equal rights to vampires, creating parity with humans. The American Vampire League is the main supporter of the bill; there is also some support in the Senate.

Did you know there was a pro-VRA rally in D.C. in 2008?

Yes, it was part of the viral marketing campaign launched on the website BloodCopy, but it did more than generate interest for the show; it actually helps set its sociopolitical tone.

The Wiki continues that the VRA has received strong opposition from freshman "Congressman David Finch" (remember him from S1, smoking weed with Lafayette after their paid-for "date"?) and other conservative elected officials and organizations such as the Fellowship of the Sun. The main fear of the opposition is that recognizing equal rights for vampires would lead to the "vampirization" of America.

Under the law as it presently stands, vampires do have certain rights:

  • Vampires are able to own not only their own homes, but open-to-the-public businesses as well; for example, Eric & Pam own Fangtasia
  • They can marry IN SOME STATES ONLY, paralleling the limitations for under the Defense of Marriage Act

Vampires also have their own hotels, such as the Hotel Carmilla in Dallas, which caters to vampires, as well as their own airline, Anubis Air, equipped with specialty coffins for flight. Remember these from Season 2? While these niche busineses necessarily provide for the special needs of vampires, they also raise the spectre of "separate but equal".

Now, anti-vampire sentiment seems at an all-time high. I remember seeing some tell-tale graffiti scrawled across a brick wall in an early Season 4 episode, "Save a friend, kill a vampire". In her Newsday piece Adams recalls that in 1838, so opposed were pro-slavers to the activities of the Female Anti-Slavery Society (started by black woman and, by that time, joined by white abolitionist women) that rioters - emboldened by the blind eye of the police - torched the group's Pennsylvania Hall convention site and stoned the fleeing women. A similar fate for vampires seems possible in light of the threat posed by Marnie, possessed as she is by the spirit of a 17th century witch who was burned at the stake and is seeking retribution against the undead for her torment at the hands of a few of their numbers centuries ago.

Would there be public outcry if she caused scores of vampires to walk into the sun? Or would the public feel that the uppity undead - audacious in their quest for equal rights with humans - had gotten what they deserved; the true death? 

True Blood's VRA plot line acknowledges the inequality and stratification of contemporary U.S. society as well as the challenges of partisan politics (hello, debt ceiling talks) and making social and political change. We’ll see if Nan Flanagan can muster a political solution or if the legislation – and the AVL - are dead in the water. 

Tears of resonance are moistening my eyes; writing this post (like gazing at Mom's refrigerator) been an exercise in remembering what really matters, what's important, and what we must continue to fight for. I feel reinvigorated in my commitment to anti-oppression work and ever grateful to my mom for sowing its seeds in me - and for being there to water, fertilize, prune, and trellis my plant of social justice as it's grown and matured, branching out in many directions.

Thanks, Mom.

And Vive la Fridge!

~ Rachel

Abramovitz, M. (1996). Regulating the lives of women: Social welfare policy from colonial times to the present. Boston, MA: South End Press.    

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