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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not 'cause some mean man shoves you in a shed and says you got to...

Jason's Hot Shot ordeal was absolutely horrific.

In Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body, editors David Morgan and Sue Scott write, "Historically, women have been defined by their 'biological potentiality' (1993, p. 11). Indeed, the same could be said of Jason's recent predicament - strapped down to a filthy cot and forced to be Ghost Daddy stud to the females of the compound, each one having been programmed to obediently and dutifully fulfill her "reproductive destiny" (Sanchez-Grant, 2008, p. 78).

Crystal to Jason, "I got a duty to my kinfolk to propagate the bloodline" S4E2 You Smell Like Dinner

Becky to Jason, “Uncle Felton says I'm old enough and you'd better give me a cub!” S4E4 I'm Alive and On Fire

Bound and nearly helpless himself, Jason was valiant in his determination to have the young Becky spared from such a debasing and dehumanizing fate, displaying the generosity of spirit his captor Crystal lauded him for earlier.

To recap:

Jason, horrified upon seeing Becky approach him from the rear of the breeding shed, shouts out to anyone in earshot: “Oh no, hey she's just a little girl!”. 

Old man Luthor, looking in, yells: "Never you mind, breed Ghost Daddy, breed."

Jason tries to reason with Becky, whose sense of duty to her clan and overriding fear of Felton compelled her to take her place on the breeding line: 

Jason:  “You ever do sex before?”
Becky: “Sure, lots of times...No, but I ain’t scared.”
Jason: “This ain’t the way it should be, your first time. It should be special. With a boy you really like, who brings you presents and candy.”
Becky: “Boys do that?!”
Jason: “They sure do. And, hey, you make love with him cause it’s the right time. Not ‘cause some mean man shoves you in a shed and say you gotta.”

Becky: “I don’t wanna do this with you, I don’t wanna do this at all.”
Jason: “Then cut me loose.”

And she does, exhibiting the bravery and decency that not a one of her kinfolk would, or could. But not before Jason's and many of the women of Hot Shot's bodies were bent to the will of others; their spirits trampled, their humanity utterly violated.

Jason was undoubtedly used, abused, and traumatized at Hot Shot, but so too were the women in the breeding line. The women queuing up to be recepticals for Ghost Daddy's seed have been been manipulated, bullied and exploited by their men; forced to do the bidding of a small number (perhaps only one, truly - Felton) who sit atop the werepanther social heap.

Here's an interesting angle on this.

In their article "'Katrina That Bitch!' Hegemonic Representations of Women's Sexuality on Hurricane Katrina Souvenir T-Shirts", Kris Macomber, Christine Mallison and Elizabeth Seale (2011, p. 529)point out that within the framework of androcentric cultural production, far more derogatory terms exist in English for women than for men [and] sexual slang terms that insult men often simultaneously insult women (e.g. son of a bitch). Applied to the context of the Hot Shot breeding mill, a torment that insults and injures a man also insults and injures many women.

Take for instance the woman who, grunting in frustration as she rides an unwilling Jason, works in vain to reach the orgasm she has been denied her entire married life.

Jason: “Come on now...Get off me!"
Woman: “I ain’t done yet.”
He repeats it, shouting and rocking from side to side, unbalancing her so she is forced off. She starts crying.
Jason: “I don’t know why you’re crying, I’m the one what getting raped.”
Woman: “My brother husband, he just bites the back of my neck, and he holds me down 'til it’s over. You’re the best I ever had.
She pads off, slumping as she yells, “Next!”

Heartbreaking. Jason's rape is unforgivable, but so is the tragedy of a woman's sexuality blunted; pleasurable physical intimacy and the warmth of a loving relationship denied her.

Where does healing begin? For Jason, maybe through the bonds of friendship. In Sunday's episode we witnessed Jason share his pain and suffering with Hoyt. His openness is surprising - but encouraging - given that statistics show male survivors of sexual assault or intimate partner violence are slow to report such crimes or even talk about them at all when their attacker is female. I'm guessing few men [and boys] relish the thought of being re-traumatized, as they will likely be shamed and made to feel less of a man for being victimized by a female. For the women of Hot Shot, now under the paw of Crystal "Big Mama Kitty" Norris, who knows... 

On a larger, systems level, we've got to recognize that sexual violence and exploitation is deeply entwined with the prevailing culture of violence; the ethos of domination. As feminist scholar Carol Christ (1997, p. 158) writes:

To transform the cycle of violence, we must proceed simultaneously on several levels: We must change ourselves and our intimate relationships, especially those with our children, we must transform the deepest values of our culture, and we must reconstruct our social institutions.
We need sweeping paradigmatic change, and it it really does start with us - our own ways of thinking and being, the way we move through the world. Integral thinkers agree that the point at which to leverage the greatest potential for change within a system is at the level of mindset.

When a show like True Blood presents - or perhaps the better word is confronts us - with images of that which is abhorrent, (i.e. Jason's ordeal), it can catalyze within its audience deeper reflection upon the way things are and get us to think and talk about how they might be different. And, maybe unseat some taken-for-granted assumptions and habits of mind along the way. Not a bad place to start, if you ask me!       

Transcription credits: Fangs, Wands & Fairydust

~ Rachel


Christ, C. (1997). Rebirth of the Goddess. New York: Routledge.

Macomber, K. Mallinson, C. & Seale, E. (2011). "'Katrina That Bitch!' Representations of Women's Sexuality on Hurricane Katrina Souvenir T-Shirts". The Journal of Popular Culture. (525-544). Vol. 44, #3.

Morgan, D. & Scott, S. (1993).  "Bodies in a Social Landscape. In Body Matters: Essays on the Sociology of the Body by Morgan, D. & Scott, S. (Eds.). pp. 1-22, London: The Falmer Press.

Sanchez-Grant, S. (2008). The Female Body in Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman and Lady Oracle. Journal of International Women's Studies, Vol. 9, #2.

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