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.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pam's Taken the Veil

So Pam's taken the veil.

And last night, she was hiding under a blanket to evade Eric's gaze when they were thrown in King Bill's subterranean slammer together.

Did she really have much of a choice?

Ever the style maven, last week's Pam—dressed in funerary black lace with a heavy veil covering her decaying face (“Even when her face is putrefying, she comes up with an outfit for putrefying,” Kristen Bauer van Straten remarked in an interview posted to The Vault)—had to deal with the aftermath of a spell cast on her by possessed witch Marnie that has caused her immortal vampire body to rot.

And this week, it's only gotten worse!

I found it interesting that HBO on Demand's description of last Sunday's episode, Me and the Devil, makes mention of this fact with the phrase, "Pam takes the veil".

What's so intriguing about this verbiage? defines this term as the life or vows of a nun.

And when I think of  becoming a nun, one of the first mental pictures that comes to mind is that of a woman retreating from the world and hiding (or being confined) behind the imposing walls of the convent.

Let's take a look at's definition of veil:

1. A length of cloth worn by women over the head, shoulders, and often the face.
2. A length of netting attached to a woman's hat or habit, worn for decoration or to protect the head and face.
3. The part of a nun's headdress that frames the face and falls over the shoulders.
a. A piece of light fabric hung to separate or conceal what is behind it; a curtain.
b. Something that conceals, separates, or screens like a curtain: a veil of secrecy.
v. veiled, veil·ing, veils
1. To cover with or as if with a veil: Dense fog veiled the bridge.
2. To conceal or disguise.

One word in particular is repeated over and over: conceal.

This is significant because it speaks to what a woman must do when her beauty is marred. She must hide, separate, screen herself off. As The Vault interview "Kristin Bauer talks about her 'face-off' states, "Having her skin peel off in ribbons of goo is a massive blow for Pam"; an affront to her vanity.

And for a woman whose priorities include Eric and her appearance (not always in that order), this presents quite the predicament.

Pam: "I can put up with a lot, but fuck with my face and it's time to die!" S4E5 Me and the Devil

To understand why this fate is worse for Pam than, say, her maker's would be, let's take a moment to consider the core difference between the spells the possessed Marnie cast on both vampires.

The spell cast on Eric wiped clean his mind, that part of the self envisaged in Cartesian dualism as being characteristically male. The one cast on Pam disfigured her body, that which is associated with the female; the second-mentioned and therefore lesser valued of the male/female pair of lhierarchical dualisms.

Applying this framework of gendered hierarchical dualisms, the biblical Adam is revealed as a soul type, while Eve is of the flesh (Stone, 1976). In Christian theology, it was asserted that women must become more "like a man" (more "rational" and "spiritual" than is her "nature") to come into relationship with God, who was envisaged as masculine.

Feminist scholar Carol Christ writes that according to poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich, such views have made the body "so problematic for women that it often seemed easier to shrug if off and travel as a disembodied spirit" (1997, p. 148). If only it were so easy for Pam; if only she could escape the prison of her rotting flesh like her ghostly harasser Antonia has. But there can be no such simple solution for Pam. As a woman, she is, as Rich writes, controlled by being lashed to her body - "the carnal flesh to which the elevated mind is shackled" (Sanchez-Grant, 2008, p. 78).

As Sanchez-Grant writes, if the mind is allied with culture and reason, it follows that the body is associated with all that is "other"; if woman is inextricably associated with the body, and the body is regarded as inferior to the mind - then surely woman is the inferior Other.

This theme has run through several of my last posts.

That's why the curse Marnie (under Antonia's influence) uttered, "Corrupt unsanctified corpse who walks behold your true self" is so torturous for Pam; for woman, dualism insists that the body is the true self, the essentialized ground of our being.

Under this logic, had the spell beset Pam's mind as the one cast on Eric did, it wouldn't be so bad.

This sexist construction of gender holds that the [feminine] body is entirely separate from the true inner self.

Intriguingly, under the witch's magic, amnesia Eric has become more endearing - he's playful, gentle, contrite for past offenses; he openly displays emotion and seems perhaps more his authentic self.

You know something? The more I think about it, maybe in his current state amnesia Eric is even more than his authentic self. He seems transcendent, self-sacrificing. Godric-like, even.

And he gets the girl, since he is more attractive to Sookie than when he is cold, cruel and calculating, swaggering "real" Eric.

While it's true that he must hide in Sookie's house for fear his vulnerable state may make him an easy target for anyone gunning for him (i.e. the witches, Bill, etc.) Pam must truly hide behind a mourning shroud - lamenting the death of her "true" self since the face a woman shows the world is how she is judged.

This connects to Sam Trammell's uneasiness at his character's yelling "damn, you're ugly" at a female bar patron as he crashed into Merlotte's fresh off his bender; hung over, agitated, and over-the-top belligerent. In my post on Dragon * Con 2010 I noted that it seemed Mr. Trammell sensed the egregiousness of assailing a woman's appearance, since aside from impugning her sexuality (i.e. labelling her as promiscuous, a whore, a "dyke", etc.) it's is one of the most cutting attacks someone can level at a female in our culture.

And here's a (depressing) dose of reality: Nearly half of men questioned in a recent poll of 70,000 people said they would ditch a partner who gained weight, compared to only 20 percent of women. Talk about how the body "feeds" identity, how a woman's "corporeal experience" influences her overall experience (Sanchez-Grant, 2008)!

Pam's own maker has made constant reference to how he could never harm Sookie because she is so beautiful. Where you suprised that in last night's I Wish I Was the Moon Eric recoiled only slightly from Pam, that he didn't all-out reject her ruined visage?

She has become the dreaded Rotting Goddess.

Hecate, She who repels. "A hideous hag and flesh-eating ghoul, her skin pallid and decaying, her robes a shroud...the repository for all the dark and fearsome forces of the feminine divine" (Ward, 2006, pp. 152-153).

She is Rot. Ooze and decay may have no place in the life of the disembodied [rational, male] mind, yet the messiness of birth, sex, and death - the cycle of embodied life - refuses to disappear. This is Hecate's realm. To exhume Her is to face the death aspect of the Goddess and the fusion of need and fear She arouses.

According to Ward (2006), the fear we projected of the Rotting Goddess onto witches long ago we now put onto ordinary women. He writes:
I get a flicker of something vile when I contemplate the image of the Rotting Goddess. She viscerally repels me, yet draws me, as if she holds a secret for me inside her fetid mouth, a flicker of truth about men's revulsion towards feminine flesh. I remember a friend of mine - he was only in high school at the time, and yet he understood this all too well - he told me he had found an easy way to break up with a girlfriend after he no longer wanted to be with her. When they started making out he said he would keep his eyes open, and he would just examine her, as if through a microscope. He would stare at the glistening pores, pimples, blackheads, the creases, hairs, erupting moles and folded skin. He would feel nauseated, and that would be the end of his attraction for her. In my 20s, in India and Thailand, I learned Buddhist techniques for eliminating sexual desire that followed much the same course. I was instructed to imagine a woman's body split up into five heaps of skin, nails, hair, teeth and internal organs, or to visualize a woman as nothing but sacks of blood and pus and shit. Feel sexual desire for that? Thus men learn that it is to treat women like dirt (as matter, not Mater) and break their spell over us.

Perhaps, in her current spellbound state, Pam can teach us about how men at large have been socialized to see women.


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

Sanchez-Grant (2008).  The Female Body in Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman and Lady Oracle. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 9, #2, 77-92

Ward, T. (2006). Savage breast: One man’s search for the goddess. New York: O Books.

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