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, September 25, 2011

ALL THAT & A VAMPIRE JUICE BOX!!! Our Season 4 finale party

Who needs the bag of chips when you've got an anatomically correct human organ as part of your fiesta...

Just for fun, I give you -



Held at my house, it was a kitchy Halloween-themed fête with a very different vibe than our much more formal True Blood Season 4 premiere party; which we have yet to share photos from!

Don't despair, they're coming...accompanied by some TB-derived viewpoints on being open or closed to the worlds and experiences of the Other..but that's for another post.

For now, you're welcome to step vicariously into our world of goofy finale party fun...but don't get too crazy, or your invitation may be revoked!!!

As you'll see, we take our feminist analysis of social issues in True Blood mighty seriously here at the PPT, but we also know how to cut loose and have a good time.  

Oh, and credit to Rebecca for supplying the vampire juice boxes; Eric would be so proud!

Eric's got his juice box... 

...and we've got ours!

the dessert spread, artfully staged

mmm...Halloween candy!!!

a taste of the Adirondacks...drink local, act global!

pumpkin spice brew masterfully poured into cinnamon and sugar-rimmed
Merlotte's pint glasses by bartender extraordinaire Rebecca!

Too bad you couldn't join us, maybe next time!

What did you do for the Season 4 finale? Anything that can trump our Eric-approved sippy cups? Please share below.

Yours in TB withdrawal...
~ Rachel    

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ginger and Pam & The Power of Female Friendship

The late radical feminist philosopher, academic and theologian Mary Daly espoused the controversial idea that women's primary loyalties should be to other women.

Seeing phallocracy as the root cause of "rapism, racism, gynocide, genocide, and ultimate biocide" (p. 203), she urged women to drop their ties to all patriarchally created groups and tribes, including ethnic, religious, and national identifications and to cleave to their bonds with each other.

Allowing that women (for example, slave-holding women) have often expressed unspeakable cruelty to each other, she understood this cruelty as a function of the patriarchal "soul molding sado-institutions" (p. 203) we are socialized into that enable our oppression of other women, that desensitize and dissociate "the woman who has 'power' from her more oppressed sister" (p. 202).

While Daly's view that women's primary loyalties should be to other women is disputed by other feminist thinkers who, while sharing Daly's commitment to women, also affirm other loyalties, her work does point to the importance of female relationships and friendships.

Although in her essay "Be-Friending: Weaving Contexts, Creating Atmospheres" Daly wrote, "I do not mean to suggest that every woman, or even every feminist, can 'be friend to' or 'be friends with' every other woman" (p. 199) she did envision, in stark contrast to the hair-pulling, eye-gouging state of perpetual and allegedly natural female rivalry hyped by reality TV, "the creation of an atmosphere in which women are enabled to be friends".

Imagine that.

Imagine that it might be possible for women whose existences couldn't seem more divergent from one another's to become friends.

Women like Ginger and Pam.

Oftentimes it seems that Ginger is Pam's only true friend in the world; and a dedicated friend she is.

In Pam's moment of anguish over the loss of Eric who is seemingly the single most significant figure in her life, it was Ginger who braved her wrath and offered her comfort.

And although Pam's cutting words and tone warned Ginger to back off, the vampire was in desperate need of the solace Ginger's simple embrace offered; the human woman remained steadfast and held her boss close despite her fear. Like the hug Holly asked for from Andy, it was just what Pam needed, and ultimately she realized this and accepted it.

Ginger has always been there for Pam; a woman who despite her extreme femininity could be characterized as an Athena woman - a woman born of man (she was made by Eric) who, like Joan of Arc, or Queen Elizabeth I seems "constitutionally born for a man's world" (Ward, 2006, p.127). An archetype described by Carl Jung as "a man who is accidentally a woman" (Ward, 2006, p. 127). Pam's sexual attraction to and preference for female partners does not necessarily translate into an appreciation of and desire for friendship and mutuality in platonic relationships with other women.

Is Ginger a participant of sorts in in what Daly saw as the process of Be-Friending; a metapatterning in personal relationships, in political activity, in a work or theory or art, in spiritual understanding, or all of the above that makes our friendships possible? That allows us to break through the rancor society fosters between us to invent new ways of living and being? That helps us accept our own femaleness?

Ward writes of the misogyny of Athena. Can Ginger's olive branch of friendship open the Athenian Pam to the power of female friendship?

I hope so.

~ Rachel  


Daly, M. (1989). "Be-Friending". In Plaskow, J. & Christ, C. (Eds.) Weaving the Visions. (pp. 199-207). San Francisco, CA: Harper.

Ward, T. (2006). Savage Breast. New York, NY: O Books. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Women Setting Boundaries in True Blood S4 Finale

WOW. I mean, really, WOW. There's so much that can be said about the unreal True Blood S4 finale that aired this past Sunday, "And When I Die".

Multiple viewings of it may in fact be truly hazardous to your health!

Case in point: I crashed at Rebecca's house on Tuesday night, and we decided to re-watch the episode together. Just as the opening credits began, our brother pulled into the driveway and we shot each other looks acknowledging the fact that as soon as he came in the door and realized we were watching it AGAIN, he might just kill us!

You see, Johnny's a fan of the show too, but for him watching each episode once is enough. And when he comes in from work, he likes to relax in front of the tube and decompress. So as the key turned in the door we braced ourselves and when we heard him in the hallway, we both grimaced and Rebecca almost timidly called out, "hey man" to test his mood. 

Luckily for us, his shift had been good and he was feeling benevolent. Striding up the stairs, he caught the strains of Bad Things rising and joked, "third time's the charm, huh?" before briefly taking inventory of the fridge and descending back down the stairs to his room.

Whew, close call. We were now free to watch "And When I Die" yet again, and although each of us had already seen it at least once (we viewed the finale together late Sunday night and Rebecca had re-watched the next day and taken notes), we were both still feeling the effects of the fangover and attempting the process the show's dizzying chain of events. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, so much happened during the finale that we could discuss here at the PPT. But since the Web has been abuzz for several days with recaps, reflections, and questions concerning the central action, I'd like to address a subtly nuanced theme of female empowerment nestled within the episode's dizzing action.  

Easy to overlook in light of the general craziness of the S4 finale, this theme is made evident in the pattern of several female characters drawing boundaries for themselves in their relationships that emerged during the course of the show, particularly in relation to Sookie, Jessica, Luna & Holly.

Rebecca and I started to flesh out our ideas on this topic on Tuesday night.

When the episode ended, we joked a little about how I had, in a moment of denial that the season had actually come to its conclusion on Sunday night, told her "no, we've got to see the coming attractions" when she lifted the remote to switch the station. Rebecca had astutely pointed out on Sunday that there would be no trailers for next week and that I'd have to face the fact that a sobering nine months of True Blood withdrawal stretched out like a barren wasteland before us.

Maybe a little over-dramatic, but true nonetheless.

So we laughed a little about that again, and Rebecca quickly turned our attention to an article she had read online that pointed out how, in her two-way break up with Eric and Bill, Sookie has actually chosen herself.

Although leaving without either of them in her life caused she and both her lovers great heartache, Sookie realized - perhaps due in part to the poignant words of her dearly departed Gran's spirit - that being alone is nothing to be afraid of.

And that maybe the best thing for her to do instead of trying to choose between Bill and Eric was to take some time to discover and get to know herself, outside of a relationship. Although shocked and deeply hurt, both vampires respected Sookie's wishes enough (at least for now) to let her go.

Similarly, during her sexy Halloween night tryst with Jason, Jessica verbalized her own sense that she is just barely getting to know herself.

Jessica is Rebecca's favorite female character for the reason that she feels the baby vamp displays the most real, believable [human] emotion. Sorry Sookie - Rebecca's words, not mine ;-) but I don't disagree.

Despite their strong mutual attraction and genuine caring towards one another, Jessica was brave and authentic enough to draw a mid-coitus line in the sand, telling Jason that she did not want to be his girlfriend. It's not that she doesn't want him; she's simply not ready to commit to him yet because she recognizes her inexperience in relationships and she doesn't want to hurt Jason the way Hoyt ended up hurt when they broke up.

In this scene, Jessica asserted herself as a sexual woman and vampire who is beginning to know what she wants and needs and isn't afraid to articulate that to the man in her life. And for his part, Jason was understanding and accepting of Jessica's reticence to jump into a committed relationship with him or to be intimate enough with him to drink his blood; as Jessica said, at least not yet.

Luna, too, put the breaks on a close encounter that could have heated up into quite the romantic night for she and Sam.

Not because she's not ready to stay the night with Sam or for them to be an official item (although that may well the be the case), but because she felt her baby girl Emma may not be. Luna and Sam both displayed the emotional maturity required to take their budding relationship slow; let's hope the snarling wolf that confronted Sam just as the van carrying Luna and Emma home drove up the Merlotte's driveway towards the parish road and out of view doesn't put the permanent brakes on this promising couple!

Last but not least, we've got fairy-costumed Holly, who, despite (or maybe because of) her mental and physical exhaustion brought on by the drama of the night had the gumption to tell it like it is to a persistent, Halloween bouquet-toting Andy Bellefleur.

Here's the dialogue courtesy of Television Without Pity

Andy: "Sorry about the last time, when I took your flowers."
Holly: "That's okay, you were nervous."
Andy: "No, I was a drug addict. V. thought I needed it to do the job, and to talk pretty ladies like you... So I didn't feel like a loser all the time. It worked for a while, then it didn't."
Holly, wearily: "Okay look, honey. You're really sweet and everything, but this is all just too much for me right now."
Andy: "It's no problem. Lot of baggage, I get it. I just wanted to say that I'm sober and I'm lonely. And I can be good to someone if they let me. 'Night."

After taking in and weighing what he had to say, Holly asked Sheriff Andy for a much-needed hug, which I think may have been balm for both their souls. I look forward to seeing what will come next for these two, and if the kind of "rigorous honesty" the tragically doomed Debbie Pelt had talked about having with Alcide might prevail for both of them; given their respective pasts (Holly as a survivor of sexual assault and Andy as a recovering addict) should they become involved.

Now, the above is not to suggest that self-actualization and being in relationship are mutually exclusive. In fact, as the introduction to the section on self-in-relation in the book Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality asserts, the idea of self as relational is prominent in feminist thinking.

The concept of the relational self has not caught on in the traditions of dominant Euro-Western philosophy and theology in which Descartes's' vision of the self as essentially rational, disembodied, and solitary holds sway. From this perspective, it is easy to see how relationships could be seen as detrimental to the growth and development of the self - especially for women - whose stereotyped roles as nurturers and caregivers of others threaten to swallow us alive.

Another vision of the self suggests that we are by nature embodied, passionaterelational, and communal. Many feminist adhering to this viewpoint stress that identity is found in community. Black womanist theologian Delores S. Williams coined the term "relational interdependence" to name Black women's struggles for freedom from racist and sexist stereotypes within the context of relationships, family, and community. In this view, women's independence is relational.

There is no you without me; no me without you. The self is forged in relationship.

Even so, drawing healthy boundaries for the relationships that structure our lives and bind us to others is necessary, and it's refreshing to see the women of True Blood taking these steps - and their men responding in kind!

Yours in TB withdrawal...

~ Rachel

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Some more thoughts on Pam & the (postmodern) veil

So as far as we know of, Pam is still cursed, right?

In her desperation to prevent a world without Bill in it, Sookie's amped-up fairie power knocked the spell right out of the attacking amnesia Eric, restoring him to his former Viking god state with his memories of his entire life - both human and vampire - up until the present intact.

Rebecca thinks this is a nod to the exceeding complexity of a woman's psyche; with a snap of Sookie's microwave fingers Eric has recovered his "true" self , but for Pam, a solution is not so simple.

Because although Pam has looked none the worse for wear since undergoing Dr. Ludwig's unconventional full body spa treatment and a painful series of daily injections administered by the dizzy-but-stalwart Ginger, she continues to rot from the inside-out.

When she's been on the receiving end of the lady vamp's rage, Tara's made it all too clear that Pam's putrefying innards continue to emit a horrific smell despite her back-to-glamour-puss appearance.

And (high maintenance) glamour-puss Pam is! In my last post on this topic, Pam's Taken the Veil, I referenced The Vault interview "Kristin Bauer talks about her 'face-off' in which the actress remarks that Pam's predicament is an intolerable affront to her vanity: "Having her skin peel off in ribbons of goo is a massive blow for Pam".

She's a woman whose priorities include Eric and her appearance, not always in that order. Putting her face on is a deeply embedded part of who she is.

Remember when Bill tried to suggest that perhaps there was a cosmetic solution to her plight; that maybe a little more lipstick might help?

Now, although for the most part I try my best to remain non-partisan here at the PPT, I admit that I love Bill with the best of the Team Bill girls. But come on, Bill, seriously? How clueless can you be? A little extra make-up is not going to solve a problem that runs far more than skin deep, and to suggest that it might smacks a smidgen too much of the dismissive recommendations male medical practitioners and others have made for ages when it comes to "female ailments".

For example, there's Sigmund Freud's notoriously biased and inadequate understanding of women whose perspectives formed the once-common diagnosis of female hysteria in which a woman's unmanageable emotional excesses (or maybe her wandering uterus, since according to Plato and others down the line, female psychology and biology are ruled by the reproductive system) was to blame for her ills. Feeling weepy and irritating the men in your life? You must be PMSing, or maybe you're on the rag - pop a pill and get over it. Crass, I know, but I'm fairly certain that most women have been blown off with such patronizing comments when they're facing legitimate life challenges that extend beyond that time of the month.

I found an interesting take on the idea of Pam taking the veil that actually relates to her penchant for make-up, and Bill's tragically (but typical guy?) misinformed impression that a little extra lipstick might help her situation.

An article on veiling entitled Some thoughts on the Veil appears on Max Dashu's Suppressed Histories Archives. It's in her confronting oppression section on taming the female body and it addresses some fascinating topics like the gender and class implications of veiling from a historical perspective far older than Islam - which is, aside from the communion and bridal veils common in Western culture, what most people think of when it comes to the practice. 

It also raises some interesting points about make-up as a post-modern veil, citing its near-compulsory use in certain contexts (like shielding Pam's disfigured face from the innocent gaze of hapless onlookers who should not have to be exposed to such female monstrosity?).

Here's an excerpt from the article, which picks up after the mention of the compulsory use of make-up:
It remains so in the workplace, at the employer's whim, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court in 2000. The judges upheld the firing of Darlene Jesperson, a longtime bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, for refusing new requirements that women wear lipstick, face powder and mascara on the job. This court decision also allows employers to dictate dress, hair length, and other grooming decisions for their employees. These strictures have special ramifications for African-American women; employers often bar them from wearing their hair in natural and cultural styles (or simply refuse to hire them).
Here the rationale of enforcement is economic; in the Iranian context, it is religious. There, both the state and the family act as enforcers. Posters in Tehran explain that "Bad hijab [incomplete covering of hair] is equal to prostitution. Lack of hijab means lack of man's manhood." With these kinds of controls in place, lipstick looks like freedom to many Iranian women...
...which the article goes on to state has been scraped off the faces of Muslim women with a razor blade.

Damned if we do and damned it we don't, huh? What do you think of this catch-22? I wear make-up, and I won't stop wearing it because of the perspective offered in this article (which I do encourage you to read) but the idea of make-up as a post-modern veil has certainly occurred to me before.

This taps into related debates about cosmetic surgery, advertising culture, the cult of beauty, whose beauty is beautiful, etc. You can never be too young, too rich, and too thin, right?

Please share your thoughts on this!

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed that Pam's curse is lifted before the Season 4 it 9 yet!?!

~ Rachel