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 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            

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