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.

Feminism with a Twist!


or at least a primer on our version of it...

Let's talk about what we mean when we say we're bringing a uniquely feminist perspective to our analysis and discourse around True Blood...

...THIS AIN'T YOUR GRANDMA'S FEMINISM...OR MAYBE IT IS...(we don't know her, but tell her to drop by, we'd love to chat over tea and gain the wisdom of her perspective!)

Point being that our feminist frame of reference doesn't neatly fit within the dated and negative confines of feminism as most people think of it.  

So what exactly do we mean by feminist? We're not talking about female superiority or separatism here; nor are we suggesting replacing patriarchy with matriarchy, or just plain hatin' on men. Our approach to feminism is for women AND men alike!

As daughters of the third wave we know that we've got to move beyond the parameters of both liberal and radical feminism which, according to eminent Professor of Social Work Mimi Abramovitz (1996), can be summarized by their major tenets, respectively:

  • accepts liberal political theory but argues that its practice excludes women through the denial of equal rights and differential treatment based on gender without regard to individual wishes, interests, abilities, or merits; this interferes with women's free pursuit of self-interest constrains their economic opportunities, and deprives them of full political participation
  •  sees blocked opportunities, the denial of rights, and sex discrimination as the keys to women's oppression

  • historically fought for equality under the law including 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. [The capstone for these gender-blind laws is the as-yet unratified Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which 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]. 

  • political goals include improvements in public programs serving women and expansion of the welfare state to combat the "feminization of poverty"

  • relies heavily on the state to incorporate women fully into mainstream contemporary society without directly challenging it

  • points to the domination of women by men as the main cause of women's oppression which manifests in male control of institutional arrangements - and women's bodies and lives - through patriarchy; illuminates patriarchal perspectives previously tacitly accepted as part of  "the way things are"

  • posits that women are viewed as "Other" by the prevailing patriarchal society

  • focuses primarily on the private sphere and gender domination of women's reproductive capacity, sexuality, mothering, family life, interpersonal relationships, and culture; "the personal is political"

  • spotlights male violence against women (rape, incest, domestic violence, pornography), homophobia, and sexual politics at home and on the job

While these perspectives have built a foundation for feminist discourse and action in today's society and we have seen many gains as a result of them, these frames of reference also have limitations that we must expand beyond, including:

  • liberal feminism's commitment to work within the system instead of changing it (NOT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT!)

  • radical feminism's biological explanation of the gender division of labor, it's tendency to universalize the female experience, to posit the moral superiority of women, and to focus nearly all its attention on the private and personal spheres of life which can be seen as biological determinism, ignoring differences of race, class, and ethnicity among women, and divorcing its understanding of patriarchy from other features of the political landscape and economy (ALSO NOT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT!)

Our uniquely feminist perspective is a tapestry woven from the most valuable threads of the feminist movements of the past; we have rejected the strings that lead to a totalizing, biologically deterministic view of womanhood and the feminine which excludes or minimizes diversity and that advocates our retreat to an alternative women's culture instead of working to reform and revolutionize mainstream culture.

Since feminism has traditionally (and regrettably) excluded or sidelined the voices of women of color, we welcome, seek to hear, and fully include Womanist and Mujerista voices and other diverse  perspectives so we can try to redress the imbalance of Eurocentrism and Western orientation that prevails in our culture.  

On a related note, we also wish to correct for the heterosexist, classist, abelist, and other biases that contribute to the lopsidedness of the dominant discourse. 

For us, feminism is not a restrictive political label with often negative connotations; rather, it is a worldview that, amongst other things:

  • Holds a critical frame (a social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it) that explores issues of power dynamics, privilege, rights, and representation

  • Affirms the marriage of action and reflection; the sacrifice of action leads to impotent verbalism and the sacrifice of reflection results in hollow, diminished activism. Changing self is part of changing the world. This conveys the sense that inner development and outer-oriented action, and personal and social change are connected and critical for making the world a better place

  • Valorizes what Carol Gilligan, theorist of moral development, describes as "women’s ways of knowing, or women’s knowledge" which recognizes intuitive and embodied modes of learning and expression, and emotional intelligence, as being equal adjuncts of the rational mode and that includes “the ethic of care” or “the response mode” to moral conflicts. In this mode, conflicts are resolved through dialogue:

...questioning, listening, responding to everyone’s concerns is seen as the way to bring about lasting and satisfying solutions to moral predicaments. Resolutions are reached through conversation, storytelling, and perspective sharing. One works especially hard to understand and present the perspective of those who are incapable of articulating their own thoughts well. This approach is questioning rather than assertive. Decisions are always changing because people and circumstances keep changing (Belenky & Stanton, 2000, p. 79).  

  • Rejects hierarchical Cartesian dualisms (i.e male/female, mind/body, thinking/feeling, technology/art, etc.) in which the former is seen as being superior to the later - or frames the former as the normal, default setting and the later as something divergent or less-than. In this way we challenge androcentric thinking in which any awareness of a distinction between maleness and humanity is clouded over, and femaleness is viewed as an exception to the norm (Gross, 1996). Think about how often the pronoun 'he" is used to describe everything from the stray cat in the alley, to God, to the human race as "mankind", to the driver who just cut you off but you couldn't see "his" face - the assumption of maleness or default use of the generic masculine when gender is unknown points to what I'm talking about here.   

  • Reincorporates the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions

  • Espouses another vision of our realty has been set forth in the last century through systems thinking; a “new” way of thinking in terms of connectedness, relationships, and context that recalls the worldviews of indigenous and ancient Goddess-oriented civilizations.  Quantum physics in which subatomic particles are not seen as “things” but as interconnections among things; Gestalt psychology which is characterized by its “hunger for wholeness” that sees the existence of irreducible wholes as a key component of perception (Capra, 1997) and deep ecology which as seeks to expand the notion of self beyond the confines of the ego and personal history, and to extend concepts of self-interest to include the welfare of all beings (Macy, 1991) are part of the systems thinking zeitgeist that our feminist perspective embraces.

  • Calls for the restoration of a healthy balance of masculine and feminine influence, recognizes that women's liberation cannot be separate from the liberation of ALL, and advocates a shift from the dominant conqueror paradigm to a nurturer paradigm (Russell, 1990).

Just as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King recognized that his fight for Civil Rights had to be couched within the movement for broader human rights and that it must tackle the interconnected triple menaces of poverty, racism, and militarism in order to be truly emancipatory; just as he realized that (contrary to the opinions of his detractors) peace and civil rights DID mix and that never again could he "raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government" in regard to the war in Vietnam, our brand of feminism takes a holistic view that reaches beyond "women's issues" to embrace a broader vision of social justice and how to attain it. 

As self-styled "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet," Audre Lorde famously wrote,  "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" (read her whole essay in this book). Our feminist vision embraces the concept that we must change the ideas with which we think and forward the work of paradigm change.

There are many interrelated approaches we look to in order to accomplish this including:

  • transformative learning, which according to Schugurensky (2002) is predicated upon the notions of challenging taken-for-granted assumptions, creating spaces for open dialogue and developing critical perspectives.
  • the culture of peace, which Goodman (2002, p. 187) suggests is deeply connected to transformative learning since both concepts:

involve and appreciate complexity and intricacy, relationship, and interconnection. In both, context and meaning are seen as fundamental and multilayer notions of the context: global, local, and personal–and the interconnections between them are recognized. Each articulates the need for fundamental changes in values, attitudes, and behaviors, to critique oppressive structures and to develop alternatives. Diversity is valued in both. Also key to both concepts is the notion of a shift of consciousness.
Like the culture of peace our unique feminist perspective also opposes the culture of war, a dominant paradigm of today which is characterized by such factors as power defined as violence, authoritarian decision making, male dominance, secrecy and manipulation of information, exploitation, and the image of “Other” as enemy (Goodman, 2002). By embracing a culture of peace we oppose and seek to interrogate rape culture in all its forms, not least of which being the "dick-thing" masculinity which feminist sociologist and activist bell hooks (1994) describes as men's sense of their license - indeed, their gendered birthright - to talk tough and get rough which is heavily ingrained in all forms of popular culture.

  • radical educator Paulo Freire's (2006) "pedagogy of the oppressed": for any educational system to be a midwife of transformation, it must stop serving the needs of the oppressor and perpetuating the prevailing paradigm. Belenky and Stanton (2000, p. 92) discuss the term “midwife-teacher” which was coined to describe “educators who see their students as active constructors of knowledge and work hard to draw out their best thinking.” Midwife-teachers support their students’ thinking but do not think for them or expect the students to think as they do. Midwife-teachers help student deliver their knowledge to the world, and they use their own knowledge to put students into conversation with other voices–past and present–in the culture.

This is a major goal of The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern, which is driven by the feminist impulse for egalitarian and open discourse as a potent means through which to transform societyRather than seeking to cement epistemologies (a person's roots and paths of knowledge), a goal that we share with the pedegogy of the oppressed is to help lubricate epistemologies; to challenge the dominant societal structures and offer a model for relationships that places emphasis on thinking for oneself, searching, seeking, challenging the status quo and questioning–all these things run counter to the ethos of social control.

As feminist thinkers we use certain methods that are in line with our values, like:

  • Voice-centered, relational approaches which uplift the central role of stories in human communication. One of the clearest channels for learning bout people's world is through the stories they tell about their lives and their experienced realities. Narratives provide us with access to people's identity and personality; in both facets of content and form they are people's identities. We need to hear women's stories, told from their perspectives and in their voices, along with men's in order to have a fuller, rounder vision of the human experience. 

  • deep listening: an approach to mindful and compassionate listening for deepened understanding that acknowledges but doesn't judge differences and truly conveys your presence to another; this tends to go against the cultural grain. 

  • exploration of supressed histories through approaches like archaeomythology: a term coined by pioneering archaeologist Marija Gimbutas that refers to the scope of multidisciplinary study encompassing archaeology, methology, comparative relisions, linguistics, folklore, history, art history (particularly sacred art depicting the Divine Feminine), archetypal symbolism, and more that explores women's and men's roles in pre-history and history across Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, the ancient Near East and Middle East and Australia. 

So that's the essence of our uniquely feminist perspective; we hope this page has given you enough of a taste of the lens we're focusing on True Blood within this space to give you it's flavor!

Any thoughts? Questions? Feel free to share them...that's what The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is all about!


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

Belenky, M. F. & Stanton, A. V. (2000). Inequality, development, and connected knowing. In J. Mezirow (Ed.) Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress (pp. 71-102). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Capra, F. (1996). The web of life: A new scientific understanding of living systems. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.

Freire, P. (2006). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th anniv. ed.). New York, NY: Continuum.

Goodman, A. (2002). Transformative learning and cultures of peace. In E. V. O’Sullivan, A. Morrell, & M. O’Connor (Eds.), Expanding the boundaries of transformative learning: Essays on theory and praxis (pp. 185-198). New York, NY: Palgrave.

Gross, R. M. (1996). Feminism and religion: An introduction. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

hooks, b. (1994) Outlaw culture: Resisting representations. New York, NY: Routledge

Macy, J. (1991). Mutual causality in Buddhism and general systems theory: The dharma of natural systems. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Russell, J. S. (1990). The evolution of an ecofeminist. In I. Diamond & G. F. Orenstein (Eds.), Reweaving the world: The mergence of ecofeminism. (pp. 223-230) San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.   

Schugurensky, D. (2002). Transformative learning and transformative politics: The pedagological dimension of participatory democracy and social action. In E. V. O’Sullivan, A. Morrell, & M. O’Connor (Eds.), Expanding the boundaries of transformative learning: Essays on theory and praxis (pp. 59-76) New York, NY: Palgrave.