Monday, July 20, 2009

'True Blood' and female sexuality  


As an avid True Blood watcher, I had to read James Brady Ryan's piece on AlterNet, entitled "Rough Sex With Vampires: What Does 'True Blood' Tell Us About Women and Sexuality?"

To talk about True Blood is to talk about sex: barely a scene goes by without something between innuendo and a full-on orgy. This isn’t new to vampire fiction, as Latoya Peterson pointed out in a piece for Double X. That the sexuality of the female leads is under heavy scrutiny is no surprise, given how much horror fiction has centered on feminine helplessness. To Peterson, the current crop of pointy-toothed dramas continues the genre’s fascination with sexual violence and the idealization of the chaste woman. I can’t fault her for taking issue with eroticized depictions of abuse, often against women. But she’s wrong to equate the sexual politics of True Blood with those of the abstinent, repressed Twilight.

It's extremely important to keep analyzing and criticizing how women are portrayed in mainstream media; it is undeniable that what is seen on TV, read in magazines, and heard in songs greatly influences public opinion and the stereotypes individuals hold. True Blood, quite frankly, isn't perfect when it comes to portrayal of its woman characters. There is a minuscule amount of female vampires, and the few that are shown are often overtly evil and manipulative. Additionally, the show's main vampire, Vampire Bill, states on more than one occasion that he "owns" Sookie. However, to put it bluntly, Sookie is a tough bitch, and can take care of herself with or without her vampire keeper.

Has anyone else seen this show? If so, offer your two cents please!

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6 comments: to “ 'True Blood' and female sexuality

  • July 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM  

    I actually wrote a post about vampires (focusing on True Blood, Buffy, and Twilight) and how female sexuality is portrayed. I found that the majority of the main vampires in these popular vampire series are men, showing that women's sexuality (because vamps are all about sex) is not wild and untamed like the male vamps.

    You can find my post here:

  • July 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

    Very interesting post!

  • July 23, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

    It's so interesting to see how female sexuality is portrayed in vampire novels/movies. "Dracula" is loaded with ideas of female sexuality. I do watch True Blood, but I find it hard to like Bill. I find him so controlling. I know he does "own" her (by the rules of vampire novels/movies), but I just can't stand the idea. I think I watch the show because I admire what a tough character Sookie is and how she doesn't always listen to Bill, but his attitude towards her and that red headed vamp Jessica always gets under my skin. I know it's the "vampire" way but it doesn't help portray females in a positive light.

  • July 25, 2009 at 8:49 AM  

    I haven't thought about the roles of the men and women in this series really that much yet. Although it does kind of seem like Bill does own Sookie, you do have to remember that Bill is portrayed as an "old-timer", still having the morals and attitude of the Civil War-era culture he grew up in; also yes, Sookie is very very independent. Theres also Miriam (or is it Maryann), who does completely control that waiter-dude at her house (in addition to everyone else when she has parties and makes their eyes turn black and whatever).

    Something I found uplifting, from a feminist standpoint anyways, was the physical character of the women in this show. Both of the female leads are not the stereotyped ideal for women- Sookie, while being very lovely, has a gentle figure and is not huge-chested, while Tara is quite muscular (I'm quite jealous, lol). In fact, the only two very sexual female characters in this show are the two evil ones- Miriam, who is some kind of monster, and that lady who leads the vampire-killing church.

    I watch this show too much :o

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