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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being a Virgin Forever

Ever since I saw the latest episode of True Blood on Monday, I have been thinking about how to approach the following issue. True Blood is one of my favorite shows on TV right now, but I'm sometimes confused about what message it intends to send on social issues, such as gay rights, racism, etc. So at the end of the latest episode, I wasn't quite sure what social commentary the show was trying to make with the situation between Jessica and Hoyt.

Here's what happened in case you don't follow True Blood as closely as I do: At the beginning of the episode, Hoyt and Jessica have sex for the first time (and it was both of their "first times" too since they were both "virgins"). At the end of the episode, Hoyt has taken Jessica back to Bon Temps as per Bill's orders. They start to have sex again, but Jessica makes him stop. It appears that because of vampire's regenerative qualities, her hymen regenerated since it was intact when she was made vampire. Jessica and Hoyt had very different reactions to the situation. Hoyt tried to soothe Jessica by saying that every time will be like their first time. To that, Jessica had this to say: "It'll hurt like hell! I'm a fucking deformity of nature. I'm going to be a virgin forever!"

I've beening trying to figure out for myself exactly what kind of commentary this plot line is intended to have (because I believe television, and especially shows like True Blood, is always consciously trying to make some form of commentary on society).

Jessica's "perma-virgin" status says a lot about how virginity is viewed. Virginity is a much more complex concept than just whether or not you've had sex, like many people believe (see the blog The American Virgin). As we can see with Jessica, who has had sex yet said that she'll "be a virgin forever" because her hymen will always re-grow, virginity is not a cut-and-dry issue.

Jessica Valenti wrote in her book The Purity Myth that "virginity" doesn't acutally exist. The idea of virginity can mean many things to different people. I think that Jessica's "perma-virgin" status is trying to bring light to this issue. And even if it wasn't intended, it does a good job at shedding light on it.

So does hymen = virginity? How do you define virginity?

Further Reading:
Born-Again Virgins, Vampire Style [The American Virgin]

9 comments:

Trixie said...

Virginity exists to commodify women by those who seek to control them.

It's interesting with Jessica because when she found out she was a vampire, she was thrilled that now she could do anything she wanted.

So it's a fascinating twist that although she can have all the sex she wants, it's apparently going to be painful and bloody every time. Punished in life, punished in un-death.

My post on this: http://tinyurl.com/pwobfz

Dark Jedi Tallulah Kidd said...

I was slightly disturbed by Hoyt's reaction to her eternal virginity. He really scored didn't he? It will be difficult for sex to be pleasurable for Jessica forever, yet he appears to rejoice in the fact that he gets to "take her virginity" every time they are intimate.
I was watching the show with my male friend and he was just delighted for Hoyt's lucky fortune.

Trixie said...

I can't beleive guys think this is cool...

Hoyt: It'll be beautiful. Every time will be like our first time.

Jessica: It'll hurt like hell! I'm a fucking deformity of nature. I'm going to be a virgin forever!"

K said...

That sounds pretty awful.

Perhaps Jessica would be interested in exploring different kinds of sex besides PIV intercourse?

Or perhaps she and Hoyt could, actually take steps to make it more comfortable for her? Maybe it won't have to hurt each time.

Anonymous said...

As soon as this scene happened, I thought, "Why, True Blood writers? Why?" Anyone could see that this was clearly fan-boy fodder - Jessica is young and cute, and this plot point, in my opinion, was put in to increase her popularity with male viewers, to make her into some kind of unreal fantasy. What's really messed up about it is that it glorifies "virgin" status, and increases the already unrealistic expectations that some men have around women's sexuality. I actually found this to be a really relate-able moment, as a sufferer of vulvodynia, but I know it wasn't intended for me, it was intended for others.

Renee said...

I was very disturbed with Hoyts commentary because it treats Jessica's body as a conquest and a possession. I don't know how they can possibly fix it.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to stop surfing while having dinner.
That anyone could think it is acceptable to hurt another person just to make their anatomy fit yours...Please.
If there is any actual danger of such an injury, why aren't young girls informed on how to make sure it won't happen, before they ever meet the guy they want to enter that new world with? There must be a way, and educators that take pride in being progressive, liberated or whatever, need to start telling the young what it is.
Folks that like that kinky stuff, now, that's not my business, but it belongs tween consenting adults. Not kids.

Lauren said...

I think Hoyt definitely redeemed himself this week, for a couple of reasons:

1) He tells Jessica that there are other ways to have sex besides intercourse when they talk about what to do.

2) He calls out his mother for all the hate she has in her, both at home and in Merlotte's.

I think Hoyt really grew up a lot in these past 2 or 3 episodes, though I think it's fair to say that his initial reaction to Jessica's situation was definitely poor. However, he was also able to rethink and come up with a positive solution, and in my mind that's a good thing.

Laura said...

Lauren,

I think Hoyt redeemed himself in this week's episode as well. I actually kind of like him as a character now...I'm going to write a post about it actually, so stay tuned!

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