Gumption: Sookie Stackhouse

“True blood” premiered its 4th Season on Sunday so this week’s gumption post is about Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic waitress and vampire lover in Bon Temps, Louisiana.  Trust me, I question why I like Sookie’s character so much when she is pretty much the opposite of who I am.  Am I fetishizing the fact that she lives in the south, loves to clean and goes each day to the same job she’s had forever? Having worked in the service industry during university I understand how hard she works and the annoying customers she puts up with–this is in no way devaluing her reality and situation.

I like Sookie because she is different (maybe that’s what puts us in the same position?) and I enjoy True Blood in general because it pushes the boundaries of normative judgements about what is civilized, what love looks like and what is acceptable.  If you have not seen the show, it is set in a small Louisiana town called Bon Temps when vampires have “come out” and are now living within society along side civilians.  They even have a synthetic blood drink called “True Blood” where they no longer have to kill humans (though some still choose to) and are trying to integrate into communities.  Although it is against the law to discriminate against vampires, the policies don’t necessarily reflect the realities that they live through.  The vampire represents the “other” who has historically and are currently still being judged for their race, sex, creed, sexual orientation and religion.

As I have said, the show is made to test your boundaries which means that there’s often nudity, love between same-sex and heterosexual partners, gore and violence.  Lets just say that there’s a sexy-times scene at a graveyard when vampire Bill Compton has risen from the grave which is literally and figuratively dirty, or another scene involving a meat pie (I still say yuck).  It sure does “hurt so good.”  True Blood makes us observe how socially constructed norms structure our lives and how we can always work to break them down if we choose to.

Getting back to Sookie Stackhouse I admire that she thinks quick on her feet, is sassy like nobody’s business and makes the very best of what she’s got.  She couldn’t attend college because her telepathy made class very distracting but she still has her “word of the day” calendar to improve her vocabulary.  The fact that she’s being fought over by two vampires doesn’t hurt either.  By the way, I’m team Eric.

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