I typically start watching a show years after it debuts, and then catch up in binge-watching bursts. True Blood is no different, so while Season 5 is new and fresh for me, it actually aired two years ago. As someone who enjoys thinking critically about religion, this season really stood out for me because a main plotline was the role of religion in the vampire community. The show posits a sort of vampire ethnic religion, complete with scriptures and its very own divinity, Lilith. The name “Lilith” has been given to approximately three bajillion various characters in genre media, but Lilith on True Blood was pretty specifically delineated. She is an ancient being who blurs the lines between messiah and deity, worshipped by a segment of the vampire population who call themselves Sanguinistas. After the jump, I’ll get more in detail about the rich religious parallels this season offered. Major spoilers for Seasons 5 and 6 of True Blood.
The sad tragedy of storytelling is that many of our old myths, legends, and fables are built off sexist tropes and ideologies. The sexy vixen, the wicked witch, and the damsel in distress are all classic tropes in storytelling that have been ingrained so heavily in our culture that the everyday person can easily pick them out and identify them. These narratives that so often portray women as weak or evil are especially harmful when we continue to indoctrinate future generations with these sexist tales.
Can we ever undo what these past stories have done to women? Sadly, probably not, but perhaps we can lessen the effects by re-telling and re-interpreting these same stories from a feminist perspective. The advantage here is that writers can take tried and true narratives and characters that people already like, and then make them more complex. The characters and plots of the original stories are often stereotypes or flat, archetypal characters. Reinterpreting these stories with more complexity has the benefit of causing people to like them more than the original by updating them for a modern audience.
There are many stories that have been reinterpreted over the years through a feminist lens, like Cinderella (Ever After), many of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Once Upon a Time, Fables, etc.) and many more, but there are so many other stories that need a feminist revamp. So here are five stories that I would love to see get a feminist makeover for a contemporary audience.