Hey, don’t say you couldn’t anticipate this one coming. It’s one of the first things I complained about on my profile.
Now, of course, most people know that I’m running the St. Eric contest – more determined than anything to try to change some of the crap that I read that is overly romantic guff all about Eric. While I have no illusions that it’ll be the new internet sensation, I do so hope that it’s a bitchslap to cut it the fuck out and increase the amount of non-perfect Eric I read. Plus, I have gotten to express my own thoughts on the whole stupid perfect Eric phenomenon with visuals, which is good because writing the example fic took months and almost killed me. Every time I read something stupid, I’d paste it into my file and then counter it. I gave others an outlet to express their frustration, and now I have a section of people I’ll be more amenable to helping with fics. That’s what I count as a raging success for me, and I hope to read maybe a couple more from stragglers, but as it is, I’m sure I’ll still have plenty to bitch about.
Every so often I see things in fanfic and think “Wow, that’s a radical interpretation of the text” and wonder if logic and reading skills had been deployed. There are a few of them that percolate under the surface each time I read them, so I made a new tag just for them, because they’re really looking at the text of the book and examining where some of these things come from. (Pssst…if you go to my user info you can now search by word here – I needed it, so you got it). But they’ll mainly be shorter complaints about some of those themes. Sometimes I can tie themes together, but I don’t need to save internet paper.
One of those is, can you guess? Virginity and its importance in fanfic, to the point that vampires can smell it.
There is one single line that could be construed for the reasoning behind vampires loving virgin blood as a special treat – and it made its way into True Blood. Here it is in context:
“Guess we heard wrong, Diane.” The female vampire cocked her head and
gave me a long look. “I’m not sure. She looks like a virgin to me.”
I didn’t think Diane was talking hymens. Dead Until Dark, p. 66
Not even Sookie thinks she’s talking hymens, and indeed, Diane isn’t. Notice that Diane in the books says “looks like”. Diane is referring to the fact that Sookie has no bite marks on her. You know – like extra virgin olive oil – the very first pressing of the olives that produces the best oil. The food analogy has far more to do with it than the sexual context, but some dumb arse somewhere decided it was sexual without ever thinking that vamps think of humans as food.
Diane says the same thing in True Blood. Of course, on True Blood it’s taken further, and Diane tells her that virgin blood tastes better. Diane still says she “looks” like a virgin. But it’s absolutely questionable that you can tell a sexual virgin by either looking at them or smelling them, or that Diane was in fact referring to sexual purity – but rather that first rush of fear and the unbitten frightened victim. I challenge anyone to tell a virgin by looking at them. If that was the case, then hymen reconstruction (see where the stupidity of sexual worth has lead us) would not work, because you can just “tell” by looking at a woman her sexual status.
Supernatural creatures don’t value virgins as a whole. They’re barely falling in line with the whole Christian monogamy dealio. In Dead and Gone, Sookie’s fae relative is horrified to find out that Sookie is Christian, and Niall certainly doesn’t worry about his great granddaughter sleeping with numerous men – he even gives her Preston as a present for Christmas. Eric’s not all up in Bill’s face about how he got to Sookie first – as Sookie says in Club Dead that Eric watches Bill do Sookie’s hair with “the air of one taking notes”. It can’t be denied that Eric learned a lot by letting Bill make a whole bunch of mistakes, and then not doing them. He learned not to take off to chase after other humans if there was a crisis for one.
Who should we look to for purity in the books? Pam with her wide ranging tastes in the area of sex? Amelia with Bob and experimentation? Sophie Anne with Andre, Hadley and possibly Peter Threadgill? Quinn who discusses his ex-girlfriends and not being able to talk to them about shifting? Alcide and his packmaster contests? Sam and the Maenad? Jason, Felton, Crystal? Seriously – the sexual interminglings in the books are high. The only person ever a virgin was Sookie – and that’s the one thing she was desperate to lose. She doesn’t talk about it as if it’s a gift that she’ll bestow. Nope, this is how Sookie approaches the idea of being a virgin:
that I’d want to have sex with was not actually human. My telepathy
limited my options severely. I could have had sex just to have it, sure;
but I had waited to have sex I could actually enjoy. “ Dead Until Dark, p. 59
See how I cleverly avoided the whole “Bill took advantage of Sookie after her Gran died” – because that wasn’t a concern. Sookie was already thinking about having sex with Bill after their first kiss. The whole “Bill stole her virginity when she was vulnerable” stuff is a crock of shit borne of wishful fan thinking. After all, Bill actually talks Eric up before Bill has a chance for what’s supposed to be a valuable virgin he’s smelling.
There are huge actual drawbacks, even if you ignore this. There is no blood test for virginity, and the hymen is not made of special material – it’s no different to the rest of the vagina. It’s not even genetically identical in every single woman – it can be thick or thin, can be destroyed by tampons or vigorous activity. Historically, women were sometimes considered virgins until they’d given vaginal birth (and if they had caesareans could still be called “virgins”).
Not only that, but if they’re good enough to smell a hymen, then they should be smelling all that Hep D in their victims, and it’s not a problem…except it is. It also doesn’t make sense to bite a virgin at the height of sex. She’s been penetrated by that stage and she’s not technically a virgin any more, now, is she? Why the hell vampires would go out of their way to deliberately destroy such perfect blood when they can have sex with lots of non-virgins is beyond me. Keep the virgins for eating, and the rest of the people for fucking. But biting someone that first time – that only happens the once – and I can imagine vampire relishing the first time with all its struggle and less complacence.
The underpinning value here is that virgins taste better because only dirty mucky women have sex. I don’t believe that CH, rape victim, is really going to write such a thing. Nor do I think that’s the message she wants to send to real life sexually abused children – after all – she doesn’t have Sookie shrug that off as if it’s nothing. I certainly don’t think that virginity is some sort of gift – the only thing of value about a woman is her sexual purity – not her brains, talent, personality, compassion – just one thin bit of skin and some pain.