This post came about because I read a scornful review by Neal Justin about The Red Tent, a Lifetime mini-series based on a novel by Anita Diamant about Jacob’s (from the Bible) only daughter. What really struck me is why was a man reviewing this obviously female-oriented series in the first place? How can a man possibly understand what female’s have to endure? Well, it was quite obvious that this man had no clue.
The Rent Tent is about Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob. She is only given one line of mention in the Bible. No surprise there. The female’s of Jacob’s tribe, his many wives and their daughters, meet in the red tent during their monthly bleeding and when someone is giving birth, which happened quite often then. The red tent is more than just a place where “its club members gossip like desperate housewives.” But I wouldn’t expect a man to understand. It’s a place where women can bond and share stories handed down from their mothers, where they can go for comfort in dealing with what women had to endure in a time when life was difficult for females, when they were treated like livestock, when they were nothing but a piece of property.
Another quote from the review that bothered me is: “No matter how much you try to beef up the role of the Genesis gals their stories have a hard time living up to the trials and tribulations of Jacob and his favorite son, Joseph.” Really? Is this guy serious? I’d like to see him try to give birth without modern medicine (most women died giving birth in that time period) or be treated like property by a father and then by a husband, to live in constant fear of being sold into slavery or to an abusive husband, of having no control over his destiny. Or how would he like to live in constant fear of being killed for not pleasing a father or husband and have the killers go unpunished because that was the law—women had no rights. Zero rights. How is that for trials and tribulations?
I did agree with one of his comments in the review, which was “It’s a fairly safe bet to say “The Red Tent” won’t be screened at Sunday schools.” Yeah, and you know why? Because no one wants to point out the reality of life as a woman in Biblical times: women weren’t just treated like livestock, they were treated much worse, and this mistreatment came at the hands of the men who are the heroes of the Bible and who the male reviewer places on a pedestal. I applaud author Anita Diamant, for giving a voice to these beautiful, courageous women who are barely mentioned in the Bible. They deserve much more than that.
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author