For every woman who is desperate to tell her real story, but, for whatever reason, “can’t” under her own name.
In Dinah’s name, we’re about to get very real, and tell the truth, some of us for the very first time.
Most women have heard of The Red Tent because they read the bookby Anita Diamant, published in 1997. It depicted the Red Tent as the physical space women used as a menstrual hut. The story, provided a fictional feminist retelling of “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34), which was biblically recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant, gave a voice to Dinah as well as other women. We at Beyond The Red Tent have no religious affiliation nor expectation. We do honor the idea of women gathering in the “Red Tent”, virtually and in person. Diamant shared through her book the value of women sharing wisdom through generations, in stories and in voice.
Throughout history, the experiences of women have been usurped, re-written, glossed over, minimized, demonized, ignored, or told without consent.
Often by men. Sometimes by other women.
Rarely, a woman has risen above, taken hold of her life and her narrative in her own two hands, and told her story in her own words.
This is one of the things most powerful about The Red Tent. For the first time, the “rape of Dinah” was told from a place of her own personal transformation and power, as if Dinah, herself, had risen from the mists of time to set the record straight, once and for all. Her retelling tipped history on it’s head and returned the power to Dinah and all women.
Are you ready to start telling your own story? Even the raw, vulnerable, messy, difficult, culturally unacceptable, deeply personal, and revolutionary parts?
Do you struggle with how to do that, how to “come clean” and be authentic in your journey when so many people might be hurt, offended, or just plain shocked by the reality of “you?”
Do you have a story you’re ready to tell?
Only one person will ever know your name, and once she’s confirmed your submission, all records of you will be deleted forever and your story will become Dinah’s.
Dinah's stories include tales of:
We all have stories to tell. The stories that make us and break us. If you've never had a chance to tell yours, if you are afraid of telling it, if your power has been taken away in shaping the narrative because someone else has been telling it for you, if you're tired of keeping silent and keeping secrets, if you're ready to be known... even by another name... NOW IS YOUR TIME.
Dinah is your voice.
You are welcome. You are loved. Your story is valued. And your privacy will be protected and honored.
“We have been lost to each other for so long. My name means nothing to you. My memory is dust. This is not your fault, or mine. The chain connecting mother to daughter was broken and the word past to the keeping of men, who had no way of knowing. This is why I became a footnote, my story a brief detour between the well-known history of my father, Jacob, and the celebrated chronicle of Joseph, my brother. On those rare occasions when I was remembered, it was as a victim. Near the beginning of your holy book, there is a passage that seems to say I was raped and continues with the bloody tale of how my honor was avenged….
No one recalled my skill as a midwife, or the songs I sang, or the bread I baked for my insatiable brothers. Nothing remained except a few mangled details about those weeks in Shachem.
There was far more to tell. Had I been asked to speak of it, I would’ve begun with the story of the generation that raised me, which is the only place to begin. If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully. Stories about food show a strong connection. Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business. The more a daughter knows the details of her mother’s life – without flinching or whining – the stronger the daughter....
But the other reason women went to daughters was to keep their memories alive. Sons did not hear their mother stories after weaning. So I was the one. My mother and my mother aunties told me and with stories about themselves. No matter what their hands were doing – holding babies, cooking, spinning, weaving- they filled my ears.
In the ruddy shade of the red tent, the menstrual tent, they ran their fingers through my curls, repeating the escapades of their youth, the sagas of their childbirth. Their stories were like offerings of hope and strength poured out before the queen of heaven, only these gifts were not for any god or goddess - but for me.
I can still feel how my mothers loved me. I have cherished their love always. It sustained me. It kept me alive. Even after I left the, and even now, so long after their deaths, I am comforted by their memory….
And now you come to me-.... you come hungry for the story that was lost. You crave words to fill the great silence that swallowed me, and my mothers, and my grandmothers before then….
I am so grateful that you have come. I will pour out everything inside me so you may leave this table satisfied and fortified. Blessings on your eyes. Blessings on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you. My heart is a ladle of sweet water, brimming over.”
Diamant, Anita. The Red Tent. New York :Picador USA, 1997. Print.