Things We Don’t Talk About – Healing Narrative from The Red Tent a film by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost on Holy Hormones Honey! February 13, 2012
Listen to the interview on KRFC FM – http://krfcfm.org – 6 to 7 pm MST.
Things We Don’t Talk About (Fall 2012) is a groundbreaking feature length documentary that shows how the Red Tent, a red fabric space is empowering women. The film documents the things women hide, the things that bring them pain and joy, and for many it is a place to be honest for the first time in their life. “Things We Don’t Talk About” seeks to humanize the stories in the red tent—to put a face on the space.
Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost is trained as both a filmmaker and as a textile historian. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Masters from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also currently pursuing her Ph.D. In addition to her educational experience, Isadora has owned and operated Soulful Media, her film production company since 2004 and has produced 12 films since she began. Isadora continues to be inspired by international travel and many of her films have led her to live in and travel in more than 18 countries.
“Things We Don’t Talk About” documents the stories of women reclaiming their sacredness, their truth and their voice as changers in the world. We are in a new era of history – the healing of ourselves and our planet will come from the women. This movie chronicles the voices of The Red Tent movement, one that is sweeping the world and signals the clarion call to all who envision a world built around cooperation rather than competition. A world we want to leave for our children, their children and stretching far into the future.
“Things We Don’t Talk About” shows Red Tent’s around the nation gifting women with an opportunity to remember, to listen, to know, and to discover what needs to be brought to our communities to help reawaken their voices. Bringing a Red Tent to a community is a cooperative effort. Women who participate in the Red Tent contribute in a variety of ways. Some design and assemble the Red Tent. Some make the food. Some are the shoulders to cry on. Others provide the financial backing that allows the experiences to continue. All give so that all will receive.
by Tracie Welser
Off Our Backs. Washington: 2007. Vol. 37, Iss. 2/3; pg. 41, 4 pgs
At gatherings and festivals, Red Tent facilitators offer intimate spaces for women to meet and discuss issues such as body image, self-acceptance and the sacred feminine.
WHEN ANITA DIAMANT’S NOVEL The Red Tent was first published in 1997, it didn’t cause much of a stir. According to Newsweek reviewer Susannah Meadows, thousands of copies of the imaginative story of a minor biblical character named Dinah lingered in warehouses after a lackluster debut. In a surprising move, the author herself began a campaign to enhance the book’s appeal: by word-of-mouth. Copies were sent to rabbis, female Christian ministers and independent booksellers. Within months, the book’s popularity soared, and reviewers began to take notice. Recently, the book hit several bestseller lists and was optioned for a film version. But what makes this book remarkable, in spite of reviews that characterize the book as melodramatic and revisionist, is the response of women around the world to the premise referred to in the novel’s title: the importance of creating women-only spaces.
The Red Tent is the retelling of events in the book of Genesis (chapter 34), of the family of Jacob and his wives, daughters and sons. As Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah is barely mentioned in the Bible, the victim of a rape avenged by her brothers. In Diamant’s retelling, Dinah is the narrator, allowing the reader to become acquainted with her as a central character rather than a secondary one. In a world of restrictive patriarchy, Dinah takes comfort and gains wisdom in the red tent, a refuge for women (and a required segregation from the company of men) during times of menses or childbirth.
Many Jewish and Christian women have embraced Diamant’s book; interestingly, a great number of women who see themselves as neither have also been captivated by the idea. As one reviewer, Christine Schoefer of New Moon Network magazine, prophetically noted, “I expect that reading this book will awaken in women the longing for a red tent and the wisdom that women shared there.” Although at least one rabbi has publicly stated that there is no proof this proto-feminist tradition ever existed in biblical times, and the author herself acknowledges that it is mostly her own creation, a number of Red Tent groups have formed based On the idea.
For feminists, the creation of women-only spaces is nothing new. But with the advent of this novel, a revived, larger and more mainstream acceptance of woman-space has become apparent, in the form of permanent spaces and organized meet-ups, virtual Red Tent groups, and mobile spaces arranged at festivals. These groups have manifested with differing modes and purposes: to share menstrual and birthing information, for spiritual reasons, for the purpose of activism, to simply provide a safe haven for women’s voices or a combination of these.