The Red Tent – a book by Anita Diamant

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The role and strength of women in a male-dominated society is the theme of this wonderful book, which is set in biblical times.  The red tent was a physical and spiritual place, where the women of the tribe (Jacob’s wives, servants and daughters) would rest while menstruating, but more importantly, it became a safe haven for feminist unity and companionship. In the red tent, women marked the passage to womanhood, celebrated the joys of pregnancy and experienced the pain of childbirth.   In close tribal communities, women tended to menstruate on the same schedule. The red tent was where they could be in their power together, undisturbed by their men and relieved of the chores of everyday life.The tent itself is rooted in an ancient Judeo-Christian-Islamic history of women’s gathering spaces. Women used to go to the red tent while they were giving birth or menstruating—they had to because the men in their communities feared contamination from these biological processes. Yet ultimately, the red tents became spaces where women went to learn from one another, to be part of a community, and above all, to celebrate life.  That’s the tradition we want to continue with the red tent party – empowering girls, empowering women.

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