feminism

Painting Women from Judges – Part 3: The Sacred Account of the Levite’s Pîlegeš

This post was originally composed for and published on Feminism and Religion, http://feminismandreligion.com/2015/03/29/painting-women-from-judges-part-3-the-sacred-account-of-the-levites-pileges-by-melinda-bielas/

Reading the story of the Levite’s pîlegeš – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 19:1-20:7 – is unlike any other scholastic endeavor I have undertaken.1 The narrative is of a woman who leaves her husband’s house, only to be retrieved by her husband, gang raped on her way to his home, and dismembered upon arrival. This intense violence then escalates to the abduction and rape of more than 400 virgins and the death of many more (Judges 20-21). (more…)

Painting Women from Judges – Part 2: The Woman from Timnah Reframed

(This post was first shared on feminismandreligion.com)

The story of the woman from Timnah, Samson’s first wife – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 14:1-15:6 – is often interpreted as yet another wickedly seductive woman who distracts and confuses the heroic judge, preventing him from enacting the deity’s will. I remember the first time I questioned this interpretation: I was an undergraduate student teaching a youth bible study.I asked the high school students in the room what they thought about the Timnah woman and how we might understand the story differently if we read it from her perspective. Neither the students nor I had any idea how to answer these questions because we did not know how to see Samson as anything but a hero. (more…)

Painting Women from Judges – Part 1: Jephthah’s Reflective Daughter

This post was originally composed for and published on Feminism and Religion, http://feminismandreligion.com/2015/02/10/painting-women-from-judges-part-1-jephthahs-reflective-daughter-by-melinda-bielas/

The story of Jephthah’s daughter – found in the Hebrew Bible, Judges 11:29-40 – is a difficult story to read. The first time I read it, I was in my Christian high school Bible class and I could not understand why our teacher did not address the violence done by a father to his daughter. In my experience, Christians dismiss much of the violence done to women in the Hebrew Bible as evidence that ancient fathers, brothers, and husbands really did not care for their daughters, sisters, and wives. Since today men love the women in their lives, the ancient problem is no longer an issue, and we can continue with more pressing issues – or so the unspoken logic goes.

(more…)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

(This post was written by my good friend, Dr. Theresa Yugar, and was originally posted on her blog http://theresayugar.wordpress.com/tag/sor-juana-ines-de-la-cruz/. Check out her new book, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography and Text.)

The image that appears on the cover of the book was painted with intentionality and for the purpose of portraying Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in a new way unique to this book. Initial ideas were born in conversations between Theresa Yugar, the author, and her former student, Chicana feminist artist, Maria Ruiz, recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, while the illustration itself was born in a conversation with Christian feminist artist, Melinda Bielas of Claremont School of Theology. The creation of this image was feminist in its collaborative spirit.  (more…)

My Womb: A Creative Retelling of Genesis 2-4

Adam and EveIt had been one week since G*d[1] looked at creation and said that it was very good. Adam and I had spent the last week exploring the garden, it all was as G*d said, very good. It was the eve of our second Sabbath when G*d pulled me away from Adam for a talk. She[2] explained to me that while Adam was right, that we were of the same bone and flesh, that we were not the same. Adam’s flesh and my flesh were created differently so that we would learn to be unafraid of differences in others, but love those that were different from ourselves. Our differences in flesh were both very valuable, one no greater than the other. After she had explained how differences, fleshly or not, were valuable, she told me why my fleshly differences were indeed very good. G*d had given me a womb like hers.[3] (more…)

#WomenAgainstFeminism vs. Crazy Bra-Burners

tumblr #WomenAgainstFeministSo, the tumblr feed #WomenAgainstFeminism has been “a thing” for a little while now, and there have been some really good and really bad responses. (Here is one that I thought was one of the better ones, manyhorizons.com.) I personally do not have a problem with people who don’t agree with feminists, as long as they know which ones they disagree with and why. Feminism is such a huge conversation/movement with so many different views and arguments; to suggest you don’t need it because you “are happy in the kitchen” or “love your male relatives” is clearly a misunderstanding. (more…)

Men Who Like Flowers

men and flowersI currently work at a florist shop down the street from my school. When I started I thought it would be a great opportunity to change up my days of constant studying with bright happy flowers. But the florist life is not all sunny; we hear lots of sad stories from mourning customers. Believe it or not, working with flowers gives me the chance to think about some seemingly unrelated but important issues. (more…)

Waiting for Jesus… I mean, Superman

superman(This was originally posted on Feminism and Religion blog feminismandreligion.com)

I grew up in a white-middleclass-fundamentalist-Protestant community. As a result I learned to think of God as my Father, and Jesus as my savior, similar to the fairytale prince in shining armor or the ultimate boyfriend. As an undergraduate studying Religious Studies, I learned of other ways to relate to the Divine and discovered how to be a Feminist Christian. However, many women with backgrounds like mine do not have the (more…)