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.
As a fairytale enthusiast, I could not help but watch Into the Woods, as soon as feasibly possible. I was both very pleased and very surprised.
The greatest aspect of stories is their affect on how we understand ourselves, our relationships, and our environment. For example, Beauty and the Beast was my first princess Disney movie and I identified with Belle’s search for an adventure much of my life. Because I felt a connection with Belle; I saw myself through her portrayal, considered many of my relationships to be similar to those she had with the town people; and thought of my small, tight-knit community as similar to hers. (more…)