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Rewriting the Salome Tale  -  from a Feminist Perspective


The King fancied Salome (alot) so he requested the pleasure of her dancing abilities for his amusement.  Salome thinking about how to escape this embarrassment with her dancing girl brain on, thought for a while and then prompted by the rebellious friends she had, suggested that she would dance willingly, if, and only if (think of an impossible and unlikely task) he would bring her the head of John the Baptist.  Being sure he would not do such a thing merely for the sake of seeing her dance.  The King was very pleased, this is what he had wanted all along, to decapitate this attractive and intelligent and powerful rival who held the crowd spellbound with his religious views.  Imagine the horror and the dismay of Salome when she finds the deed is done.  No escape, and massive guilt.  The King of course being the King takes no blame for it and gets to see Salome writhe.  AAARgh.  Run away and vomit.  However Aubrey Beardsley later on (disliking women for turning him down perpetually) creates a 'feminist' reading by showing Salome as a powerful and evil seductress who desires the head of a corpseless man.  Thus creating a visual icon which (witch) disturbs men into disliking women and causes women to think there is something to be gained in decapitating men.  Such is the patriarchal nature of re-writing the history written by men thorugh which women are disadvantaged whether powerful or not.  I can speak to people one to one.  If a man or another man approaches then I either shut up, look as if by default I am a girlfriend of one of them and must be submissive therefore (even though this is not true) or have to leave (thus leaving them to gossip in my absence).  I am absolutely sure I am not the only woman who feels this way.  You know why?  Cos men talk without even being aware you are there once another man has entered the arena, you know why?  Cos they are competitive and want to be top dog.  It's a verbal territory thing.

I think what we have to look at is who rewrote the Jesus image a thousand years ago?  Jesus was two thousand years ago, and as the bible says (if we are to believe a mad reclusive misogynistic Monk, "when a thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and go on to deceive the nations.  What better or more cunning deceit than to masquerade as our hero and saviour?   The idea would be to turn the emphasis away from life after death and caring for one's soul and neighbour's wellbeing, and instead focus on guilt, pain and suffering.  Thus turning a light heart into a perversity of complication and difficulty.  That is what has happened afterall, so who is the figure sadistically nailed to a lump of wood that we worship?  Is it the 'World Tree' or the crossroads of anxious confusion that detains him in his pain?

And, while we consider his gift and suffering are we forgetting those who tirelessly struggle to make this world a better place for us now?

"Jesus died for your sins not mine" as the lyrics of a long forgotten punk song go.

Actually as Raphael might tell you, it is Psalm 85 reputed to be straight from the mouth of  Michael, Guardian Angel of Police forces.


"Lord, Thou wast favourable to Thy land; Thou didst restore the fortunes of Jacob.


Thou didst forgive the iniquity of Thy people;  Thou didst pardon all their sin.


Thou didst withdraw all Thy wrath; Thou didst turn from Thy hot anger.


Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away Thy indignation toward us !


Wilt Thou be angry with us for ever ?

Wilt Thou prolong Thy anger to all our generations?

Wilt Thou not revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?


Show us Thy steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation.


Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for She/He will speak peace to Her/His people, to Her/His saints, to those who turn to Her/Him in their hearts.


Surely Her/His salvation is at hand for those who revere Her/Him,

that glory may dwell in our land.


Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will embrace.


Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky


                                        Yay, the Lord will give what is good,

                                           and our land will yield its increase.


Righteousness will go before Her/Him (sing a hymn) and make footsteps . . ."

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