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December 29, 2016

Mid Morning Open Thread: Grrl Power Edition

Giuliano Bugiardini - Judith and Holofernes.jpg
Judith and Holofernes
Giuliano Bugiardini

The story of Judith and Holofernes appears in the Book of Judith, which is generally relegated to the Apocrypha by Protestants and Jews, but the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics consider it canonical.

Judith is a beautiful woman who is who is upset with her fellow Jews for not trusting God to deliver them from the Assyrians. So, pretending to be an Israelite deserter, she uses her beauty to charm her way into the tent of Holofernes, the on-site CiC of the Assyrian forces. He is smitten with her beauty and, after a few days, invites her to a banquet, hoping to get lucky. Spoiler: he doesn't. He drinks "more wine than he had ever drunk at one time in his whole life" (Judith 13:20), and passes out. After the other guests bid their adieus, Judith, with the help of her maidservant, removes Holofernes' own sword from the scabbard and use it to take his head clean off. This allows the Israelites to defeat the Assyrians.

There are numerous paintings that take up the theme of Judith and Holofernes (see, for example, here, here, here, and here). I was surprised at how many of the artists painted Judith either topless or naked. I guess they think that she did a little more to get Gen. Holofernes to lower his guard than flash a winning smile. However, there's little or no indication of this in the text. Judith is a pious Jewish woman, not Mata Hari.

(naturally, mild NSFW warnings on those links for tasteful noods. Mostly. One of them pushes the boundary a bit)

You can read the story of Judith and Holofernes online, starting here. A painting of Judith by a modern artist is below the fold.

Claudia Rush - Judith Cutting Off the Head of Holofernes_525.jpg

Judith Cutting Off the Head of Holofernes
Claudia Rush

It occured to me when I saw these paintings that this sounds like a pretty good grrl power story. Too bad modern feminists are so aggressively ignorant, most of them have never heard of it. Another drawback is that Judith is presented as godly and humble, qualities inimical to feminists. The story of Judith even sounds half-way plausible, unlike modern TV shows and movies where 135 lb. women regularly outrun, outjump and outfight Navy SEALs.

Because showing men as physically stronger or athletically superior to women is Wrong.

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posted by OregonMuse at 10:00 AM

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