“When is your book going to come out?” I’ve learned that for an author, this question is akin to asking a pregnant woman past her due date: “You haven’t had that baby yet?”
I’m pleased to share that I’ve submitted the latest version of Women Rise Up to my publisher. And no, I still don’t have a publication date. Stay tuned for updates!
For the last three years I’ve journeyed alongside biblical women who found ways to resist oppression. Women like Hagar, Shiphrah, Puah, Hannah, and Mary. Even though I’ve turned in my draft, I (thankfully) can’t seem to get away from stories of women in the Bible.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Book of Esther and I wanted to share some of my reflections from the first chapter. To set the scene: King Ahasuerus throws a party for all the men of influence, instructing his servants to serve them as much alcohol as they want. Entitled and drunk on both power and wine, the king sends his seven eunuch servants to bring Queen Vashti to the party, not to join the festivities as his wife but to be ogled by a room of plastered men.
Undoubtedly Ahasuerus expects her to comply. “Make sure she wears her crown,” he says to the eunuchs on their way to fetch her. The crown is not a source of power for Vashti. It’s a chain that the king can yank at his pleasure. It’s a symbol of his ownership over her body.
But, Vashti is having none of it.
“Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command.” (vs. 12) Queen Vashti resists. We do not know how or why. All we know is that she does not turn up at the party as she was commanded to do.
The king is furious! He surrounds himself with advisors who tell him exactly what he wants to hear. “This is an offense not just to you, King Ahasuerus, but to all men! Now all of the women are going to rebel unless you send a clear message that this will not be tolerated.” A women’s resistance is coming.
Vashti may be dethroned and banished, but nothing can stop the revolution sparked by her actions.
This year I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs. I recently finished Britney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage and Rose McGowan’s Brave. Now I’m in the middle of Cecile Richards’s Make Trouble and Gabourey Sidibe’s This is Just My Face. All of these women share experiences of the punishing blowback they endured at the hands of the patriarchy when they refused to comply with its rules.
Their stories remind us that our resistance is not without consequences, sometimes extreme. We will be pushed out. We will be marked as a threat. We will find ourselves the scapegoat of the dying patriarchy’s ire.