This week, the Christian world remembers Jesus Christ and the story of his greatest sacrifice. The story is also heightened when you consider the long (I mean, really long) prefix leading up to the fulfillment of Christian salvation. And that prefix contained stories of women who also stood up for what was right and took no excuses when it came to getting what they wanted.
In this light, we’re looking at a few women in the Bible who could teach us a lesson or two about feminism, old-school style.
Blaming Eve for everything bad that happened is a short-sighted look into the story. In her, we could see how people should exercise their free will. Bustle writes, “She also shows no sign of seeing herself as anything other than equal to Adam and as having every right to make her own choices, whatever they may be. She is willing to try something new, to seek out something different, and to take a risk. And after it doesn’t work out so well, she goes on to live her life anyway, raising children, becoming the mother of all humanity, and living to be 511.”
Jael is cited as the heroine who saved Israel from the rule of King Jabin. She killed Jabin’s army leader Sisera in his sleep. Jael first convinced Sisera to sleep in her tent so she could carry out her mission.
#3 Queen Vashti
In the Book of Esther, Queen Vashti’s story is interpreted by feminists as one of the first acts of women’s right. As queen, she had refused the demand of her drunken husband to appear before him and his guests only wearing the crown. In Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence, Vashti is regarded more highly than her successor Esther. Despite Esther’s role in liberating the Jews, she still fulfilled the submissive archetype of the woman unlike Vashti who stood up for herself even if it meant losing her crown.
Miriam is one of the most prominent female characters in the Old Testament. In her selflessness, she oversaw that the baby Moses would find a home, following the basket that carried the infant through the river. She used her smarts to watch over her brother, risking being found out and killed. It pays to be a loud and proud rebel but Miriam shows there’s something about being sneaky too.
#5 Mary, mother of Jesus
How many women have the strength to carry a son knowing that he will be killed brutally and subject to all kinds of betrayal and cruelty? Though Mary is always traditionally viewed as pious and graceful, we forget it’s no joke what she had to go through. Michelangelo’s Pieta is used as an example of how Mary is (literally and figuratively) bigger than Jesus, being able to carry his lifeless body, knowing it was for the greater good.