Lately I’m on sort of a fairy tale kick. In 1001 Arabian nights the kings’ wife cheats on him and in his anger and pain…. he takes a new bride every night and then kills her in the morning. Scheherazade created stories each night to keep from being killed. She needed to be interesting enough to be kept alive until the next night.
I thought about this story enough for it to creep into my artwork. It’s an interesting thing to go back and read fairy tales that you read when you were young. As an adult, a lot of the stories are disturbing. And not at all the way I remembered. A lot of western fairytales feature quite a few, fairly dumb heroines. But this one has some interesting metaphors.
On one level, Scheherazade uses her language and dialogue and wit to help the King calm down and release his anger and pain. Kind of that old saw about men being violent when they are hurt and women talking it out when they are hurt. (Hey, I didn’t make it up, someone else did). It’s not her beauty or her waist size, but her intellect that does the trick. HMMMMM. Nuff said about the difference in eastern and western fairytales…huh?
On another level, she hides behind the stories she tells in order to be safe. Raise your hand if you’ve ever done that.
One of the Western philosophers said “a woman’s beauty lies in her silence”. It’s taken women years to start recovering from that damn philosophy, and I’m pretty sure we’re not completely done riding that donkey yet…but maybe…. maybe, we’re finding our way with our stories. Maybe we’re telling the story of who we are and who we want to be. Maybe the words spoken by women are telling the story of what could be in this society and on this earth. Maybe our words are a guide rope helping us to find our way into the future. Maybe.