This is a short post, I know, but coming back to Jezebel and her death.
I really think women are getting shafted with the interpretations of this story.
I looked at some commentary on this, beyond the brief footnotes in my Bible, and as far as I can see, Jezebel’s whole reputation as a harlot rests on one thing. The fact that, knowing her death at the hands of conquering parties was at hand, she put on her make up, fixed her hair and dressed herself in a manner befitting a queen. The logic goes, that by doing so, she wished to seduce her enemies so they would not harm her.
I call bullshit.
So here’s the thing about this, it’s the same old story that’s been going on since, well, Biblical times and still happens today. Women are reduced to their perception in the male gaze, and everything they do is reasoned through the lens of how it will appeal (or not) to men.
Jezebel puts on makeup, her hair is done, her dress is regal. Of course the only possible reason for her to do this is to appeal to a man. Surely it can’t have anything to do with her.
Like her dignity.
Like dying as a queen, the way she lived.
Like holding her head up high and adoring herself with emblems of her strength and power.
Dress and makeup can hold sex appeal. They can hold beauty. They can also hold status and dignity. A king wearing his crown to the end would be called dignified and noble, so why not a queen?
Because women are more than objects, more than the male gaze. Because sometimes what one wears is about comfort or strength or dignity. For what it brings to the self, not others. To die as one lived, to not bow down or give up her emblems of power.
For that, she is called a harlot through the ages.
Unfortunately, I’m not so sure anything has changed.