Reveling in the Red Tent

I went to an amazing event the other day. It was for the premier of a movie called “The Red Tent: Things We Don’t Talk About”. This was a ladies only affair, and as well as the screening of the movie, there was a drum circle, belly dancing, handmade jewelry, tarot readings, massages, a raffle, and henna tattoos. I have a weakness for henna tattoos, so I got one, and I won two things at the raffle: two life coaching sessions and a Rhythm Acupuncture session, so I was rather chuffed at the end of the evening.

But by far the most profound experience was learning about the Red Tent Movement. It has a website here. The founder of this movement, ALisa Starkweather, created a Facebook page that will provide you with much more information than I can, but what I came away with was this: Women do not gather the way they used to. At one time, in many cultures, women would get together during their monthly cycles, and at this time they could talk about their lives, tell their stories, support and nurture each other, and benefit from each others’ strength and wisdom. In this fast-paced world, the fact that we do not do this anymore is a great loss.

Red Tents are becoming very popular again, thanks to this movement. These gatherings can be places to talk, to do self-care and nurturing exercises, drum circles, singing, all sorts of things, depending upon the strengths and talents of the women involved. They are places where you can learn to love who you are, and know that you are enough. A place where women can raise each other up.

Once I’m in a stable living situation, wherever and whenever that may be, I fully intend to start a Red Tent in my area. Just from the small taste I got of it the other night, it is empowering. As I learned about the lives of women and their challenges and tragedies and triumphs, I looked around and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I was in a space where there was not a single drop of testosterone added to the mix. And it’s true, it’s a different atmosphere. Much more accepting. No teasing or cruelty or aggression. It was like dropping a great weight and being allowed to be myself. Say how I really feel, without being laughed at. Shed tears without being perceived as weak or manipulative. Show strength without being perceived as a b**ch.

Men have never lost these gatherings. Clubhouses where no girls are allowed. Sports venues. Poker games. They realize the value of communing with their own gender, although they would probably never vocalize it in this manner. But it’s time that we women get back to that, too.

If you hear of a red tent in your area, I strongly encourage you to get involved. You might just find something within yourself that you never knew was missing.


(Photo credit:


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

15 thoughts on “Reveling in the Red Tent”

  1. uuuummmm…. I think this all started because men ordered the women to get lost during this monthly time because in many cultures their were religious rules about it being unclean… rules written by men. Women were not supposed to go near holy ground. Or do a lot of other things. I am glad you turned it into a party. I guess it stopped because, while you might get the women in a small village to sync up their cycles, in a large city this seems to be a little impractical.
    I hope this was useful information.

    1. Well, yes, that’s why it started, BUT, since they did it, they took it as an opportunity not only to take a break from the grungy work they had to do day in and day out, but also an opportunity to commune with other women, share knowledge, gossip, and treat each other with the kindness and decency they often didn’t get in their daily lives. Sounds like making lemonade out of lemons to me, and that in and of itself is a party, clandestine though it may have been.

      1. Hey, are you having problems viewing your blog? If I click on an entry title, I get directed to my front page. If I edit something, I get directed to my front page. This has never happened before. What’s going on? And no way to e-mail them directly and ask.

      2. I just changed my theme, so things are new. I notice that when I click on the archieves and look at old months, I just see the first few lines of each post and no pictures. But that might be something I did. Sorry. You know I suck at this computer stuff.

  2. iIn the early 60’s we had Coffee Clashes, as we called them. They were a good mix of the older generations and newly wed young ladies searching for footing in their new lives. They were wonderful times at the tail end of those Rose colored glasses 50’s. But, as time moved on more & more of our time was spent talking about Kent State, Vietnam Nam and those joyous times turned to picking sides and belittling and fussing and finally the breakdown of the group. Sadly, those times are missed, but the growing up and looking at the Big Picture was necessary to move forward. I like to think what I learned in those few years, gave me the tools to cope with all the life changes in the last 50 years. Now in my twilight years I long for that gentlier time, and the sharing with kindred souls. I hope I can find a group near Knoxville.
    Thank You for sharing.

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