but really, since tonight is going to be apparently the night that i talk about Really Aggressively Jewish Things With Special Mention To The Ladies, can we please talk about my hero hadassah, my literal queen, my esther, love of my life
because, ok, we have this girl, and she’s set up in this story entirely as a rather aesthetically pleasing pawn. she’s a girl from an incredibly oppressed minority in her country, but she has charm and beauty and, most importantly, passing privilege, and her uncle notices this and decides to use her as best he can: placing her in the palace, letting her be plucked and prodded and put through all the beautifying humiliations ancient persia could muster, all so he could have eyes and ears on his enemies. for sure, make no mistake: the first half of her story is entirely mordechi’s.
but the pretty little pawn-thing hadassah becomes queen esther, and that is all the difference in the world. esther genuflects before every move, and stalls three times before every request, and is so beautifully manipulative and controlling that queen esther is running the empire, and no one even sees it until it’s too late.
and, and, the most beautiful thing is that esther never erases hadassah, and at the end of the day, her jewishness is her greatest weapon. she chooses to save her people at the biggest personal cost by casting aside her passing privilege and declaring herself: she is jewish and persian, she is halting and timid and also will carry out some of the most bloodthirsty vengeance the tanakh ever sees, she is mordechi’s hadassah, and, absolutely, she is Queen. and this is how she, in the end, agency-full hero of the story, wins the war.
before i say anything about this (“this” of course being the “omg anne frank was bi” thing), i just want to be clear: i am in fact myself a bisexual jewish lady! so! that’s where i’m coming from here.
the thing is—yes, of course, this is important. yes, it’s worth talking about. under no circumstances would i prefer anyone who didn’t already know this about anne to continue in ignorance, and i certainly don’t begrudge any queer person any inspiration or feelings of representation they take from learning about it. but it’s just… a little bit frustrating, i guess, to see everyone suddenly become SO FASCINATED by anne frank now that you’re aware that you can potentially claim her as queer. i’ve never seen tumblr at large care quite this much about anne before—like, was she not interesting until now? was the identity for which she was in actual fact murdered not enough of an oppressed minority to be worthy of your attention? you’ve never seemed to especially care that her diary and the presentation of it were censored to deemphasize the specificity of her jewish experience and to mold her into the perfect nonthreatening victim for non-jewish readers to easily engage with (and, moreover, be implicitly forgiven by—like, please don’t for a second believe it’s a coincidence that “in spite of everything, i still believe that people are really good at heart” is its best-known quote), but now that it’s the censorship of her sexuality we’re talking about, well, THAT is an outrage!!!
and i am all for increasing discussion of the all-too-often overlooked stories of non-jewish victims of the holocaust; i think that’s incredibly important. but (a) that’s not even remotely what’s happening here—anne frank may well have been queer, but her persecution came entirely as a result of her jewishness, period, the end—and (b) the way we frame those stories can sometimes be kind of gross (i.e. stories of jewish victims are BORING and TIRED and OVERDONE—which of course often implies the “jews maliciously control the holocaust narrative” argument, how lovely—whereas other groups are what we REALLY need to be talking about now), and (c) the way we discuss this stuff often demonstrates a fairly serious lack of knowledge of how nazi persecution of lgbt people actually worked. (all of which is like, mostly—although not completely, if you look at some of the tags people have been using on that post—a slight digression from the topic at hand, but it still bears saying.)
i absolutely do not mean or want to imply that any part of anne’s identity is irrelevant—i’m always super concerned about people treating her as some kind of idealized archetypal victim symbol rather than as an actual person, and throwing away details that don’t fit a specific narrative does just that. but the way people have been reacting to this information is. i don’t know. it feels kind of weird.
because for me personally, as someone who is both bi and jewish, looking at how tumblr has reacted to this and comparing that to how it engages with the holocaust in general just… really throws into sharp relief which of my own personal identities you all do and don’t care about, you know? and i mean, it definitely isn’t news or anything, but it’s not particularly enjoyable, either. so.
The definition of the relationship comes from this post of swanjolras whom i thank immensely for hurting me like that.
(Note: Making this list i’ve come to realize that one of the basic characteristics of the King&Lionheart dynamic aka One Of Them Dies is curiously absent from most if not all of the following ships. I would, therefore, like to thank female characters for being able to sustain relationships based on equality, loyalty, love and friendship without any of them actually dying in the process.)
hey, y’all, this person wrote up a lovely list of king/lionheart ships that HAVE LADY CHARACTERS which is obviously the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER (especially queenie/maddie, which, AUGH, DO NOT SPEAK TO ME)
and also also brought up ruth/naomi, which is the Most Important king/lionheart for this reason (liberally paraphrased from ruth 1:16-17):
But Ruth said:
"Entreat me not to leave you
or to turn from following after you.
For where you go, I will go;
and where you stay, I will stay.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
And when you die, there let me die,
and there let me be buried.
And may God do so to me— and may God do more—
if anything but death should part us.”
brb crying my eyes out over hardcore ladylove circa 1100 bce
For all you kids worried that the choices you make at 18 determine the rest of your life, please keep in mind that Retta (Donna from Parks and Rec) is a Duke-trained chemist who spent her 20s making HIV medication.