“Things We Don’t Talk About” is a groundbreaking feature-length documentary film that is currently being produced by filmmaker (and ASWM member) Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, as part of her dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The film weaves together healing narratives from the Red Tent — a red textile space where women gather to share deep and powerful stories about their lives. The Rent Tent movement is changing the way that women interact, support each other, and think about their bodies. “Things We Don’t Talk About” seeks to humanize the stories in the red tent—to put a face on the space.
What is the Red Tent?
The Red Tent is a phenomenon and a movement that is unique to women. Inspired by the bestselling novel of the Old Testament, The Red Tent (1997) by Anita Diamant, women have spontaneously created a contemporary tradition of red fabric “tent” spaces that honor and promote women’s healing.
Neither the Red Tent movement nor “Things We Don’t Talk About” is affiliated in any way with Anita Diamant’s excellent novel of the same name. Nonetheless, Diamant’s description of the traditional menstrual hut used by women in the book inspired, in part, the idea of the Red Tent as a special space and a healing practice.
Isadora describes the Red Tent this way:
With its ability to address social problems, reflect values, knowledge, and the basic feelings of women, the Red Tent fulfils a constellation of gendered societal needs: To create a place that honors and celebrates women; enable open conversations about the things that women don’t want to talk about in other venues; promote positive ideals for womanhood; educate women about their bodies; educate women about natural menstrual remedies; create an open dialogue about sex; share birthing information; discuss issues of body image and self-acceptance; provide a place where women’s voices can be heard; to provide a spiritual place for women where they can laugh, cry, sing, dance, give each other back or foot rubs, play with face and body painting, give or receive massage and other types of body work, tell stories, eat soup, drink tea, sleep, meditate, journal, share poetry, create artwork, knit … just to name a few!