Lisa Louie's Reviews > The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
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Jul 21, 2009

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Read in May, 2009

I picked up this book at the advice of a poster to the ex-Christian list to which I belong, and initially found it an exhilarating read. Sue Monk Kidd used to be an inspirational writer who contributed to the sorts of evangelical Christian rags that my mom would keep under the coffee table. But then Kidd underwent a profound transformation into the Sacred Feminine after realizing Christianity's complicity with and even fundamental support for the suppression and degradation of women.

The part of this book that I found most compelling was the beginning when Kidd narrates the specific "epiphanies" she experienced once she began to question the Christian faith. For instance, she remembers the experience of being a girl in church and learning about the patriarchs of the faith were desperate to have sons, about how God put men in charge because Eve was created for man's benefit and she led Adam to commit the first sin and caused them to be cast outside Eden. As Kidd puts it, "The so-called God-ordained image of female as under male, incapable, disobedient, unworthy--all of which added up to inferior--was a devastating notion to me as a girl."

These collective agreements forced upon little girls in the church create a spiritual wound in women, Kidd argues, and only reclaiming the Sacred Feminine can salve it. When Kidd begins making her case for the Sacred Feminine, I found that I couldn't track with her because her writing became both general and abstract in just the same flowery way that Christian religious, touchy-feely magazine writing tends to be. Perhaps I found her reasoning difficult to accept because she still maintains the faith that the universe is serendipitously beneficent, and views her evolution towards the Sacred Feminine as fateful, a fulfilled destiny. Since I don't share her faith that such a benevolent, controlling metaphysical entity--female or otherwise--exists and intervenes in our lives, her argument for the Sacred Feminine failed for me. Or maybe I just didn't understand it properly.


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