A misogynist slur in Washington and Westminster, a force for something good in Hollywood. For centuries, witches have personified fear of an assertive woman. But why does the stereotype stick it out?
(Is the witch a woman of grander knowledge whose wisdom is offended?)
During 2016, US Presidential Election, American social media was flooded with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else chortling with green skin. Her opponents named her ‘The Wicked Witch of The Left’, claiming that they had sources stating that she gets a whiff of ‘Sulphur’ and took particular joy in descriptions of her being melted. (Is that the sign enough witchy to tell this is it?). Let’s go deep into the matter.
In the late 19th century, the suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage proclaimed something ground-breaking. “The oppression of witches, she said, had nothing to do with fighting evil or resisting the devil. It was simply extended social misogyny, the goal of which it was to repress the intellect of the women across. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead likely to be a women of ‘Superior Knowledge’.” Further she mentioned, “As a thought research for witches, we should read instead women. Their histories go hand in hand.” If we really feel that witches are just clichés and instead read about great women, then, it’s not a bad idea yet we can’t deny the fact of the witches in actual. When we say witch, we almost exclusively mean women. Sure men have also been accused of witchcraft but they are by far in minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- necromancer, magus, sorcerer, wizard don’t carry the same stigma. There are various interpretations attached to this whole dogma. Some of them are:-
- A better analogous to witch is the word ‘Whore’. Both are time-honored tools for policing women, meant to shame them into socially prescribed behavior. A whore contravenes women of female sexuality; witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men with their spells, a witch can transform you into a pig, or defeat you in a battle. She can curse you, overlook you, junk you, or spot-on you. Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strong as ever.
- The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, broomstick had become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling variety; a rich assortment of women who have inspired, startled, possessed us over the centuries. The image took firm root in the Christian Era when witches were women who consorted with the devil but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed creatures with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonbeam, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of the boys whom they starved to death for their hexes.
- The most famous of this type must be Shakespeare’s weird sisters from ‘Macbeth’. They are revolting with midnight hugs, chapped beards. An ugliness, of course, is the key. The haggish outside of these witches is meant to match their evils inside.
- Many of the women accused of witchcraft were so-called ‘wise-women, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched their living in the community with their experiences as midwives, and herbalists. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge made them perfect targets for people’s rage when crops failed or babies died.
- Foreign women were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and the dogma attached to it goes back to Greek Mythology. Fears of witchcraft grounded in racism persist even today.
The image of the good witch ascended in popular culture at a time when women made efforts towards equality. Of course, no discussion of good witches can be complete without the fictitious and unmatched Hermoine Granger. Throughout J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s brainpower, kindness, sense of justice and determination make her a role model for young girls and boys everywhere.
Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the last decade, the UN has reported a rise in women killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India, the problem is particularly well-documented, with older women being targeted as scapegoats and stooges. In Saudi Arabia, women have been put away of witchcrafts in courts.
If going deeper into this stanza, the fact I stated is nothing sort of wrong, yet, through Islamic point of view, if we see, considering a sorcerer, or a fortune-teller, or magician for any work is prohibited and considered inappropriate overall, doesn’t matter if you do it for good. Islamic law states that Muslims should solely rely on God alone for help or any troubles or hardships instead of considering any sorcerer, or any kind of Talismans, which have charms and amulets bearing precious stones believed to have magical powers or other means of protection.
According to the Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, that the evil eye born by jealousy or envy is real and capable of causing harm and misfortune. For that also people seek help from these witches, Hakims, and sorcerers which is not acceptable in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told to solely rely on God and some particular ‘Surahs’ and ‘Ayaats’ only from the Quran for the help. But there are people who seek their help apart from Allah itself which many times they confirmed its aids. All in all, if it’s prohibited in Islam we shouldn’t consider it irrespective of the benefits and losses.
On the other hand, everyone has the freedom to think whatever they can. If you really feel a witch is just a knowledgeable powerful woman then it’s nothing sort of not okay.
Written by Eram Fatima,
Eram Fatima is a Sub-Editor of ICN National Group and has gotten the award for ” Appreciation Certificate” as a Sub-Editor-ICN (In Debut Category) by Professor K. V. Nagaraj (Chief Advisor, ICN Group) and Rakesh Lohumi (Sr. Editor, ICN Group) for her contribution by writing many articles on various issues. She is also active on her blog. Apart from that you can also read her articles on www.icnnational.com Currently, she is working on her novel about her experiences as a teacher.
Her blog: //eram596877388.wordpress.com