The Year of the Witch.

ahs coven

One could rightly argue that the witch renaissance began in 2013, with American Horror Story: Coven and The Witches of East End debuting last year.

But that revival has certainly carried on into the year of our Lord 2014, with both seasons (and series, in East End’s case) culminating at some stage this year. The ultimate witch movie, The Craft, came of age in May while The Blair Witch Project turned 15, and The New Inquiry, The Lifted Brow and even Teen Vogue all published stories about our fascination with magic and the women who perform it.

In the screen world, The Worst Witch is returning to TV; Sleepy Hollow continued its second season featuring the witch Katrina; WGN America broadcast the god awful Salem, their interpretation of the 1692 witch trials starring Shane West and Ashley Madekwe of Revenge fame; Frozen and Maleficent dominated the box office and Into the Woods, featuring Meryl Streep as The Witch, opens in the U.S. on Christmas Day (with a January 2015 premiere in Australia to follow).

And, of course, every year around Halloween time we get nostalgic for all things witchy. I continued this nostalgia by musing about Wicked for Junkee and writing a couple of things about Charmed for Bitch Flicks, and they also championed Practical Magic in a piece that made me giddy for the summer between primary and secondary school when I first saw it.

This is not to trivialise the still very real belief in witches in some developing countries. Recently, a woman was burned at the stake in Paraguay after being accused of witchcraft and this article about prevalence of the belief of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea published last year will stay with me for quite a while. In the first world, Wiccans took to social media to voice their outrage at their portrayal in a recent Time magazine article.

While witches hold a certain otherworldly charm (so to speak) from another time, the reality is that women are called witches (and many other choice descriptors) for deigning to exist outside of the narrowly and socially prescribed notions of how they should. The Salem witch trials began when young girls in the town began acting strangely in quick succession (also known as puberty), and we can hear echoes of a similar panic when modern girls and women act out of turn (see: the Slenderman attempted murder and Lena Dunham). While there’s still more room for movement for women than there ever was in Salem and medieval Europe, an appreciation of witches is one way in which we’re furthering the varied representations of women.

What other representations of witches come to mind this year? Sound off in the comments.

Related: Revenge Is a Dish Best Served by a Woman.

ElsewhereL [Jezebel] Spellbinding Witch Move The Craft Turns 18. Let’s Have a Gif Party!

[The New Enquiry] Vol. 21 Witches.

[The Lifted Brow] Witchin’ Ain’t Easy.

[Teen Vogue] Witches Are Real, And You Might Know One: An Inside Look at Girls Who Practice Paganism.

[Metro] The Worst Witch TV Series in Coming Back for the BBC.

[Junkee] The Musical Wicked is as Much About Feminism as it is About Witches.

[Bitch Flicks] The Power of Work/Life Balance in Charmed.

[Bitch Flicks] She’s Possessed, Baby, Possessed!

[Bitch Flicks] Practical Magic: Sisters As Friends, Mirrors.

[The Daily Mail] Paraguayan Woman Accused of Being a Witch Burned Alive.

[SMH] Witch-Hunt.

[International Business Times] Time Magazine Witches Article Outrages Wiccans, Pagan Community.

[Time] Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in Real Life.

[Bitch Flicks] Lena Dunham, Slenderman & the Terror of GIRLS.

Image via American Horror Story Wikia.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

beyonce pretty hurts beauty queen

I’ve probably linked to this before, but in the week Beyonce secretly releases her musical (and video!) feminist manifesto, unpacking her views on women’s equality—and our views on her—seems particularly pertinent. [Bitch] 

But can we really take advice about sticking it to beauty ideals from a woman who chucked a tanty over unflattering SuperBowl photos and curates her Instagram feed to within an inch of its life? [Double X]

In defence of the single girl. [Double X]

On being a “bad feminist”. [The Virginia Quarterly Review]

How can we expect abortion ban exemptions for rape when so many rapes are deemed deserved in the first place? [The Atlantic]

Yet more musings about American Horror Story: Coven and its uncomfortable attitudes about race: is it all about white guilt? [In These Times]

 

I wanted to cut and paste the whole paragraph on Rihanna’s “Pour It Up”, sexual and creative agency and slut-shaming, but since it’s a lengthy portion of the article, head on over and check the whole thing out for yourself: “‘Slut-Shaming’ Has Been Tossed Around So Much It’s Lost All Meaning”. [Jezebel]

Image via RnB Music Blog.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

tavi gevinson bitchface

Tavi Gevinson is a Bitch (well, she was interviewed by them).

Another round of pro- vs. anti-Sex & the City musings. [Elle]

Dating in a push up bra (NSFW). [The Lingerie Lesbian]

American Horror Story: Coven‘s race problem. [Feministing]

Navigating victimhood in statutory rape. [Double X]

In case you forgot, R. Kelly is a sexual predator. [xoJane]

The years’ most unlikely famous feminists. [Feminist Times]

Image via Rookie.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

rihanna-pour-it-up

What do strippers think of Rihanna’s “Pour It Up”? [Daily Life]

I wrote about Gossip Girl and inadequacy. [Birdee Mag]

Unpacking the dual feminism and misogyny of American Horror Story: Coven. [LA Review of Books]

Authenticity and performance on social media. [Jezebel]

I’ve had it up to here with Mia Freedman. And that’s not something I write lightly, as I consider her my idol and I even named my dog after her. But she’s written some doozies this week. First she slut-shamed Kim Kardashian for Instagramming a post-baby body pic and how that impacted her suitability as a mother, and now she’s making sure she warns her daughter that when she is of drinking age, she’d better watch out not to get raped whilst intoxicated. Never mind – god forbid – if her daughter is sexually assaulted prior to this or whilst sober, which is just as likely. Oh, don’t worry, Mia also makes sure to write that she will warn her sons about drunk driving and “having sex” whilst inebriated; notice the absence of “not raping” in this sentence. Because we all know boys hear enough of this and women and girls are the ones who need to modify their behaviour lest they be accused of “asking for it”. [MamaMia]

Maryville rape victim Daisy Coleman writes about her attack. [xoJane]

ICYMI: Misogyny in Stephen King’s Under the Dome.

Image via Billboard.