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.

The latest Teen Vogue with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale on the cover worryingly espouses using dieting to achieve “Your Best Body”.

Minnie Mouse meets beatnik meets Gala Darling is the latest “blog girl” trend.

A superb 2004 Andrew Denton interview with media darling/mogul Ita Buttrose.

Charlie Glickman on the perils of alternative male and female sexuality.

Pop music=guilty pleasure no more. (However, stay tuned next week for an alternative view on this subject.)

Girl with a Satchel laments the unattractive “View from the Glossip Stand” in Zoo’s UnAustralians of the Year feature.

“Stereotyping is a fun and useful tool… to categorise interests and make harmful blanket statements” about your favourite magazines. For example, Lula is for those who “never spend money on U.S. fashion magazines because they just don’t ‘get it’; they’re so dull”, while Details has “a strong Patrick Bateman vibe”.

More on Gwyneth Paltrow’s unlikability, this time from New York Magazine:

“Gwyneth is also kind of a jerk. Her perfection is judgment on the rest of us, and she makes this known in interviews and on her lifestyle website, Goop, the tone of which suggests a domestic personality just one degree shy of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.”

The Freudian nature of the vampire.

How women are reclaiming “bitch” as their own.

New research indicates that women’s bodies may protect themselves from rape. And so opens a whole other can of consent worms…

“Are Music Video Girls Exploited?”

This article puts to the rest the “you can’t be both beautiful and smart” way of thinking.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Taking inspiration from Gala Darling: These stunning pictures make me nostalgic for summer days at the fairground… oh, that’s right, I never spent summer days at the fairground. And certainly not in a playsuit with balloons. Via The Cherry Blossom Girl.

Jezebel really has it in for Facebook, doesn’t she? My favourite anti-FB post from the site this week is “When it Comes to Women’s Issues, Facebook Still Hasn’t Figured Out How to Play Fair”.

I absolutely LOVED Through a New Lens‘s post on “How Your Audience is Like the Mogwai”! While I’m certainly not a Gremlins fan, Joey Strawn draws some good points from the film and how they relate to blog audiences. Will be keeping his thoughts in mind.

More Gala goodness; it’s an oldie but a goodie. Gala counts down her “Top 5 Fictional Female Style Icons”. I have to confess, I’ve never seen The L Word or Henry & June, so I’ll have to take her word for it. However, I am totes down with Cher Horowitz, Blair Waldorf and Carrie Bradshaw as 3, 2 and 1, respectively.

Following in the vein of her workaholism posts, Rachel Hills uses Zen Habits’ assertion “that, instead of scheduling our days and weeks and months with small tasks that eventually lead us to whatever place we’re trying to get to, we should just go with wherever our will takes us on any given day.” Like going to bed at 8 o’clock on a Monday night, sleeping through til 8 o’clock the following morning, doing a spot of blogging, and watching 90210 for the rest of the day? Definitely worth a look.

Also at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, Hills looks at the Kyle & Jackie O rape scandal, as well as the Matthew Johns group sex scandal (which continues to get my goat), and the issue of “grey rape”.

In other GG news, this circa-season one post perfectly encapsulates the addiction to the show its audience faces. Admitting it is the first step, right? More on this post here.

Styleite lists “6 Things Elle Magazine is Doing Right”, three being their heavy online and television presences, and their intelligence section, which I couldn’t agree with more. Half the reason (okay, more than half) I continually buy Elle is because of their great articles and book reviews, and their book blog Lit Life is on my blogroll.. “Think Vogue meets Vanity Fair“.

Still with magazines on reality TV, The New York Times profiled Teen Vogue, which you may remember from (other than the newsstand/agency) The Hills.

Postcards to Alphaville “is a project dedicated to film characters featured in guest-made illustrations”. Below, my favourites.

Finally, try an enlightening personality test this weekend, with the Myers-Briggs test. I got an INFJ result, which means I’m Introverted and expend energy in social situations; iNtuitive and focus on the bigger picture and the possibilities; prefer Feeling to thinking and give more weight to emotions than logic; and I’m Judgemental and like to have my plans made well in advance. Oh, how accurate!