Presenter Information

Sarah PerkinsFollow

Title

The Feminization of Witchcraft

Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Although the term witch can apply to either a man or woman, for centuries it has been invariably restricted to the figure of a female. The concept came about mostly during the Middle Ages. Witchcraft was commonly associated with heresy, but soon became synonymous as a result of religious repression. Witchcraft then became a perfect match for women due to the misogynistic beliefs that women were more susceptible to the temptations of the devil and more likely than men to transgress (a conclusion based on the rendering of the story of Adam and Eve). Thus, most witches were women simply by default. Men were more likely to be accused and convicted of performing necromancy, magic that required great physical and mental stamina as well as fluency in Latin—all things that women were considered incapable of possessing. The feminization of witchcraft is a result of the combination of the paranoia of heresy and misogyny prevalent during the Middle Ages.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Location

B192 JFSB

Start Date

20-3-2015 1:45 PM

End Date

20-3-2015 3:00 PM

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Mar 20th, 1:45 PM Mar 20th, 3:00 PM

The Feminization of Witchcraft

B192 JFSB

Although the term witch can apply to either a man or woman, for centuries it has been invariably restricted to the figure of a female. The concept came about mostly during the Middle Ages. Witchcraft was commonly associated with heresy, but soon became synonymous as a result of religious repression. Witchcraft then became a perfect match for women due to the misogynistic beliefs that women were more susceptible to the temptations of the devil and more likely than men to transgress (a conclusion based on the rendering of the story of Adam and Eve). Thus, most witches were women simply by default. Men were more likely to be accused and convicted of performing necromancy, magic that required great physical and mental stamina as well as fluency in Latin—all things that women were considered incapable of possessing. The feminization of witchcraft is a result of the combination of the paranoia of heresy and misogyny prevalent during the Middle Ages.