#english Feminist book club « Witches : The Undefeated Power of Witches » by Mona Chollet



« Whether they’re selling grimoires on Etsy, posting photos of their crystal-decorated altar on Instagram, or gathering to hex Donald Trump, witches are everywhere. » Even more than their 70s elders, current feminists seem haunted by this figure. The witch is both an absolute victim, the one for whom justice is demanded, and the obstinate rebel, elusive. « 

What I love about this book is that it completely deconstructs a belief I had. Indeed, we commonly think that the « Witch hunt » = mythical crimes committed by the catholic Church, killing a few women in Europe and the USA during this dark period of the Middle Ages.

Chollet explains with brio and rigor the magnitude of this historical lie: (« A story denied or derealized » according to Mona Chollet). In fact:

– It was a genocide against women, an « explosion of mysogyny » as Anne L. Barstow writes in « Witchcraze »

– It took place during the Renaissance, a supposed period of « lights », and « enlightenement ». One can wonder if it wasn’t actually the rise of reason over senses, and the power of men.

– These were civil trials, and not religious pursuits of the Inquisition, as many of us may have thought.

This has strengthened my understanding that misogygny is clearly and undeniably a social construct! And if we look more closely at History, we realize that this history is one of the hatred of women.

« No group in the world has ever been so long and so harshly insulted »

states Bechtel Guy in « the four Women of God. The whore, the witch, the saint and the Becassine ”.

« But all women, even those who have never been accused, have suffered the effects of the witch hunt. The public staging of torture, a powerful instrument of terror and collective discipline, told them to be discreet, docile, submissive, not to make waves. In addition, they must have somehow acquired the conviction that they embodied evil; they must have persued themselves of their guilt and their basic darkness. This was the end of the vivacious and supportive female subculture of the Middle Ages, notes Anne L. Barstow. For her, (it was) the rise of individualism – in the sense of self-withdrawal […] « .

Thank you Mona!

Feministically yours,

What is your favorite feminist book ? Share it with us !

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