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Book review: Modern Witches

The French journalist Mona Chollet just wrote a new book named: Witches, the unchallenged power of women. Figure of the 21’s century French feminist author, with Virginie Despentes or Elisabeth Badinter, the journalist for the well-educated newspaper “Le Monde Diplomatique” goes back in time when women were burned for medieval terrible reasons. Reasons which are still considerate as problems in our era. This is why you need to read it.

Witches are everywhere. Mona Chollet shows us that women who used to be burned between the XIX century and the XVIII are still witches in our time. She bases her study on three types of person: the independent, the old and the without-child women. Those facts still have bad considerations in our times. She demonstrated it by a row of examples, founded on, movies, books, interviews, documentary, or simply friend’s experiences and her one. The result is brilliant and we just can agree with her words. As a man, the conclusion of this work might be less touching for me than for a woman. A great friend of mine told me that “you enjoy less than me because you can’t recognize yourself in their words”. True. But it still takes into consideration the situation of women.
Representation of witches in popular culture

She shows how the actual society clings women to their husband. She describes a circle where a young woman is educated by her mother as their brothers until the age of having children. When young girls reach 18 years old, how to become a great mother takes a big part of their education. To restart the circle again. Then wife slip out their success in career and society to spend most of her time to educate children. Who makes the most of the advantages of it? Husbands. They can concentrate their self to reach the summit they want. A woman who tries to land at her goal might have no children. Being independent and a self-made woman is hard. Those who choose to don’t reproduce her species are carelessly seeing. It fixes in the world that a woman isn’t able to satisfy her life without a husband because they are too naïve, brainless and less-educated.

Descriptions at the beginning of the century of women’s bodies work are terrifying. In the early 1900’s, they still considered the only utility of woman is to have children. Report of psychologist and doctor – by the way, medicine workers are representative of differences between men and women: for certain (male doctors), the glory, the studies, the power, for the other (female nurses), the care, the mother instinct, the lack of knowledge – said that women can’t reach happiness without having children. Mona Chollet bases her demonstration in her personal life because she chooses her career instead of procreating. She tries to block some theories about women’s bodies. Sigmund Freud is one of her privileged targets. She demonstrates also how men tried during all the history to control woman fecundity. We have here a well-representative example with the permission of abortion which become allowed only a year ago. Doctors during childbirth are particularly aimed. They are doing it in the best condition for them instead of the comfort of women. Example: the position, lying on the back, which doesn’t use the gravity force.
Tombstone of a supposed burned witch in 1888

Mona Chollet shows to the reader how old ladies are suffering from a lack of consideration. Being elderly goes with being repulsive, useless and having a lack of knowledge. It’s only effective for women. Example: in the French language, there are two common terms to talk to persons (madame/miss and monsieur/mister), but it also exists a term for young lady: “mademoiselle”. Mona Chollet talks about a rupture for women when people start calling them “madame”. It usually happened early, in their 30’s. While women tend to dye their hair when they turn to grey or white, having grey hair is synonym of knowledge and wisdom for men. Women with old appearance are mostly comparing to witch and men to sage.

This study is more exhibiting a situation than presenting solutions. We can remark than Witches in popular images presented the three characteristics of the book: they are old, independent and without children. But Mona Chollet says that this term can be an act of revendication and protestation. The most popular example is W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell), a feminist movement in the US in the late 60’s. The French author is giving a message of hope to all the women who still suffering from a lack of consideration. Message receives.

On the same topic Witches and Feminism


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