Essay on An Inside Look at Moral Panics

1008 Words5 Pages
Moral Panics Opinions on personal and social matters are evergrowing and can be found in all forms of media. Themes of sex and their regulation from all forms of figures and institutions influence the public's’ perceptions of normality. The controversies of society that result in a heightened reaction from the public is a moral panic. Reactions that result in these mass panics can be initiated by simple facts about a certain taboo, and as generations change, so do the norms of that society, creating a flux of opinions that can generate violent reactions. Judith Levine, the controversial author of “Harmful to Minors” believed there was an argument against the public addressing the sexual habits of minors as corrupt. One of many moral…show more content…
The merging of magical deeds with the idea that women were consorting with the devil made the moral panic intense, increasing puritan panic. Because two taboos had become intertwined, the town of Massachusetts became engrossed in the topic of witches. While men were also the victims, women were the center of the burnings, and were usually seen as outcasts that exposed an area or town to a negative reputation. This is highly sexist, as women had few lifestyle options, and if they deviated from what was expected, they were at risk of being accused of witchcraft. Weeding out unpleasant townsfolk was a major criteria for trials. In this period, women generally belonged to a father until married. Outcasts usually defined women who were homeless and not married. This meant women were dependent on men, working to please a male dominated society where their lives were strictly controlled. Those who were raped were at fault for their victimization. Women in this age were solely housewives, without an education and held no power or land. Perhaps the few freedoms females enjoyed that were not advised by fellow colonial women were view with jealous eyes, and punished by the resentful. Another interesting and ironic fact that the actual term ‘witch hunts’ became used metaphorically to describe moral panics in general. Even though the thought is sickening to modern readers, the process of burning the accused was a legal act until 1750.
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