The Influence of Witchcraft on Feminism Essay

1780 Words8 Pages
The Influence of Witchcraft on Feminism The witch-hunt that blazed a trail across Europe (and indeed the world) over the 15th to 18th centuries stripped women of much of the power they had historically held. Not 100% of all accused Witches were female but 75% to 90% of accused witches in Europe were in fact women (Levack, 1987, p.124). Prior to the 15th century, rural European women were highly revered and respected pillars of rural community life. Women were not only considered as mothers and wives, but also as community leaders, physicians, and sources of strength and wisdom. They worked side by side with men toward the common goal of community growth and improvement. Though they were not seen as identical to men in the roles…show more content…
Small rural communities were run in a semi-socialist manner. Inhabitants all had their homes or land, and some were wealthier than others but because of the community spirit within these small enclaves the children of your neighbor may as well be your children, and one would never consider withholding food or aid from a poorer neighbor. Women in these communities could choose their path and remain single and independent or marry and have children. A woman was also virtually unlimited in the number of children she could have. More children meant more hands to contribute to chores and farm work, which in turn meant there was more food for the family to eat. Extended family was also a large part of this lifestyle and as such there were always grandparents, and perhaps even great grandparents who would help to raise the communities’ children and allow the mothers to contribute more fully to community life. There were several events that led up to the century known as "the Burning Times". By the middle of the16th century, the which-hunt was in full swing. In brief, the historical timeline of the witch-hunt and those events leading to the witch-hunt are as follows: Prior to the 11th century the Catholic Church did not even acknowledge the existence of Witches. To accuse or take action against one suspected of being a "dark witch", Vampire or other supernatural being was punishable by cannon law. It was only towards the
Open Document