Sunday, September 27, 2009

Somerset Witch project

I picked up a copy of the craft magazine Somerset Studio. One of the Halloween projects shown is a silhouette of the black house with various vintage and antique pictures of women in the windows and an orange background. A small excerpt with one example is shown in the cover (right). The artist describes the house as "occupied by a coven of diabolic witches".

All of the pictures are middle-aged or older, without cosmetics or fancily styled hair, and most have serious expressions. This is, of course, standard for portrait photography from the turn of the last century--when most women were capable of crafts rather more demanding than can accomplished with a hot glue gun and a stencil set. But all they are, in the eyes of this artist, are witches.

Never mind that they are, or were, ordinary, real people. Never mind the historical role of witchcraft accusations as a way of vilifying and even murdering unacceptably independent, unconventional or inconvenient women. Smiling, young, blonde, beautiful, heavily styled women are good. Older, serious, brunette, average looking, plainly dressed women are witches.

Some things never change.


David Tulloch said...

I really want to comment on this, as it made me angry ... but beyond that i really have nothing to add to what you have said. I do wonder what E.P. Thompson would have said about this.

Anonymous said...

Most witches I've met are beautiful and sexy and very nice people.

Diane Scott said...

Totally misunderstood for the most part... and I bet to this day the prejudice continues :(