Imagine that you’ve got an important conference to attend on a particular day. You’re all decked up and prepared to depart; however, as soon as you leave the house, it starts to pour heavily. You’re all soaked up and consequently, not in a state to attend the conference. To whom would you credit this unforeseen change in weather that led to ruining your day? You may in all likelihood say that a witch has cast a spell, or someone has probably performed sorcery. If I ask you to envision the witch you just blamed for your terrible day, you’ll likely portray a hideous woman with feline eyes and presumably, a hawkish nose, murmuring a few spells.
A peculiar observation here is – when one begins to imagine such a witch, they picturise a woman and not a man, as a rule. Do you understand why? Misogyny!
While this was simply a day-to-day example, there are cases around the world where unfortunate events occur, and the women become the victim of allegations. They are accused of practising witchcraft.
Witch-hunting was generally practised throughout the Middle Ages; nonetheless, in some parts of the world, women still fall prey to this practice. They are blamed for floods, death of a child, a flair-up of disease, and so forth. Not only this, the blaming is then followed by a chase where these women are tracked down and punished/ killed. The punishment could be as grave as rape, torture, or burning her alive.
The practise continues to exist in today’s times, only twisted a little to serve modernity. Modern-day witch-hunting includes tracking down successful and sharp women just because they are successful, influential and intelligent. Because accept it or not, a successful and well aware woman supposedly equals an evil woman trying to make her way by pressurising ‘innocent’ men to yield to her wishes.
These witch trials typically target solitary, outspoken women who have a mind of their own and who wouldn’t give in to patriarchal practices. Social media plays a significant role in all of this. People mindlessly call these women “whore” or “witch” on social media platforms and leave no stone unturned to stigmatise them in every way they can. Funnily enough, half of them don’t even have the foggiest clue about the real picture; they simply follow the crowd blindly. On the other hand, half of them don’t even know that they are adding up to the harassment. In any case, who is to suffer? Women! What can they possibly do about it? Nothing! It is disheartening that if a woman attempts to venture out of her prescribed arena, she is apparently up to something villainous. She keeps quiet; you judge her. She speaks; you judge her. Where is she to go, then?
To add up to the misery, the vilification of women is now being done through the medium of cinema. If an actor dies, their female partners or the women associated with the dead suffer the consequences of gruesome witch trials. Internet floats pictures of actresses dogged by media with microphones being pushed into their faces, suffocating them to the core. And this happens even before she is pronounced guilty of the crime!
It is something that’s hardwired in our brains –to point out women all the time — for everything wrong in the world. It happens, subconsciously so — even without us realizing that for once, we need to spare them and simply let them be.