Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book about witches
Book: In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial, by Mona Chollet
Chollet gives an interesting history of the witch-hunting era, and makes connections with modern misogyny. She also notes parallels between the portrayal of witches and anti-Semitic stereotypes (hooked noses, secret plots, the Blood Libel). She also notes how witch stereotypes are echoed in the way modern women are stigmatized for aging or being childless. Chollet, who is French, notes that voluntary childlessness is rare in her culture, and a choice that she felt judged for.
Chollet also devotes a section to the transition from female midwives/healers (many of whom were accused of witchcraft) to male doctors. She notes that this was portrayed as rationality winning out over superstition, but in fact medicine at the time relied on things like leeches and didn't understand basic hygiene. Nor is it rational that modern medical practice still has a bias against listening to female patients; women are more likely to be viewed as faking, exaggerating symptoms, or "hysterical."
The book is an interesting look at how some stereotypes and stigmas have never really gone away - they just get dressed up in new rationalizations.
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