The little-known term, “witch hunt,” fell out of favor centuries ago…LOL jkjk it’s everywhere, but now it’s mostly just a bunch of old white guys using it incorrectly.
But coincidentally enough, Old White Guys™ are kind of a theme when it comes to actual witch hunts. As in how they have historically (and, erm, quite recently) targeted and demonized women, especially women who have the whiff of power or who don’t fall in line with patriarchal norms.
I’d love to say everything has changed in the 300-plus years since the Salem Witch Trials, but while people are not actually rounding up and beheading hundreds of women in mass executions–well, in America anyway, it’s still a problem elsewhere on Earth–it seems the trend of dudes (especially OWGs) feeling threatened by women (and lashing out accordingly) is still alive and well here in 2019.
All that said, while researching the pieces I wrote for TIME/LIFE: The Salem Witch Trials, I developed an extra level of gratitude that I was not born during the global witch panic of the 15th-18th centuries. Things may be infuriatingly slow to change, but at least no one is trying to hang me because their air-plant died a few weeks after I passed their desk. I mean…not yet, anyway…
If you’d like to read more about the Salem Witch Trials, witches in pop culture, and modern witches, be sure to check out TIME/LIFE: The Salem Witch Trials, available in digital and print formats on Amazon.