Gender Roles In Witchcraft

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Gender: During the 16th century European witch hunts, womanhood was often viewed as an indication of witchcraft. Since the common perception during this period in time was that women were weak and often not strong enough to fight off evil, they were considered more susceptible to the Devil. This misconceived notion put unimaginable strain on women of all ages, especially older women since they were targeted more often. Roper noted if “she was an old woman, she attacked young children (Roper p. 17).” The biased persecution, with such a general purview on old women, was representative in the amount of executions that took place for witchcraft. Across Europe, roughly around 80 to 90% of the people executed as witches were women (Roper p. 18). When…show more content…
What's even harder to comprehend is that so many women were punished for their gender when that was not in their control. Although there were women who were guilty of witchcraft, its unfathomable that all of those women were guilty of such acts, especially considering that the criteria fit 50% of the population on one factor alone; gender. Bodies: During a period in time when the struggle of every day survival was exhausting, women now had an additional threat that their physique and lack of fertility would be enough to condemn them. In the beginning of the witch craze, there were certain visual “signs” of a woman's physical appearance that was indicative of witchcraft, such as being a woman, being older, infertility and having “marks” upon their bodies. As panic, fear, and over all persecution increased, so did the list of acceptable examples of “evidence” for women to be considered witches. In

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