Gender Roles in Early Man’s Europe

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To start with we shall first discuss the meaning of the witchcraft. Several people had assigned witchcraft much meaning, but in real meaning, a witch is a person who possesses a supernatural, or a power suspected to cause harm, misfortune or even injuries to others. Witches defined in this broad perspective had some characteristics, or they possessed a similar trait such as isolation from the community, the act of being malicious, or even inheritance of this witchcraft from another witch. The witchcraft was associated with both men and women, though in many communities they associated it with women. In European history, the meaning of witch and witchcraft had the more detailed definition. A witch was a person who exercised maleficent power by having agreed with the of the devil. This meaning included both, women and men though in many instances a witch in many societies refers to female and most who have identified as the witch are women. This paper tries to elaborate how women as a female gender are closely linked with witchcraft than men. It also tries to bring into account different scholarly and their different perspective on witchcraft in European countries. [2]In estimates in early modern witch trials claimed that about 80-90% of the population were women in the European country. According to Barstow, he argued that though the witches possessed an abnormal power he had little faith in modern society as healers or even diviners. In fact, he associated the most stereotype of witchcraft with the women. According to Kramer and Sprenger, in their book of witch- hunter they described women as unfaithful, sexually insatiable, unfaithful and they even quoted this classical, biblical and medieval sources. However, in the same category, Julio Caro mentioned in his book Basque Witchcraft of the sick that old women were his typical witches. He continues to say that a woman will become a witch in the initial failure of her [3]life as the woman after frustrated love affairs have to leave her with importance or disgrace. However, the scholarly Margret Murrays in her book the witch cult in western Europe and also, Mary Daly’s and her book The Metaethics of Radical Feminism among others were the first to pose the question on gender and the center of witchcraft discourse.In another circumstance, women are blamed for being the source of problems. According to Jeffrey Burton, he says that women are all center of the problem in society. He argues that the folk magic or witchcraft was another valid alternative for women. He accepted all concept definitions of witchcraft terming it as violent, feminine discontent which involved criminal activity since he associated witchcraft wit deviation rather than the traditional religion. According to his argument, he claims that the European witchcraft was not just to be understood from as sorceress but an incarnation of the hag.Also, on women witchcraft, William Monter’s in the study of witchcraft affirm that the widespread use of magic in Europe is linked with women for the use of magic in need of compensation for the legal and economic disadvantages. He continues that he lays his persecution that sex was their crucial factor more important than even age, poverty or any other thing. He continues to say that single women were also, designated victims of witchcraft. He concluded by stating that the female according to gender analysis were the most influenced by witchcraft and magic.Also, on gender analysis Christiana Larner a sociologist produced the most detailed investigation on witchcraft. Through his skills in sociology, history and also religion he accepted the idea of the use of witchcraft by the poor village females. He firms that gender was the central issue and that women were the potential witches and thought to be associated with thoughts of evil. The issue of witchcraft was [4]sex-linked and was persecution of women such as the same thing could be associated with men on killers being persecution of men as far gender was concerned. [5]According to Cotton Mather of the Apocalypse of the witch’s, the early generations during the colonialism were susceptible to influence of the magic or devil. However, through interpretation of the Bible, the life of the Puritan was characterized by continues struggle between good and devil. The devil they believed selected women and children since they were the easiest target and to continue to despise in his work. During the year 1688, still, on colonial time, the children of Mason Goodwin contracted strange diseases which were a symptom of demonic possession. Mather, however, treated them with prayers while still fasting to express her spiritual realm. Later in 1689, he published the whole incidence terming it as witchcraft and possessions by the devil.In addition to witchcraft and gender, there were few scholarly studied engaged in gender and the question of why so many witches were women until 1990s. According to Christina Larner in the book, Witchcraft and Religion bring out the question which many feminists were asking on was hunting a witch or woman. Larner incorporated the idea of gender into the dominion of serious learning, hence encouraging other historians to involve on the theme of the witchcraft. However, without losing the significance of gender relations in the subject of witchcraft trial, Larner argued that Patriarchy and misogyny were not necessarily the root of the witch hunt but rather condition that nurtured the hunts. Larner affirmed that witchcraft was associated with immoral-related crime rather than immoral-specific crime by exploring how sex-related predisposed the occurrences. However, Larner does not negligence the idea of the high number of accused women as and concede the deeply entrenched misogyny.In contemporary, the major critic of the argument that a witch-hunt was a woman-hunt was that the witch oppression could not have been a thoughtful form of suppression against women because women also accused witches. In addition to Larner’s argument Clive Holmes suggested three ways in which women partake in proceedings against women. These ways included testifying possessed women, reporting on physical searches on the witch and possessed women and also to testify their experience as the victims of the witchcraft attacks. However, to summarize his conclusion both women and men belief in reality and existence of witchcraft and feared witches, therefore both men and women took part in accusation of witches.Also, Larner affirms that men viewed women’s as Life bearing and menstruating abilities which were mysterious and dangerous if uncontrolled according to men. In his argument, Lyndal Roper supports the Larner’s argument that the witch-hunt was a witch hunter rather than a concealed woman hunt since the society in the real sense believe in supernatural and magic in everyday life. However, Roper was [6]more interested in a thing that made women more vulnerable to occasions and the position of women in Europe during the sixteen century. She was also interested in partiality of older women among the accused witches. In her conclusion, Ropers argues that the witch craze was about women. The witches could do mysterious things like killing Babies, ground their carcass into powders and use that powder to add more power.[7]In a decade later the idea of Larner was upheld and supported by Robbin Briggs and Stuart Clark. They claimed that the society was dominated by diverged binary though. This meant that men were attributed to positive traits, then women must be attributed to negative counterparts. This means that if God is the embodiment of good things and the Devil, then automatically the opposite polar men are closer to God and women are closer to the devil. They proclaim that this incidence is even clarified in the Bible by the act of Eve’s original sin where the devil cheated her in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Larner, Briggs, Clark, and Roper among other scholarly affirm that a witch was someone whom establishments and neighbors viewed as socially divergent in some respect.Another scholarly is Diane Purkiss analyzed who also outlined the idea of witchcraft and gender. In her research also, on how women are more close to witchcraft and witches as well as how they are related to the society Diane examines female witnesses and characters at witch trials. She continues to add that the stories that relayed on depositions were powerful fantasies through which the women exchanged their fears and concerns of housekeeping and motherhood. Furthermore, she expressed that despite the witch being anti-mother, they were anti-housewife thus threatening women who were responsible for bearing and raising children.In conclusion, despite the significant contribution of these historians have made to the study of gender in history they also failed to give any substantial attention to highlighting the witchcraft about men as a gender. However, some historians such as Lara Apps have been trying to consider male witches as the subject of witchcraft as far as gender is concerned. However, during the ancient period, people used to think witchcraft as the female thing. But still, the aspect of male witchcraft has no detailed evidence to answer the question of whether the male regarded as a witch as effeminate and fitted in the fantasy of witchcraft figure.BibliographyGoodare, Julian. “A Source-Book of Scottish Witchcraft (review).” The Scottish Historical Review 86, no. 2 (2007), 338-340. doi:10.1353/shr.2007.0078.Illes, Judika. The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z of the Entire Magical World. London: HarperElement, 2005.Willumsen, Liv Helene. The witchcraft trials in Finnmark, Northern Norway. Bergen: Skald, 2010.Levack, Brian P., ed. The witchcraft sourcebook. Routledge, 2015.Judika Illes, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z of the Entire Magical World (London: Harper Element, 2005), 340.Goodare, 26. ↑. Judika Illes, The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z of the Entire Magical World (London: Harper Element, 2005), 340.Julian. Goodare, “A Source-Book of Scottish Witchcraft (review),”The Scottish Historical Review 86, no. 2 (2007): 339, doi:10.1353/shr.2007.0078.Liv Helene Willumsen, The witchcraft trials in Finnmark, Northern Norway (Bergen: Skald, 2010), 46.Liv Helene Willumsen, The witchcraft trials in Finnmark, Northern Norway (Bergen: Skald, 2010), 46.

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