Proceedings of The 5th Global Conference on Women’s Studies
The Rise of The Modern “W.I.T.C.H.” As Reproductive Justice Activist: Casting Off the Patriarchy
In Women, Church, and State, Matilda Joslyn Gage (1893) expresses a tradition that depicts the witch as a feminist freedom fighter, sage, healer, and scholar. This became apparent from 1960s feminism on in Anglo-European traditions (Davies, 2023). This paper explores how Devon Cole’s (2022) song “W.I.T.C.H.” pays homage to that tradition, continues it, and puts it in the realm of women’s control of their bodies. This essay also analyzes Cole’s lyrics that witches represent a “Woman In Total Control of Herself” and seeks to understand how these lyrics amplify feminist theories such as Reproductive Justice, which is being challenged through the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in 2022, and anti-abortion state laws that have emerged (Bustos, 2023; Nash & Ephross, 2022; Ross & Solinger 2017). The witch is a persistent figure of feminist resistance to the patriarchy, and it is imperative that we continue to explore how the witch archetype resurges throughout popular culture and how artists such as Cole are drawing from feminist theories in order to make these theories accessible and meaningful to the public. Artists like Cole are instrumental in drawing from feminist theories to imbue their creations with social commentary and promote awareness of gender issues. By harnessing the symbolism of the witch, Cole and other artists challenge societal norms, redefine feminine identities, and ignite conversations about women’s rights, autonomy, and bodily sovereignty.
keywords: cyber-feminism, feminist resistance, popular culture, reproductive justice, witch archetype