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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

The Burning Times: fascinating docu on women's power before Christianity

985 replies

sakura · 28/05/2011 01:15

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ANd why women are feared to the extent that they are accused of witchcraft and killed for it
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MisterDarsey · 29/05/2011 23:04

Also worth mentioning that witch burning was not a Christian invention. The pagan Saxons used to burn witches until the practice was outlawed by the (Christian) Emperor Charlemagne.

StewieGriffinsMom · 29/05/2011 23:04

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LRDTheFeministDragon · 29/05/2011 23:05

I mentioned several factual inaccuracies, actually. They're all in the same sentence, but there are several of them.

If you want more (and I did give up on watching after the 1132 gaffe because I thought it was just ridiculous), then the claim that the Romans recognized nature as sacred is not defensible, and the implication that the Romans were also approved of by feminists had me more than confused, seeing as how they were as patriarchial as they come. The etymology put forward for 'witch' as coming from a Anglo-Saxon word 'wic' meaning to 'bend or shape consciousness' is bollocks, and 'wicca' as a word meaning witch already exists in AS. The Romans certainly didn't accept the religions of those they conquered; they deliberately assimilated them into the Roman pantheon.

Can't remember more, but the millenium-out one really hit me - I mean, why?! That's not minor academic quibbling, that's absurd.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop · 29/05/2011 23:22

''I find the picture of a 'strong woman' existing in some not-very-well-defined historical past quite insulting. There's no need to create fairytales about women having had some kind of awesome power that's been stolen from them: why not just admit we're equal to men and deserve to be treated the same?''

Abbess Hild wasn't a fairytale. She doesn't pre-date Christianity of course, being an abbess and all that. But she was from a different Christian tradition to Roman Catholicism, what we now call Celtic Christianity. After the Synod of Whitby, the king of the time opted to follow Rome and over time women were stripped of their power and authority.

LRDTheFeministDragon · 29/05/2011 23:26

Confused

I don't think Abbess Hild is a fairytale either.

I love studying strong women who really existed, that's great! (And reading about fictional ones, for that matter!)

What bothers me is that someone should feel the need to make up a past about strong wonderful women oppressed by men. Why not focus on real women who were oppressed by real men? It's not as if they're uncommon!

LRDTheFeministDragon · 29/05/2011 23:33

Incidentally - and because the Catholic Church is taking a beating here, and it's a fair one but no need to push it further than the facts - the synod of Whitby didn't bring the English Church to RC either, not for another 500 years or so.

MillyR · 30/05/2011 01:39

I've watched the first two parts, and most of this is just made up. I find it quite offensive that people do make this sort of stuff up. We do know quite a lot about what happened to women in the past, and that is important. It is also rather disrespectful to women in non-European contemporary cultures to attempt to make out that their culture is some kind of stand in for culture in Europe half a century ago, when there really is almost no relationship between the two.

It is just bizarre to make out that Christianity was new or relatively unknown in Europe in 1132. That is 400 years after some people in England starting writing dates based on AD - years after the birth of Christ. Are we meant to pretend the Lindisfarne Gospels were not written 400 years earlier, or that there hadn't been Christian communities in Britain for hundreds of years prior to those Gospels? Are we pretending that Christianity was not mainstream among the Romans by the time they left Britain?

Religion before the arrival of Christianity is very interesting, but you have to start by being clear about when that was - the PreRoman Iron Age. You can't make it 1,000 years later and place it within an entirely different culture - one that is an emerging market economy with nations, as opposed to a subsistence based tribal society. That is just as extreme as making out that now is just like 1132.

I also dislike women providing medical treatment being treated as something that is primarily religious. It is primarily scientific, regardless of what era it happens in. It is largely based on an understanding of the natural world, why over-emphasise the supernatural aspects of it? Yes, women were persecuted under a religious justification; it doesn't mean what they were doing was exceptionally religious. Galileo was persecuted for religious reasons, but we refer to him as a scientist. What makes it so different if the person being persecuted is a female midwife?

MillyR · 30/05/2011 01:45

I should make it clear that in my last post I am not suggesting that persecution of 'witches' was all about targeting midwives and other women providing any kind of healing.

sakura · 30/05/2011 01:45

The point of me posting this video was not so that an academic could pick at this or that, but in order to draw people's attention to the withcraze, and to show that huge numbers of women were murdered because of male jealousies of women's perceived powers


LRD, GOd the amount of factual inaccuracies that are passed as "science" and fact every single day ... and nobody questions them (except feminist). LAWS have been passed in the UK to allow men who think they're women to have their birth certificate changed , when clearly they are not the female sex at all. THere are so many damaging factual innacuracies that end up becoming the basis of law-making. Concentrate your energies on the factual innacuracies of men that damage women every day, if you're a feminist

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sakura · 30/05/2011 01:47

Point taken about the woo woo ness of the video..

TBH, I thought the main point they were trying to make was that women haven't always been the ineffectual, insipid, marginalized group of people we've seen in the past 100 years or so. I thought that idea in itself was factually correct.

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sakura · 30/05/2011 02:12

Okay> I've learned my lesson. I won't post a video unless I've had a proper look at it first.
TBH I was just mesmerized by that dancing lady on the roof. She was hypnotic.

Perhaps she cast a spell on me.

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dittany · 30/05/2011 08:52

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dittany · 30/05/2011 08:54

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dittany · 30/05/2011 09:02

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AliceWorld · 30/05/2011 09:53

That's a big part of it for me too, that people make up stuff all the time. One of the ways patriarchy is maintained is by making up stuff that makes sense in patriarchy, and giving it grand claims.

dittany · 30/05/2011 10:07

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MooncupGoddess · 30/05/2011 10:49

'people don't quibble about scholarship focusing on Jews.'

Well, they do to some extent - there are various groups representing gay people/romanies/mentally disabled people etc who get politely but understandably frustrated that the Holocaust is seen by so many as a purely Jewish-targeted extermination programme.

Haven't seen this documentary so can't comment on that, but I would be furious if someone put together a historically illiterate documentary about the Holocaust, because it is so important and getting the facts right matters. So I think it's entirely understandable to feel irritated by a factually inaccurate portrayal of women's history for the same reason.

MisterDarsey · 30/05/2011 11:10

There have been plenty of popular books & films about the persecution of witches, I'm amazed anyone would be unaware of this.

The most famous example is the Salem witch trials. These are the subject of The Crucible by Arthur Miller, one of the most famous modern plays. The trials also feature in popular culture including episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and even the Simpsons.

Then you have famous films like Witchfinder General and Ken Russel's The Devils, and all the films about Joan of Arc who was also burned as a witch.

There is no argument about whether these events happened, the only question is why. Does this video help to answer that question or not?

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:10

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sakura · 30/05/2011 11:15

"That's a big part of it for me too, that people make up stuff all the time. One of the ways patriarchy is maintained is by making up stuff that makes sense in patriarchy, and giving it grand claims."


This is spot on, Alice

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sakura · 30/05/2011 11:19

misterDarsey
Are you serious? Your average jo on the street knows about the witchcrazes? I think you must live in a bubble of academics . I've only thought about it myself after ElephantsandMiasmas mentioned it all on MN last year.

TO say that people know about the persecution of witches... it's just such a LIE.

All those books/films you mentioned, for example, I've never heard of any of them.

WHy wasn't I taught about the witchcrazes in school during history lessons?

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dittany · 30/05/2011 11:20

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StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:20

For a start, it uses the term "celts" in relation to British tribes - wrong.

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:21

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StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:23

It was during my history A-level.

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