My feed

to access all these features

Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

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

985 replies

sakura · 28/05/2011 01:15


#at=380 youtube]]

ANd why women are feared to the extent that they are accused of witchcraft and killed for it
OP posts:
Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:24

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

I have, and read them and watched them and many of the publications by Venetia Newall who is one of this country's foremost scholars on witchcraft. I've also read Malleus Maleficarum.
I hadn't heard of a lot of the feminist writers mentioned here until I read other people's posts. Doesn't mean I should be dismissive of them surely?

MooncupGoddess · 30/05/2011 11:25

My point was about wider reactions to Holocaust historiography, not about discussions on MN.

If an inadequate/incorrect factual basis is used to support a documentary's assertions, then that undermines its core arguments, because the entire enterprise starts looking very slipshod. As you say, it is unarguable that women have been historically oppressed in all sorts of horrible ways - so why not do the research properly and put together a killer documentary based on proper historical fact and argument? Anything else is doing women's history a disservice.

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:25

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:26

I learnt about the witch persecutions when studying English at A level and degree level, sometimes as an element of a text and sometimes as necessary for background information to set something in context.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:27

And how can you do "in-depth" in ten minutes?

Yes, "witches" were burned. That is true.

However, this film is essentially a religious tract. I have no problem with any religion producing material to promote itself - that is freedom of conscience and speech which I support.

This is not a historical documentary though.

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:28

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:29

Is this a useful website?
I have no idea about its scholarship, as is often the case with the internet.

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:31

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:32

I did. I spent a term on it for A-level.

Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:32

Is it not? I got most of my books from the local Blackwells, off the shelf.
You might as well say that the majority of feminist literature isn't in the common domain, considering how hard it is to find on the high street.
Most witches in this country were hanged rather than burned. It was mostly fear, scapegoating and envy that lead to gendercide.

dittany · 30/05/2011 11:33

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:34

I did a module during my 16th century literature studies. Why are we arguing about it?
I just thought Sakura was being a bit dismissive of someone's post because she hadn't heard of any of the things mentions, implying that they thus were irrelevant.

sakura · 30/05/2011 11:35

I think it's good this film was made.

Your average Jane is going to notice it and think: "Bloody hell, a load of men killed off a load of women because they thought they were witches ?!?! THat's insane. We deserve a formal apology for the way our sex has been treated.

OP posts:
LRDTheFeministDragon · 30/05/2011 11:36

dittany, please read what I say instead of attacking straw men.

I find it insulting that the people who made this programme felt the need to make up fictional 'strong women' and make up a narrative about men taking their power away. It's a fairytale. Why not tell the truth? There are real, historical, why not study them? It is incredibly insulting to a millenium of women, to whitewash their experiences and existence in favour of telling a pretty story.

I find people who misrepresent women's oppression in history offensive and insulting; the makers of this film must have been aware they were lying, the errors are too absurd. Anyone who wants to call themself a feminist surely minds about this?

Fair enough: bits of that film were absolutely beautiful, I know. But to present it as facts is insulting.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:36

In this case, yes it is Dittany.

The proper study of history should be amoral - this "documentary" is so loaded as to be laughable in the context of anything other than the religious sphere..

Just because something appears to agree with you, does not nesscarily mean that you should accept it at face value. That's what history teaches us.

MisterDarsey · 30/05/2011 11:36


Surely you've heard of Buffy the vampire slayer at least? You dont have to be in an academic bubble to know about that. There are also references to Salem in Harry Potter and other childrens books. As for learning it at school, it depends which school you went to. If you're saying it should be on the national curriculum I would agree.


Salem was an English colony at the time & the witch persecutions there were obviously an extension of what was going on in Europe. Fair point about the old films, however the latest film about Joan of Arc was made as recently as 1999

And to return to my main point - Does this video help to answer the question of why it all happened? That is the important issue here.

Goblinchild · 30/05/2011 11:37

What about this booklist?
Do you recognise any of the names who seem to be taking a feminist approach to the subject?

sakura · 30/05/2011 11:38

"I just thought Sakura was being a bit dismissive of someone's post because she hadn't heard of any of the things mentions, implying that they thus were irrelevant"

You mean Milly's post. No her post was interesting. BUt actually, in a sense, I suppose tehy were irrelevant to the point I was making by posting the vid. My point was "Look, women were burned as witches"

Coz I really don't think many people know this. it's not common knowledge. No it's not. At least in the circles I'm from. IT has been brushed under the carpet.

OP posts:
dittany · 30/05/2011 11:38

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:38

In other words, a perfectly good argument can be rendered impotent if you build it on sand.

This, is sand.

Peoper history, is stone.

sakura · 30/05/2011 11:39


DOn'T believe me if you don't want to but I've never watched an episode of BUffy or read Harry Potter.

I want the fact that witches were burned by a load of fearful, ignorant men to be common knowledge, the way the Hollocaust and what happened in ww1 is common knowledge.

OP posts:
LRDTheFeministDragon · 30/05/2011 11:40

But sakura, isn't the average Jane going to look a right idiot if she repeats anything from that film? That's what worries me. It's good as propaganda to make women angry, or to show this religion as an appealing one for women, or as a strengthening myth maybe, but it presents itself as if it were factual.

I think it is very wrong to make something like this, because if someone took it on trust, they would be mocked by anyone who knew a little history. That's just setting up any eager would-be feminist for a mocking. Not very sisterly! I agree with goblinchild their motives appear to have been religious, which may be ok, but it does do a disservice to feminism.

sakura · 30/05/2011 11:41

Why is everyone missing the point.

The video wasn't perfect but the POINT is that at least SOMEBODY is making a docu about the witch burnings.

The witch burnings are the point. All else is secondary.

OP posts:
StuckInTheMiddleWithYou · 30/05/2011 11:42

But it's crap.

No history is better than bad history.

sakura · 30/05/2011 11:42

WHy doesn't any of the bullshit "science" that we have to put up with every day, such as evolutionary psychology do a disservice to science?

Why doesn'T the frigging trans activism in academia, based on LIES and obfuscations do a disservice to academia. Oh it does.

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.