Talk:Salem witch trials

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Moreover, more women were accused than men (even if not in the same numbers as in Europe), making for interesting observations on sexism within the US.

Ummm ... wouldn't most people assume that more women would be accused than men (connotations of witches being female among other reasons). Women were always the ones who were thought as more likely to be witches, moreso in Europe. It's not about sexism in the U.S., it's about sexism in Christianity. Free thinking women, and women who read books (or even could read) were thought to be abnormal and witches. ThunderkatzHo! 15:55, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Agreed. I think the key is mostly "abnormal = witch". "Normal" in the 17th century usually means male, whiter, younger, richer, and non-shaker-upper-of-the-religious-and-social-status-quo. If you look at who was accused first, it was a slave and some older widows.--Bayesupdate 17:56, 27 November 2007 (EST)
To be completely honest, I was just trying to come up with some reason why they could be seen as even slightly important. My ex-wife is working on a Master's thesis on the German witch hunts, at least in part because she saw how completely unimportant the Salem ones were. I still think, as an early example of sexism within the colonies (along with the expulsion/killing of the woman preacher who's name escapes me), they are important in the study of American sexism, but I won't object to changing/removing it. Researcher 18:32, 27 November 2007 (EST)
Despite being such a wide-spread phenomenon, the characteristics of the witch hunts were usually mostly determined by local factors, so it's difficult to say anything in general about them, but I think one should be careful about using sexism as a causal explanation, not least because the accusers were quite often women as well. It seems to me that a more likely explanation for the high proportion of women among the accused is that witchcraft was very often seen as something that related to the household and the domestic sphere - children, livestock, food preparation, etc. - which was the women's domain. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 18:33, 27 November 2007 (EST)
Prior to the 1500s, actually, there was a conscious effort in Europe to define the witch as feminine not due to her domestic sphere, but because of "feminine lust." Any reading of the early witch-hunting texts showed that domesticity actually helped to PREVENT a woman from becoming a witch. (Except for Martin Luther--he did declare that SOME witches were witches because of an overabundance of concern for their children.) Researcher 18:35, 27 November 2007 (EST)

Yeah, that "sexism" part is weird - first the article says that more men were accused in the Salem thing than in Europe, then makes vague sweeping statements about things that can be deduced, without doing any deducing. That last paragraph is mostly devoid of any useful information. ħumanUser talk:Human 22:03, 25 February 2009 (EST)