The Witches Are Coming Book Summary - The Witches Are Coming Book explained in key points
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The Witches Are Coming summary

Lindy West

Education on gender politics

3.5 (50 ratings)
23 mins
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    The Witches Are Coming
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    We need a reality check on the phrase “witch hunt.”

    What do Joan of Arc, the Sanderson sisters from the movie Hocus Pocus, and the 45th president of the United States of America all have in common? They’ve all – allegedly – been the victims of “witch hunts.”

    Joan of Arc was tried as a witch and burned at the stake in Rouen, France in 1431. The fictional Sanderson sisters met a similar fate years later in the town of Salem, Massachusetts – the site of the most notorious witch trials in United States history. And Trump is a self-professed victim of a witch hunt. Or, make that plural: witch hunts. Since he’s taken office, Trump has tweeted the phrase “witch hunt” over 200 times. Yet despite this, Donald Trump is still alive and well – unlike the victims of real, historical witch hunts.

    Before 2016, “witch hunt” generally referred to the witch trials that took place in early modern Europe and America, roughly between 1450 and 1750. These trials usually concluded with the accused being hanged, burned at the stake, or thrown into a lake to drown. The accused witches were overwhelmingly women, their accusers overwhelmingly men.

    But recently, the way the phrase “witch hunt” is used has shifted somewhat. In 2006, activist Tarana Burke spearheaded the #metoo movement, calling on women to share their experiences of sexual assault. The movement gained serious traction in 2017, when powerful producer Harvey Weinstein’s many sexual assaults came to light. More and more women named their male harassers. And some men started to feel very worried.

    Worried about the systemic abuse and harassment women suffered? No. They were worried that these women’s accusations amounted to a “witch hunt.” But do they?

    Here’s what these so-called “witch hunts” look like. A prominent man is accused of harassment. The accusation is corroborated. The man experiences public condemnation and is punished – though generally not tried in a court – for his behavior. His punishment entails resigning from his job and fading into the background before reappearing to tape a comedy special or run for office…you know, sort of like getting burned at stake. Except not like that at all.

    When men refer to themselves as victims of witch hunts, they’re implying that the tables have turned. Women hold all the cards, now. Men are oppressed. Simple as that.

    But they couldn’t be more wrong, no matter what the Trumps and Weinsteins of the world would have us believe. 

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    What is The Witches Are Coming about?

    In The Witches are Coming (2019) writer and feminist activist Lindy West applies her scalpel-sharp intellect to today’s political landscape. She uncovers the ideological agendas behind everything from Adam Sandler movies to the wellness movement, abortion rights to Louis C.K.’s comeback. This is feminism for the post #metoo era.

    Who should read The Witches Are Coming?

    • Feminists who feel frustrated by the state of contemporary gender politics
    • Men who want to be better allies to the women in their lives
    • Anyone who’s oppressed by the patriarchy

    About the Author

    Lindy West is an American writer, comedian, activist, and – above all – outspoken feminist. As a cultural commentator she’s written extensively for outlets like the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Gawker. Her first book, 2016’s Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, was a New York Times bestseller and adapted for television by HBO. 

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