Troubling the Witch: The Issue of Class and Morality in Modern Depictions of Witches

by Grace Gerely

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

The Witch is a figure often used by feminists to symbolize the transcendence of oppressive systems. However, the Witch, although seemingly teeming with power, is not limitless; rather, she is limited by the same societal structures as everyone else. This essay explores the relationship between class, morality, and modern representations of the Witch on-screen. Through a close analysis of The Craft (1996) and American Horror Story: Coven (2013), the issue of classism within witch narratives is made abundantly clear. Ultimately, the Witch’s position as a fully realized and liberated symbol for feminists is disrupted by a nuanced discussion of class in these narratives. 

feminism, witchcraft, class, morality, film/television

When one thinks about the word witch certain images probably come to mind: a black hat, a broom, a woman with some supernatural abilities. One might think of famous iterations of the Witch[1] in film and literature, witches like Circe from Greek mythology, witches like Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West from the movie The Wizard of Oz, among others. The Witch has a long religious, literary, and cultural heritage that dates back to the beginning of human civilization and appears in nearly every culture[2]. To some, she is a deity; to others, a threat. However, the Witch is far more than a folktale; her powers extend past the narratives she occupies. In the last century or so, the Witch has become quite a significant symbol in the feminist movement, serving as an allegory for the transcendence of patriarchal power. The Witch, to many feminists, as well as many individuals who’ve experienced some form of oppression, has become a rather iconic symbol of liberation. Although I agree that the Witch is a fantastic symbol of overcoming oppression, I am troubled by the fact that so many of the modern depictions of the Witch fail to unpack and challenge the societal structures the Witch occupies. It is true that the Witch has supernatural power, but is her power truly limitless? Can the Witch truly transcend the patriarchal, racist, classist, and ableist structures that feminist and other social justice movements seek to dismantle? I would like to complicate this image of the all-powerful Witch by analyzing her current representations through the often under-explored lens of class. In doing so, I aim to critique how modern iterations of the Witch might contain the very societal ideologies that the Witch as a symbol is meant to transcend. Through the analysis of class, I hope to bring some of these ideologies to the forefront of our discussions about feminism and the Witch, and make clear how limited her power of transcendence might be.  

In order to unpack the Witch’s allegorical nature in feminist ideology, we first must place her in the context of the feminist movement and understand how and why she has become such a powerful figure. The first known feminist to reclaim the image of the Witch from her previously persecuted state was Matilda Joslyn Gage, a suffragette who was active in the middle to late nineteenth century[3]. In their essay on the erasure of Gage from feminist history, Zanita Fenton writes that Gage was a critic of the organized Christian faith, stating that the church was one of the greatest structures that oppressed women (Fenton 30). Gage believed that “the church oppressed women by supporting the witch hunts,” for she “noticed that women who acquired knowledge in medicine and the healing arts” were the women most often targeted, as their extensive knowledge about science and healing was a threat to the patriarchal structure (Fenton 30). Gage took the first step in acknowledging how the church used its power to kill, imprison, or exile women who seemed to move past their station, and she ultimately turned the Witch into a martyr, a symbol for the unjust mistreatment and oppression of women. Unfortunately, Gage’s work is overlooked in feminist history, however, her work set a precedent for the feminist literature and theory that would follow in the latter half of the twentieth century. 

Gage’s martyrization of the Witch would remain ever-present in the feminist iconography that followed. In modern representations of the Witch in literature, film, and feminist theory—especially radical feminist theory—the Witch assumes the role of both victim and heroine; she is idolized as a symbol of triumph, self-actualization, and power while also serving as a figure of victimhood and oppression. This double-image shows up in many works by feminist scholars, including Mary Daly. In her piece Gyn/Ecology,Daly discusses the position of the spinster or the hag in society. Though the word spinster is usually interpreted as a degrading term for unmarried, older women, Daly extrapolates on this term’s meanings and origins. She defines spinster as “a woman whose occupation is to spin” and continues to assert that a woman with this occupation “participates in the whirling movement of creation. She who has chosen her Self, who defines her Self… who is Self-identified, is a Spinster” (Daly 286). To Daly, the spinster, or the crone, or the hag, is a figure of self-creation and empowerment. The spinster seems to exist outside of the roles that society would have her occupy and redefines herself without necessarily relying on those societal expectations.

Although Daly’s spinster is a triumphant figure, Justyna Sempruch, while analyzing Daly’s Witch, asserts that Daly’s thesis “posits the ‘witch’ simultaneously as a female source of authority and as a patriarchal scapegoat, equating patriarchy with the relentless persecution of women by physical torture” (Sempruch 19). Thus, womanhood is equated with victimhood, and those who survive such victimization are seemingly triumphant. Although the idea of a woman or a witch overcoming such oppressive and repressive forces is empowering to a degree, Sempruch’s assertion does acknowledge the fact that the Witch is almost always a victim first and foremost. This is troubling for a number of reasons. First of all, the martyrization of these accused and persecuted women seems to glorify their victim status, which I find dangerous. Most importantly, however, over-indulging in the victim trope might lead to the assumption that all women, along with other marginalized groups, experience oppression or victimization in the same way. If the Witch overcomes her oppression through the gaining of power, it is important to question whether all witches, whether all people, will have equal access or equal opportunity to gain that power. The Witch’s gaining and her use of power might be taken for granted as a symbol of empowerment if we don’t acknowledge that not every oppressed person has the privilege to seek, gain, and use power to overcome their oppression.

It is important to note that this intersectional viewing of the Witch remains unacknowledged in representations of witches on-screen. Rarely, if ever, are issues of class and race explicitly discussed in these narratives, as they often simply depict how the Witch, who is almost always written as a white, middle-class woman, lives within this victim/heroine binary that feminist scholars address. There are several nuanced ways of portraying this binary. As Heather Greene writes in her book on the history of witches in cinema, the portraits of witchdom are plentiful; however, Greene asserts that the most important signifier of the Witch is that “she is the woman who knows too much about society, about life, and about herself. She is both the oppressed and empowered” (Greene 1). Although Greene writes that there are multiple images of witches in cinema, she does break down representations of witches into several categories, namely the “accused woman,” the “wild woman,” and the “fantasy witch” (Greene 7). A miscellaneous category includes witches who might not fit within these archetypes, but a grand majority of films that feature witches in significant roles fall into these categories. All of these roles, though they contain many variations between and among them, are reflective of this victim/heroine binary. 

Generally, representations of witches in film position the Witch as someone who is pushed out of or chooses to exist outside of the norm, and sometimes this removal from society results in her death or her punishment, or it results in her absolute liberation or, perhaps, both. Thus, as Green suggests, the Witch is a woman “who commands her own power… a woman unleashed, a non-conformist, and a rebel,” and, to people who have felt marginalized by society, she could be a heroine. Sempruch asserts that the Witch, by “conveying the tension between past and present… becomes a central signifier of women’s cultural sovereignty,” that she “becomes a crucial metaphor for herstory,” or, the often untold history of women and womanhood (Sempruch 53-54). Witches, then, are perceived by many feminists and people who have felt othered as symbols of self-actualization, self-empowerment, and self-love; witches are people who transcend the binaries and the oppressive forces that hold them down. Although some are punished for this self-removal from society in these narratives, the idea that one might have the chance of escaping oppressive forces, even momentarily, is enough to inspire any person who has felt the damaging effects of marginalization.

As inspiring as these images might be, it is important to look at these representations of empowerment with a critical eye, for, although the self-actualized Witch with exceptional abilities is a rather seductive and impressive symbol of transcendence, I am skeptical that the Witch’s power is without its limitations, both as an overarching archetype for female empowerment and within the individual representations of witches on-screen. In order to explore the limitations of the Witch as the ultimate figure of womanhood and power, I want to analyze how witches’ powers are represented in film and television, and I specifically want to question who gets to have power in these narratives, how those characters use their power, and the ultimate consequences (or lack thereof) they face for using such power. If the Witch is supposed to represent a true transcendence and liberation from patriarchal ideologies, then the general presumption might be that anyone in need of power, anyone who is oppressed or marginalized in these films, would be able to access that power and use it to better themselves. However, as the latter half of this paper will show, this is not the case. Many narratives involving witches have very nuanced and coded messages about who gets to have power and keep it, about what kind of magic is considered good and what kind of magic is considered bad. These narratives also reveal striking messages about overstepping one’s magical limits, and the consequences one must face for doing so. I propose that the limits and consequences of magic in film are much more complicated than they seem, for several factors play into how a witch gains power and how she is affected by her use of power in these narratives. In this paper specifically, I will be focusing on how class and morality might play a part in a witch’s potential limitations in film and television.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

In order to question how the limits of magic and witches are represented in film and television I will be doing a close analysis of two representations of witches on-screen: The Craft (1996) and American Horror Story: Coven (2013). These narratives each have a cult-like following that consists of witches and feminists alike, which is one of the main reasons why I’ve chosen to analyze them for this essay. Each story remains relevant in the public eye: a sequel/remake of The Craft was released while I was doing research for this project, and the much-beloved characters in Coven reappear in several seasons of the anthology series American Horror Story, namely in the eighth season AHS: Apocalypse. Since their releases, The Craft and Coven have inspired several conversations about the intersection of feminism and witchcraft, conversations that I have actively participated in, and that have ultimately inspired this analysis[4][5][6]. I’ve chosen these pieces for two main reasons: the first is the feminist audience’s reaction to each piece, and the second reason, which I deem the most important, is because of when they were produced. It is important to note how Heather Greene chooses to categorize each of these narratives. Greene positions The Craft in an era of witch-related films/series she calls the “satanic panic” period (1983-1999), and she positions Coven in the period she calls the “new witch order” (2000-2016; which is when Greene concluded her research) (Greene 149 & 180). One of the most significant differences between these two eras is that projects created in the “satanic panic” period depicted certain witches as “either bad, amoral and insignificant, or neutered with limited power” or, in simpler terms, morality in these films can be reduced to “bad is bad; good is good” (Greene 181). The period that would follow is instead focused on “a recognition of both a witch’s evil and her heroism” and many of the projects produced in this era often “question…  [societal] conventions” (Greene 181). Although The Craft was produced in the “satanic panic” period, it is much closer in tone and in theme to films and series in the era that would follow. The Craft’s most crucial link to the “satanic panic” period is the good/bad morality narrative within it; otherwise, its depictions of liberation, womanhood, and female complexity are much closer to those found in Coven and other works from the twenty-first century. The Craft and Coven, although released nearly twenty years apart, each contain strikingly similar narratives surrounding class and morality, and each feature characters with shared backgrounds, characterizations, and class statuses, who, ultimately, reach the same fate. I will be approaching my analysis of The Craft and Coven in slightly different ways: for The Craft I will be analyzing class through a character study, and for Coven I will be analyzing class through both character analysis and an analysis of the narrative as a whole. 

The Craft centers around a group of girls who form a coven and seek out magical powers in order to stop the abuse they face at home and at school. However, they aren’t able to attain those powers until Sarah (Robin Tunney), the protagonist, joins their coven. Sarah is a natural born witch, and once she joins the four-member group, all of the members suddenly have access to very powerful magic. At first the girls use their powers simply to overcome the bullying and abuse they endure daily, simply to make their lives more beautiful and empowered, but soon this magic that they have begins to affect them: they become selfish and power hungry. Sarah is the only character who is not affected in this way (and the viewer is meant to assume that this is due to her natural capabilities). Out of all the girls, however, it is Nancy (Fairuza Balk), the ultimate antagonist, who’s most affected by her newfound abilities: once she has power, she only wants more. She performs a ceremony to invoke the powers of Manon (the creator of the Universe), and she eventually uses this power to kill several people; she even threatens to kill Sarah. At the end of the film, Sarah invokes Manon’s spirit to save herself from Nancy and to put an end to Nancy’s violent acts. When Nancy confronts Sarah, Sarah gives her a message from Manon: “You’re in deep shit. He says you’ve abused what he’s given you, and now you have to pay the price” (1:30:00). Nancy does pay the price; not only are her powers stripped from her, but she’s also sent to an insane asylum where she stays for an indeterminate amount of time. In the end, Sarah is the only witch left with fully developed powers; she remains vibrant and empowered while her friends, who may no longer be abused and harmed by their peers, remain powerless.

My question of this film is what exactly made Sarah worthy of Manon’s power, and what made Nancy unworthy of it? What is interesting is that Sarah and Nancy both are desperate individuals who are seeking love and acceptance, seeking self-empowerment and self-betterment. Where do they differ? I think the answer to these questions lies in natural ability as well as in privilege (and I mean class privilege). Sarah is not only a naturally born witch, but she is also very wealthy, if her house is any indication. Nancy, on the other hand, is not a naturally born witch, for she only has access to magic once Sarah joins their coven. She also comes from extreme poverty: she lives in a trailer park. When Nancy finally has a hold on power, she uses it to get her and her mother out of their impoverished state and away from her abusive step-father—who she accidentally kills while trying to protect her mom. Once Nancy recognizes that she can use her power to live a better life, she becomes obsessed with obtaining more of it, an obsession that causes her to become tyrannical and violent. She kills several characters in the film and nearly succeeds in forcing Sarah to commit suicide. This narrative of the poor/oppressed individual gaining power and using it to the detriment of themselves and others is quite a common trope in myths, stories, and legends globally. This trope also fits seamlessly into the morality narrative found in many films of the “satanic panic” period, including The Craft, in which morality is reduced to black and white, good versus evil stereotypes. Even the lore of The Craft is reduced to this binary thinking. Halfway through the film, a magical shop owner says, “true magic is neither black nor white,” “the only good or bad is in the heart of the witch” (52:10). If this is the case, then Nancy, according to the laws of this film’s universe, has always been a bad witch with darkness inside of her, and thus Sarah has always been a good witch, full of light. This idea that goodness or badness come from within the witch herself gives me trouble, for the class positionality of these characters is absolutely tied to how they are treated in the film and how they are perceived by the audience. Of course the rich, well-dressed, conventionally attractive white girl is deemed pure and good, and the poor, dark-makeup-wearing, greasy-haired, white-trash girl is deemed evil and corrupted. Nancy’s violence, her badness, her amorality are directly linked to and caused by her class status. The writers’ choice to have Nancy become the villain is heavily informed by their own, and by society’s, prejudices and ideologies about what poor people look like and how poor people act, especially if given access to power or money. The assumption, then, is that poor/oppressed people do not know how to control their power or use their power properly if they obtain it. This film sends the message that Nancy, who doesn’t naturally have magic, cannot take magic for herself and use it for her own benefit; members of the lower class cannot and should not rise above their station. According to this film, Nancy does not have the right to use Manon’s power at all, and, thus, she is left with no power and is forced to live her days trapped in an asylum where she is drugged and deemed delusional for saying that she had magical abilities. From a feminist perspective, especially when it comes to feminist perceptions of the Witch, I find it interesting that The Craft vilifies Nancy, for, isn’t the Witch narrative supposed to be allegorical? Isn’t it meant to signify people with no power who seek, gain, and use it to better themselves? In this film, Nancy is the character who aligns most with the oppressed figure of the outcast Witch, and, yet, she is the villain. Nancy, the poor girl with a desire to make her life better, is deemed unworthy of seeking and keeping power; she is deemed unworthy to live her life free from the constraints of her class positionality, and is ultimately punished for attempting to escape it. The film reduces her to a selfish villain driven mad with power, instead of acknowledging the complexities of her character and her desires; thus, the film also encourages the audience not to sympathize with her but to instead perpetuate the ideal that some people, especially poor people, especially trashy people, are not fit for liberation and power. The Craft, intentionally or not, reinforces the boundaries that make it impossible for those without privilege to rise from their station, to access privilege and power, and to live lives that aren’t limited by their class (or race or gender).

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Similar issues of class and morality arise in American Horror Story: Coven. Although there are several interwoven plots of this series, the centermost narrative is the question of who will be the next Supreme. The Supreme is the witch with the most powerful and plentiful magical abilities, and only one can be in power at a time; this witch also becomes the leader of the coven once her predecessor dies. The Supreme at the start of the series is Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange); however, since the new Supreme is coming into her prime, Fiona’s powers are waning and so is her health. When her attempts to use medicine and magic to maintain her youthfulness and beauty do not work, Fiona decides to seek out the rising Supreme and kill her to keep her powers. Fiona travels to New Orleans where her daughter, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), runs an academy for young witches (an academy Fiona assumes will be housing the next Supreme). At the end of the series, viewers learn that Cordelia is the next Supreme, much to the surprise of not only Fiona, but everyone at the academy, as Cordelia previously didn’t display much magical capabilities. Since the through-line of this series is the question of who becomes the Supreme, I will analyze why Cordelia, and not any of the other young witches, ultimately receives this abundance of power.  

At the start of the series, Fiona and Cordelia are positioned as foils, and this is the first clue of Cordelia’s eventual rise in power. Although Fiona is a central character, her morals are often questioned within the narrative itself, for she rarely uses her power for anything but herself: she frames a fellow witch for harming her daughter to conceal her plot to murder the next Supreme, she kills the first young witch she meets who displays more than the average number of powerful abilities, she manipulates everyone in the series, including her allies, and more. Cordelia, on the other hand, rarely uses her magic for herself; instead, she uses it to help her coven. In fact, she even blinds herself to achieve the second sight, the ability to see things past, present, and future, when her coven is in danger. The reason why the duality between Cordelia and Fiona is so important is because the entire season is a commentary on self-service versus community. When Fiona came into power, she chose to use her newfound leadership and abilities to benefit only herself. She did not take her leadership seriously, and in the end her coven collapsed. In the beginning of the season, Robichaux’s Academy (the place where most witches from their coven used to live and learn about witchcraft) has only four students, and it’s Cordelia who is teaching them, not her mother. Cordelia is the witch making an effort to rebuild the coven that her mother’s selfishness destroyed.

Although there is not a clear way of knowing who is going to be the Supreme, let alone why one becomes the Supreme, I surmise that one of the many reasons Cordelia is ultimately given this power is because of the absolute difference between her and her mother’s uses of magic. Their morals are virtually opposing: Fiona is selfish and motivated by power; Cordelia is self-sacrificial and devoted to her coven. Although the magic the Supreme possesses might not be linked to morals, I suspect, based on the broader narrative of Fiona’s negligence and her daughter’s desire to make up for it, that Cordelia, because of her opposition to her mother, is the natural choice for the next Supreme. This suspicion is reinforced throughout the season, for nearly everyone in the coven comments on Fiona’s inability to lead them, her inability to act out of anything but self-interest. Fiona’s morals have affected how she participates in leading her coven, and members express a palpable desire for a leader who will unite them with compassion and care. Cordelia displays the traits that her mother lacks, traits that would make her a far better Supreme than her mother: she is compassionate and driven by the desire to help others rather than help herself. Cordelia always rises to the challenge to protect her fellow witches, while Fiona has to be pushed to participate in her coven’s well-being. Morally, Cordelia is the most obvious choice for the next Supreme because of her opposition to her mother and because of her desire to lead and care for her coven. Even still, her rise to power is often questioned by fans.

Throughout Coven many of the young witches at the academy seem likely candidates to become the next Supreme, not only because of their leadership potential, but also because of their natural abilities; however, none compare to Misty Day (Lily Rabe). Of all the characters in the series who would be competition for Cordelia, Misty is the witch who most, both in the series and in the audience, believed would become Supreme. Misty is of great interest to Fiona and Cordelia because she has the power of resurgence: she can bring things back to life. What is so astounding about Misty is that she brings herself back to life after being burned at the stake at the beginning of the series, and she constantly revives and heals characters throughout the story. Indeed, Misty displays more magical capabilities than even Cordelia throughout the series, which is why so many people believed she would become Supreme. So why didn’t she? This is where class rears its head, once again, in the Witch narrative. The ultimate difference between Cordelia and Misty is their class. Cordelia not only comes from a royal witch family (since her mother is Supreme), but she was also raised in a rich household; Misty, on the other hand, comes from poverty and lives in the swamps of Louisiana. Misty’s hick status is constantly used to insult her throughout the series, and some of the young witches who would like to be Supreme brush her off because of her swamp-dwellings. When Misty isn’t useful to the girls (i.e. when she’s not reviving one of their dead friends), they completely exclude her from their coven, and she’s often portrayed as an outcast. Cordelia is the only character who doesn’t treat her this way; in fact, Cordelia genuinely believes that Misty is their next leader and treats her with kindness. When it comes to the representation of class and power, The Craft and Coven differ slightly, for, in Coven, both the poor character (Misty) and the rich character (Cordelia) are considered good, unlike Nancy and Sarah who fall on opposite sides of that spectrum. Misty, unlike Nancy, is pure of heart, and she uses her magic to help people, rather than hurt them; yet, Misty ends up dying at the end of the series. This adds a new layer to the issue of class in these stories, for, although Misty’s powers might not be corruptive, she still meets a similar fate to Nancy. It’s important to note how Misty dies: she dies while taking the test of the Seven Wonders, which will determine whether or not she’s the Supreme. I find this very interesting, for, had Misty not pursued the power that ultimately never belonged to her, she would have survived; however, she oversteps her bounds and must face the consequences of that. Just as we observed in The Craft, the poor girl is deemed unworthy of power that would give her access above her station, and she suffers because of her pursuit of that power.  

Once again, why does Cordelia become the next Supreme? When viewed through the lens of morality and class, Cordelia becomes the most obvious choice for Supreme, not only because her good-natured morals are in opposition to her self-serving mother’s but also because she is witch royalty (i.e. upper class). Cordelia is privileged because she already has the tools, experience, ability, and status to maintain that position of leadership and royalty that eventually becomes her birthright. Ultimately, both Fiona and Misty die and are forced to remain in hell for eternity, thus inferring that Fiona had misused her powers as Supreme, and that Misty was absolutely unworthy of them. In a way, both Fiona and Misty had to die for Cordelia’s rise in power to be legitimate: Fiona had to die because no two Supremes can survive in their prime at once, and Misty had to die because her powers posed a threat to Cordelia’s authority (although I doubt Cordelia would feel that way).

In watching both The Craft and Coven, I found that, although produced nearly twenty years apart, each project held the same position on power and who is worthy of that power. Both of these narratives, when viewed through the lens of class and morality, contain striking messages about the kinds of witches, the kinds of women, who are able to not only access magical powers, but also use them. When thinking broadly about how the Witch has historically been perceived by feminists, I find it odd that the narratives that center witches tend to fall into the same damaging stereotypes that the Witch as a symbol seeks to overcome. The Witch, according to feminists like Daly and Greene, is an outcast, a degenerate, a rebel, a victim, and someone who, when faced with great obstacles, overcomes them through her own self-empowerment. However, in these narratives, self-interest is punished, and often the witches who most desperately need power, usually because of their class, are denied that power. Nancy, although poor and from an emotionally and physically abusive household, is vilified because of her class, and deemed selfish for her overindulgence in magic that was not “meant” for her. Misty, although good-natured and powerful, is still a swamp hick with few friends and little hope of being accepted into her coven, let alone becoming their leader. 

Power in both The Craft and Coven seems to only be attainable if a person is morally considered good (i.e. unselfish and self-sacrificial) and naturally born into her powers or into a higher class. Both Sarah and Cordelia are naturally gifted and from wealthy families, which gives them an advantage over the other witches in their respective narratives. They are also considered morally superior because of their seeming lack of self-interest and their sacrificial natures. Ultimately, each of these narratives make clear the issues of positioning the Witch as the ultimate symbol of feminist empowerment, for, although they do contain empowered women, the power within each story is not distributed equally. The characters who are white, rich, and naturally gifted have greater advantages in these pieces than the characters who are poor and not white. In real life, these same factors drastically affect people in the same ways. While these narratives contain many more layers to unpack, especially surrounding race and ability, exploring them is beyond the scope of the current paper. Notably, these narratives of empowered witches can be further complicated through an in-depth analysis of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. I believe that we should complicate these narratives and question the limits of the Witch. We must turn a critical eye toward even the most liberating of symbols, for, too often, we will find aspects of such icons troubling. Feminists must be able to recognize even the most nuanced issues of representation, especially in the narratives we love and identify with the most. My intention in writing and researching this project was not to deem these narratives, deem even the Witch herself, unworthy of their importance in feminist history and conversation, but instead I wish to trouble our perceptions of them. In troubling the Witch, we can begin to unpack with more depth and more clarity how nuanced our relationships with power are. Perhaps then, we can begin to understand how easily unjust power dynamics can slip beneath perception.

Works Cited

American Horror Story: Coven. FX, 2013.

The Craft. Directed by Andrew Fleming. Columbia Pictures, 1996.

The Craft Embodied the 90s’ Third Wave Feminism. Will The Craft: Legacy Do The Same For Young Fourth Wave Feminists?” The Rogue Runway, The Rogue Runway, 1 Oct. 2020,

Daly, Mary. “Gyn/ecology.” Feminist Theory: A Reader, edited by Wendy K. Kolmar and Frances Bartkowski, McGraw-Hill, 2013, pp. 284-288.

Fenton, Zanita E. “No Witch is a Bad Witch: A Commentary on the Erasure of Matilda Joslyn Gage.” Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Vol. 20, 2010, University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-35. 2010. pp. 21-38.

Greene, Heather. Bell, Book and Camera: A Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television. MacFarland & Company, Inc., 2018. Print.

Lagace, Lisa. “How ‘The Craft’ Changed the Game for Female-Driven Teen Films.” Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 29 Mar. 2018,

Sempruch, Justyna. Fantasies of Gender and the Witch in Feminist Theory and Literature. Purdue University Press, 2008. Print.

Sollée, Kristen J. Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. ThreeL Media, 2017. Print. 

Zeisler, Andi. “Just How Witch-Tastic Is American Horror Story: Coven? A Point/Counterpoint.” Bitch Media, 18 Oct. 2013,


[1] For the purposes of this essay I will be using the term “Witch” with a capital W to refer to the archetypal figure/ symbol in feminist ideology. If the word “witch” is not capitalized it is because I’m referring to characters, witches historically, etc.

[2] Sollée, Kristen J. Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. ThreeL Media, 2017. Print. pp. 21.

[3] Sollée, Kristen J. Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. ThreeL Media, 2017. Print. pp. 51.

[4]The Craft Embodied the 90s’ Third Wave Feminism. Will The Craft: Legacy Do the Same

For Young Fourth Wave Feminists?” The Rogue Runway, The Rogue Runway, 1 Oct. 2020.

[5] Zeisler, Andi. “Just How Witch-Tastic Is American Horror Story: Coven? A Point/Counterpoint.” Bitch Media, 18 Oct. 2013.

[6] Lagace, Lisa. “How ‘The Craft’ Changed the Game for Female-Driven Teen Films.” Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 29 Mar. 2018.

Acknowledgements: Thank you Dr. Herles for supporting my work in this project. A very special thank you to Dr. Josh Bedford for encouraging me to publish this and for our many conversations about all things American Horror Story.

Citation Style: MLA