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The priestess ascending: subversion and hegemony in Wiccan constructions of gender

Hedenborg White, Manon LU (2012) RHIK20 20112
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Abstract
The image of the priestess in Wicca, a duotheistic Pagan mystery and witchcraft tradition founded in the mid-20th century by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, has changed dramatically during the last few decades. Wiccans work together in autonomous groups, traditionally lead by a High Priestess and a High Priest. Gardner envisioned the ideal priestess as submissive, sweet and nurturing, more of a muse than an organisationally powerful force in her own right. During the 1970’s, Wicca was integrated with American radical feminism, enabling a revisioning of priestess femininity. Wiccans are subverting the traditional associations between physical femaleness and traditionally feminine traits, making it a cultural ideal for women to... (More)
The image of the priestess in Wicca, a duotheistic Pagan mystery and witchcraft tradition founded in the mid-20th century by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, has changed dramatically during the last few decades. Wiccans work together in autonomous groups, traditionally lead by a High Priestess and a High Priest. Gardner envisioned the ideal priestess as submissive, sweet and nurturing, more of a muse than an organisationally powerful force in her own right. During the 1970’s, Wicca was integrated with American radical feminism, enabling a revisioning of priestess femininity. Wiccans are subverting the traditional associations between physical femaleness and traditionally feminine traits, making it a cultural ideal for women to appropriate traditionally masculine and dominant characteristics. This subversion of the gender system has enabled priestess femininity as equated with the stereotypically male attributes of authority, proficiency and knowledge to be elevated to a subcultural ideal, with the consequence that women today are more important than men in the Wiccan community. In different ways, this may affect the future gender balance and views of LGBT issues in the Wiccan community, as well as constructions of gender in wider society. (Less)
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author
Hedenborg White, Manon LU
supervisor
organization
course
RHIK20 20112
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Wicca, gender, femininity, Butler, Connell
language
English
id
2293708
date added to LUP
2012-01-18 22:19:26
date last changed
2015-12-14 13:35:39
@misc{2293708,
  abstract     = {The image of the priestess in Wicca, a duotheistic Pagan mystery and witchcraft tradition founded in the mid-20th century by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, has changed dramatically during the last few decades. Wiccans work together in autonomous groups, traditionally lead by a High Priestess and a High Priest. Gardner envisioned the ideal priestess as submissive, sweet and nurturing, more of a muse than an organisationally powerful force in her own right. During the 1970’s, Wicca was integrated with American radical feminism, enabling a revisioning of priestess femininity. Wiccans are subverting the traditional associations between physical femaleness and traditionally feminine traits, making it a cultural ideal for women to appropriate traditionally masculine and dominant characteristics. This subversion of the gender system has enabled priestess femininity as equated with the stereotypically male attributes of authority, proficiency and knowledge to be elevated to a subcultural ideal, with the consequence that women today are more important than men in the Wiccan community. In different ways, this may affect the future gender balance and views of LGBT issues in the Wiccan community, as well as constructions of gender in wider society.},
  author       = {Hedenborg White, Manon},
  keyword      = {Wicca,gender,femininity,Butler,Connell},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The priestess ascending: subversion and hegemony in Wiccan constructions of gender},
  year         = {2012},
}