The Role Of Gender During The Witch Hunts Essay

The Role Of Gender During The Witch Hunts Essay

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The healers and people most trusted during Early Modern Europe with healing the community were typically women. But if the remedy they gave to help heal an ailment did not work, or caused more harm, they were given the title of witch. Many community healers during this time were convicted of witchcraft, and were sentenced to death. Mostly women were convicted of witchcraft, but men were being convicted as well. Those running the trials were close with the church, and were highly respected individuals. This essay will analyze the role of gender during the witch hunts and trials in Early Modern Europe. First, I will look at the way men, women, and witches of both genders were stereotyped. Second, I will analyze the difference between men and women in medicinal fields. Lastly, I will look at the trials, and at the bias of the Inquisition. Witchcraft trials were biased by the church, and this lead to gender stereotypes in everyday life, therefore influencing the witch hunts to target anyone who did not fit the gender stereotype.
Traditional gender roles were highly held up during Early Modern Europe. Men ran the communities, with their jobs providing support to the community. Men were the usual business owners; some were barbers, metal smiths, farmers, or priests. The idea of male witches was a not an unheard of idea at this time. Male witches were being executed, and made up 20-25% of those executed during the witch hunts. Depending on the region of Europe, there were more male persecutions than female. There were four countries that were executing more men than women: Iceland (92%), Normandy (73%), Estonia (60%), and Burgundy (52%). In these countries, women were also being executed, but were at a lower execution rate than the men...


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...e time, as well as by the church. Men and women were stereotyped into the role of their gender, and those who did not fit, were the ones thought to be witches. Even though the barbers were performing medical procedures, the mid-wives and healers were looked at as the ones who caused harm upon a person. During trial, the gender bias was there, as men were the judges. This essay has looked at the gender role in Early Modern Europe, and at what constituted as a witch. But what is more commonly missed is the fact that men could also be witches. Modern scholars often see the concept of a person being a witch as a female, and not as a male. There is historical evidence for the male witch, but it is a theory often left behind for the concept of female witches. Even hundreds of years later, the witchcraft hunts of Early Modern Europe are affecting our conception of witches.

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