Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cartoon Stereotypes

The other day I caught a few minutes of the cartoon the Simpsons. It was a Halloween episode and while I'm not the biggest fan, my husband is. In this episode, Lisa (who is the show's voice of reason and open-mindedness) is dressed in a witch costume. Her mom exclaims, "Oh Lisa you're a witch" to which Lisa replies... I'm Wiccan... why does a strong confident woman get labelled (or something to that effect). While I was happy for the sensitivity of the creators for making a statement, there was still a hint of negativity associated with the term "witch." My earliest recollection of a witch was a cartoon I enjoyed as a five year old. It was Casper the Friendly Ghost and his companion Wendy the Good Witch. Remembering back to my five year old mind, the characters seemed as very real to me. I loved both of them, even though it seemed the world conspired against them. I was painfully shy at the time and they seemed like good friends to have. Then came the barrage of negative stereotypes for witches brought to us by Disney. Some were attractive, some ugly, but all had their element of evil. I thought it was cool that they could use spells and make potions and I remember thinking, if they can do magic why wouldn't they use it for good? As I grew older, I realized that appearances are not good indicators of character and old prejudices die hard. I began studying the occult in high school and at the time, the only books on witchcraft that I could find also contained spells that seemed rather spiteful and mean-spirited. I knew that I had some special talents, that were outside the belief of most people and so I kept them to myself. But as I got older, books found me and I became intrigued that other people also had these "gifts" and some were as kind and gentle as I felt myself to be. I am comfortable now with my status as a Witch... more so than Wiccan which I consider a religion. I am a strong confident woman who enjoys myself and my unique gifts and for that I would not make apologies. I might, however, refrain from advertising my status, as the word "witch" is still frightful to some people. Tolerance seems to be moving in the right direction, and I only wish Disney could redress the stereotypes.


  1. Great post, I call myself a witch and trust me living in the buckle of the bible belt, that's not always easy, but you are so correct about the manner in which people are portrayed.

    Thank you for the incredibly thoughtful post!

  2. I love that line "in the buckle of the bible belt." I feel for you having visited there, and don't think I would venture to announce in a public place my occult belief. There is a quiet pleasure in having people like you for who you are... knowing that if the word witch was connected, it would then cause a bit of confusion. I have old friends who are born-again Christian and we just agree to disagree... and talk about other things. Thank you for your comment!