I’m not sure what got me thinking about witches. Maybe the commercial with the witch in the broom factory. My mind tends to hop from subject to subject, and I was thinking about bad men and I reminded myself there are bad women also. A mean old woman popped into my head, and I think it is the fear and revulsion that such women create that created the idea of witches.
We are told that social prejudice against widows caused witch scares. But the idea that old ladies are sweet and bake cookies and offer sage advice does not match with reality. Most people are pretty rotten, so why would old ladies as a subset be an exception?
I have known some evil old ladies in my life. My maternal grandmother was one. Yeah, she was a bitch. No need to sugar coat it. My mom’s sister leaned strongly in that direction. My mom, much as I hate her, was not one of those women, although she was under their influence. She died in her late 50’s, I don’t know if she had lived she would have become full-on evil.
A young, attractive woman who is cruel and gossips to hurt people will get cut a lot of slack. A young ugly woman of this type won’t get the same tolerance, but she will still get some as well as being socially subservient which will keep her in check. But menopause takes away women’s’ feminizing influence. On top of that age beats down and disappoints a lot of people. You can easily get an old woman who was no picnic when she was young, worn out, angry, deprived of the social constraints of women of reproductive age, who is just mean, ugly and bitter. If she is aggressive and socially dominant she can develop a new hobby of screwing with people, and among superstitious people may be regarded as a worker of evil- a witch, in other words.
I was trying to explain to someone recently that in Irish Catholic society, which is to say the Catholic culture of all English-speaking countries, priests don’t really run things, it’s old women who do. As a Catholic you go your whole life without any more that cursory and formal interaction with a priest. The people who will be teaching you, criticizing you, judging you, and maybe condemning you will be post-menopausal women. Usually married, sometimes like my aunt not. Women who are bitter about life, enjoy bullying and hate sex.
You can avoid your family- and if it contains any such witches I recommend that- but unless you are rich you have to work. I had some trouble at one job with such a mean old bitch. That job was hell anyway. Evil old bitches are to be avoided in the workplace.
The good news is witches aren’t real, and while evil old dried-up bitches can cause you a lot of trouble, they can’t turn you into a toad or anything. As with other bullies, avoid them and if you have to interact with them be businesslike, nonchalant and don’t show fear.