The Season of the Witch: Feminist Discourses of Empowerment and Spirituality by the Contemporary Witch on Instagram
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Cultural trends like the witch are often indicators of bigger societal issues. This paper argues that the cultural obsession with the contemporary witch reflects (conscious or unconscious) engagement with feminist discourses. Through a combined visual and discourse analysis of 120 Instagram posts by 12 popular witches, I assess how these witches employ feminist discourses. This thesis focusses on the two subjects that return frequently on the Instagram witch’s page: empowerment and spirituality. I discuss how witches on Instagram claim to empower themselves through their spirituality. This spiritual practice prioritizes the wellbeing of the witch and teaches them to find the goddess within themselves. The discourses that the Instagram witch employs have proven to be similar to those within feminism. However, apart from encouraging their followers to empower themselves from within, the witch also teaches them that some things will inevitably affect their life, such as astrological events. Both feminists and contemporary witches are balancing between on the one hand the pursuit of an individual feeling of independence and on the other hand the realization that some external influences (such as astrological events and oppressive social structures) will inevitably affect a woman’s experiences. My analysis has made it evident that these witches employ discourses that correspond with the feminist debate on empowerment and spirituality. However, it is up for discussion whether these discourses contribute effectively to the empowerment of women in general.