I open Instagram. I see a few pairs of beer eyes and boobs strapped into clinging latex suits. Faces multiply before my eyes and I briefly lose my balance. I bump against the bumpy curves of my buttocks after lipotransfer and land on lips swollen from syringes. For a moment, I look at the muse bent into unnatural shapes, who froze in stillness. I see them shying away from smiling. Probably to avoid wrinkles. The five faces eventually merge into a single, contoured physics, with a name beginning with K.
I feel a little nauseous, so I look away and look for hope elsewhere. In opposition to the cult of youth, I find an article about Sophie Fontanel. I read that a fifty-year-old writer, decided to stop the lifelong preservation of her body and infuriated the world when she… stopped coloring herself. She documented the process of regrowing gray hair on Instagram, which caused quite a scandal. Why would gray hair outrage anyone? Because an energetic woman with a light grey head does not fit the model of the invisible, an old lady – a role that an appearance-obsessed society, along with the first silver strand of hair, has somehow assigned to her.
If one were to dig deeper, it turns out that hairstyle has much more cultural significance. Hair is strongly associated with female sexuality, as it has been accepted as indicative of the attractiveness and health of its possessor. Long and shiny are the domain of youngsters. Short, or tied in elaborate buns, they are an attribute of older ladies. We see hair as an indicator of reproductive ability, as evidenced, for example, by bread braided in the shape of a braid – a symbol of fertility.
And so, in a world where women are taught from an early age that the source of their identity is to be the provision of care-services to third parties(aka motherhood), gray hair is nothing more than an official confirmation of a woman’s expiration date. Of course, having offspring can be a source of joy and love, but the female part of society we put in an even row, just to make them believe that their only mission in life is to get pregnant. At a certain age, it is no longer appropriate for women to flaunt their carnality, as sexuality seems to have a right to exist solely in terms of trying to keep the human species alive.
We are so afraid of women who derive pleasure from sex for sex’s sake that we have even created a separate category for them – the caricatured figure of the ugly, bent whore who lives on the sidelines and is dangerous. It’s hard to sell it as a role model, as it has had some pretty poor PR dragging behind it for several centuries now. Kidnapping children, licentious sex with the Devil, ritual murders, running naked through the woods with disheveled hair, or loud, diabolical laughter do not help to change the unfavorable image. She was suspected of casting charms and burned at the stake, but the witch, as she was referred to, was a threat to others because she represented everything that a compliant woman was not.
In medieval times, it was not difficult to earn the title of witch. Having a strong character, having an opinion, attending mass too often, or simply talking to a neighbor was enough to arouse suspicion. Opposing male opinion, the witches broke the pattern of the good girl, for which they were caught out and effectively silenced. Pretty soon it became clear that the mass murder of women had as much to do with the church’s struggle against evil as the control of reproductive rights had to do with the protection of new life. Of course, in both cases, this reeks a mile away of a social system in which power belongs to the man, which perhaps suggests that witch hunts never ended, but rather changed their form.
Waves of women’s protests are rising around the world, and those involved themselves are shaking the dust off the witch, reclaiming a symbol that reminds them of what was almost forgotten – their own power. Today, the witch functions as an archetype, showing the model of a woman liberated from all domination. A woman who talks about her needs, listens to her intuition, fulfills herself as a mother, and doesn’t apologize to anyone for how much she weighs.
Where to meet her? Certainly not on Bald Mountain or in the skies on a broomstick. The witch represents our wild side, so it should be sought within our own inner self. Can he do magic? Sure! But it’s a little different than we think. For today, the real magic is the belief in sisterhood and equality beyond differences. And the satanic romance? Well, perhaps the Devil that the medieval inquisitors feared so much was female independence.
Read another column: Space cookie and rectal cocaine