“Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell” (W.I.T.C.H) was the name of quite a few loosely related feminist groups active in the 60s, just as “the witch hunt” was the search and persecution of women suspected of performing acts of magic such as spells, evils and bills in 16th century Europe of the Inquisition, as well as that of maccartism in the 50’s. But the figure of the witch has never abandoned the contemporary imagination, especially the adolescent one, just think of the series Witches or Buffy the vampire killer in the nineties and zero.
But today the witch icon takes on new meanings, especially in the USA, not only aesthetic but also mystical. The modern incarnation of witch culture in the #MeToo era now includes various profiles of liberal feminists: from the young New Yorkers of Brujas (“witches” in Spanish), a team of skateborders who founded their own clothing line called 1971 and which presents strong political messages, to older women who combine the stereotype of the cliché sexually outspoken and psychologically mysterious, to a strong criticism of the Trump administration, a strong return to feminist values and sisterhood among women, but also a closeness to interests such as Yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
The first quotations from the witchish world for commercial purposes have begun, such as Urban Outfitters’ t-shirts with the inscription “Boss Ass Witch” or a series of coworking spaces for women called coven. A recent article by the New Yorker then tells of a photographic exhibition by Frances F. Denny that tries to analyze the figure of the contemporary witch beyond those cultural barriers that have enveloped and obscured her.
Recently, with the recent remakes of the horror film Suspiria and the series Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix there has been a real “seasonalization” of the figure of the witch compared to Halloween. It’s the wellness and beauty sector that are grasping this trend, in particular Goop, the beauty-wellness brand of Gwyneth Paltrow: healing oils and crystals, bath salts and vitamin powders for skin rejuvenation are the most requested products, all linked to the world of lunar beauty and the world of witches. In this context Nextatlas has identified a trend called Vain Witches that crosses mysticism, magic imagery, make-up and the wellness and beauty sector and that is interesting in most countries, both Western and Eastern.