Witches, Sluts, Feminists – Conjuring the sex positive by Kristen J. Sollee is a brilliant read. This book brought me to artist Leonor Fini, who I previously blogged about, but more than that it is an insightful look into our contested identities as women.
The triple Goddess as I like to call us – Witch, Slut Feminist – Maiden, Mother, Crone – Madonna, Goddess, Whore – woman are all these things and this book goes along way in helping us embrace all our identities. Helping us reclaim and be empowered despite our tortuous history of misogyny, Sollee juxtaposes scholarly research on the demonisation of women and female sexuality that has continued since the witch hunts with pop occulture analysis.
Kristen Sollee teaches undergraduate studies in gender at The New School and is founding editrix of Slutist, an award winning sex positive website. She also curates the annual Legacy of the Witch charity festival in Brooklyn, New York. She interviews activists, artists, scholars and Witchcraft practitioners for this book that enriches the current conversations about all womens issues including reproductive rights, sexual pleasure, queer identity, sex work and more.
Personally I found it such a great read that I was highlighting so much of the text because it resonated with me enormously. My life as a woman and what I want to convey in my artistic practice is all in this book. I’m sure I was burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft in a previous life and I think thats part of the appeal but the fact that being a healer or a midwife was classed as witchcraft says a lot! The patriarchy was alive and well back then and still is in many countries. The world turns but the rights of women is a very slow burn. The fact that religious and government officials, particularly in America, leverage their positions to thwart female bodily autonomy is just disgraceful and really does make you ask “How far have we truly come?”
I was reading this book in conjunction with “See What You Made Me do” by Jess Hill. That book is brilliant but can be a really tough read and I still haven’t finished it. While both books are about the horrendous abuses suffered by women Hill’s research is a thorough investigation into domestic violence in Australia whereas Sollee’s research dates back centuries and she uses humour to help lighten the mood because a she says “You can’t make this stuff up”. Thats how ridiculous some of crazy stories were about witches and women.
Anyway it is time we reclaim the term “Slut” to mean a sexually empowered person like the term “stud” for a man and I for one have already started. I actually started years ago but I’m putting more energy into it these days. No longer should any of us feel shamed being a Witch, Slut, Feminist – after all I am all 3 plus more!
So while I busy myself trying to come up with an acronym for SLUT – Sexual Lady Ultra Tasty? Hahaha! I will continue my slutty, artistic, Witchcraft practice, and conjure more themes of empowerment for my fellow Goddesses. Through my art I hope to empower us all to be stronger, braver and free to be the best version of our femme selves in all our forms.
Madonna Goddess Whore! This will be the title of my ADR!