Angela Ackerman ran another of her terrific thesauruses, this one covering symbols considered evil (link below). Witches, of course, made the list. Because when you think of them, they're always nasty, right?
We all know the classic witches. The snaggle-toothed crone offering Snow White deadly fruit. The green-skinned hag coveting Dorothy’s ruby slippers. The withered beldam fattening up the children who nibbled at her house. Nothing nice about ‘em.
I don't have a problem with the label. It's a stereotype, sure, but therein lies the challenge. A well-crafted villainess is a delight to read; the trick is to give readers a flesh-and-blood character, one neither wholly bad nor absolutely pure. Something in-between Glinda’s saccharine sweetness and Elphaba’s deviltry. A few authors who have already done so:
Of course, there’s a cultural bias against women who exert their prowess, particularly those who attune themselves to nature. Condemning them as consorts of the devil is an easy way to mask fear and ignorance. So, while a few books may attempt to mitigate the damage, I doubt there will ever be a time when we don’t associate witches with evil. The connection is too ingrained in our collective unconscious.
What do you think?