Updated: Mar 12
Review by Kelly
Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive is written by Kristen J Sollee, and she is also the founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive feminist website, as well she is a lecturer at The New School. This book is set to be a “...primer (that) highlights sexual liberation as it traces the lineage of “witch feminism.” As women in horror, the Spinsters of Horror, though we don’t specifically state we are a feminist project, we lean towards the feminine in our thoughts, work and selections of themes and films. Since Spinster #1 is a total Witch, and myself being a full on slut, I thought this would be a good time to engage with a book of this nature. Also, with its bold, dramatic and beautiful cover, I knew I had to read it for Witch month.
The book is separated into short chapters covering a vast number of mediums that the Witch is used as a symbol for female empowerment. From the witch in art, fashion and music to learning more about the Salem witch trials, this book is quite impressive in its span of subject matter. There are also quirky illustrations throughout it, adding to the charm of the overall premise. It keeps the content light but doesn’t take away the seriousness of the book as a whole. The image of the witch isn’t, and hasn’t always, been seen positively, as Sollee gets into details of the medieval witch hunts and even mentioning the murders of women in places like Ghana and Tanzania. It’s horrendous.
Witches, Sluts, Feminists is a quick, easy read and definitely has the ability to pique the interests of those who want to explore any of the topics further. As someone who hasn’t looked much into the image of the Witch, this was a great introductory guide to her. There is a fantastic quote within the book that really spoke to me and reached something deep inside me: “ In the face of oppression, the witch reminds us what we can and have overcome, and illuminates the path to power beyond patriarchy.” What an incredible statement.
I did find the the abrupt changes in chapters to be challenging to read. There wasn’t a generalized flow between them so my consumption of the book was sporadic at best. At 163 pages long, I would have loved for this book to be at least another 50 pages in length. I wanted to be given a little more witch info! However, as a introductory book, I understand the brevity of it.
I would definitely recommend this book to any interested in what “witch feminism” means. Is it eye opening? Yes. Is it life changing? Not for me. However, it might be for you so grab this book when you can! Treat yourself, you deserve it.