In the Advice Project’s Uppity Witches class for teens of all genders, we spent the first few weeks learning about witches, witch hunts, and the treatment of women in Prehistory, Early Modern European History, and contemporary Cameroonian society. We discussed the idea of “the third degree,” patriarchy, and the construction of gender, and we watched clips from a few Disney films featuring both old, ugly witches and young, naive girls. Students wondered why witches are often portrayed as old women, while young, beautiful protagonists traditionally need to be saved by strong, brave men.
Our Uppity Witches students are currently rewriting folk tales, scenes from films, or other stories to give them a feminist twist. Naomi is working on a hilarious version of Beauty and the Beast that adds Belle’s mother into the story. Why is it, Naomi wonders, that mothers often missing from folk stories such as Beauty and the Beast and Snow White?
Alexander, Talullah, and Jennie Belle are also rewriting Beauty and the Beast. Each student in their small group has assumed the identity of a character and is writing diary entries that expose the misogyny of Gaston, Belle’s father, and the Beast, while also illuminating an alleged case of Stockholm Syndrome…
Sophie is revising a 20-page feminist revisionist piece she wrote based on the 80s film, Hocus Pocus, while Katherine is writing a backstory and feminist monologue for the Head Witch from Roald Dahl’s novel, The Witches.
We look forward to sharing completed pieces of work by our Uppity Witches with you. Stay tuned!