The priestess ascending: subversion and hegemony in Wiccan constructions of gender
Sammanfattning: The image of the priestess in Wicca, a duotheistic Pagan mystery and witchcraft tradition founded in the mid-20th century by British civil servant Gerald Gardner, has changed dramatically during the last few decades. Wiccans work together in autonomous groups, traditionally lead by a High Priestess and a High Priest. Gardner envisioned the ideal priestess as submissive, sweet and nurturing, more of a muse than an organisationally powerful force in her own right. During the 1970’s, Wicca was integrated with American radical feminism, enabling a revisioning of priestess femininity. Wiccans are subverting the traditional associations between physical femaleness and traditionally feminine traits, making it a cultural ideal for women to appropriate traditionally masculine and dominant characteristics. This subversion of the gender system has enabled priestess femininity as equated with the stereotypically male attributes of authority, proficiency and knowledge to be elevated to a subcultural ideal, with the consequence that women today are more important than men in the Wiccan community. In different ways, this may affect the future gender balance and views of LGBT issues in the Wiccan community, as well as constructions of gender in wider society.
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