The Dangers of Censorship: Witch Hunts, Patriarchy and the Big Bad Nipple

    by Angela Kaufman

    Like the transition from worldwide pagan cultures to Christian dominance, the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy came about gradually.

    Europe’s crusades against any remnants of female power through the crusades against Witches were a final phase of instituting the power of male dominant ideology.

    God and the trinity had become masculine. The Goddess had been dethroned. Magick had been reserved only for acts of God or saints, also predominantly male.

    The ability to heal was suspect if it was the result of a midwife or medicine woman or man, acceptable only if delivered through divine intervention or later, science.

    The war against women’s power took numerous forms.

    The transmogrification of pagan holy sites and holy days. The changing of laws allowing women to lead, own property or participate in powerful roles in the community.

    Then there were the more extreme, aggressive forms of oppression. Outright persecution.

    The overt persecution of witches, sanctioned by the relatively newly empowered church, served to oppress not only pagans but also women.

    In the 15th century, two German monks, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, wrote a manual for hunting down and killing alleged witches.

    image source

    The Malleus Maleficarum, or Witches’ Hammer, asserts repeatedly that women are not to be trusted.

    Aside from numerous claims about the dangers of witches and witchcraft, the book also makes it clear that women are dangerous.

    “It is well known” the book asserts, “that women have special powers over the male member.”

    This core argument is the basis of all subsequent measures to oppress, censor and fear women.

    The message that men are helpless in the presence of the female body. The idea that women can wield superhuman power, especially sexual power, over men.

    Perhaps it is this threat, moreso than any perceived competition with the church, that inspired men to torture and kill millions under the guise of eradicating witchcraft.

    Perhaps it is this ongoing perception, surviving in the present day, that drives society to shame women who are victimized by men.

    The perception that women can induce uncontrollable sexual impulses in men and therefore must be hidden, covered or careful not to arouse such passions, less all Hell break loose.

    An ideology which doesn’t give men much credit for self control or rationality, but which nonetheless survives into modern times.

    Perhaps this is also the ideology that leaves so many, men and women, living in fear of the female nipple.

    Facebook has come under fire recently for repeatedly censoring images of the female nipple.

    The companies’ decision to censor images of nipples on breast cancer screening campaigns to censoring art.

    Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting Lady Liberty Leading the People was deemed pornographic by the social media platform. The company later issued an apology.

    Yet they continue to indiscriminately censor breasts.

    Last week for Winter Solstice, I shared an article on Facebook featuring an image from my book Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down- Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen (Conari, 2018). The image of the Queen of Pentacles shows an earthy, abundant woman who personifies the energy of the Queen of Pentacles.

    art by Shaheen Miro, author owns the rights to this image

    Facebook deleted the post and notified me that I had violated their community safety standards.

    That’s right. My post, about finding empowerment through positive connection with the archetypal energy of the Tarot Queens, was considered pornographic.

    I thought I was the only one who found archetypes so exciting….

    Annoying as this censorship is, and the fact that even my appeal to Facebook was denied, there is a darker side to these acts of exclusion.

    Refusing to allow empowering, positive, beautiful images of the female body, or the male body, is dangerous.

    It continues an ages old dissociation between body and soul. It encourages objectification.

    It is a form of oppression. Such censorship blocks out any image of positive, powerful femininity, while allowing the continued objectification of the female, and male, form.

    It allows the continued commercialization of breasts, because everyone knows, sex sells.

    Yet this disconnects us from the beauty of the female form, reinforcing only the idea that breasts and especially nipples, are sexual.

    It reinforces the notion that we must disconnect from what is powerful, nurturing and magickal about women’s energy and the physical form.

    Our bodies are suitable for advertising or for creating fantasies to entertain men, but must not be displayed for any other purpose.

    Perhaps the people at Facebook are afraid of the power of women. Perhaps they feel threatened by the big, bad nipple.

    Perhaps they have bought into a notion encoded into western society centuries ago, that men will not be able to resist the power of women’s sexuality.

    Perhaps it is time for women to show the patriarchy in all its forms, just how powerful we really are.

    image source



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    About the Author:

    Angela Kaufman is an Intuitive Empowerment Coach, and author of the book, Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down- Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen (2018, Conari Press). She specializes in blending the mystical and mundane to help women at the crossroads connect with their core sources of power to overcome obstacles. She is also an activist and artist. For more information visit





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