Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's a witch supposed to look like?

It has to be the most enduring female stereotype -- the witch with her long nose, warts, broken teeth, a tall black hat, and a broomstick.

But who says witches -- who were originally wise women healers persecuted by the patriarchy -- ever looked like this?

That was the question raised way back in 1964 on the classic TV show "Bewitched" starring Elizabeth Montgomery (left).

In the episode "The Witches Are Out," Samantha's ad man husband, Darrin, encounters a client -- Mr.Brinkman--who wants a "highly-identifiable trademark" -- in the form of the traditional witch stereotype -- to promote his line of Halloween candy.

After some urging from Samantha, Darrin proposes a different approach to his client, which challenges the stereotype.

It takes some convincing, but in the end Mr. Brinkman buys the new campaign and it's a huge success.

Is the new image a little sexist -- maybe.

And yet, I think the theme of discrimination based on gender stereotyping clearly shines through.

Click on the link above to watch the episode -- courtesy of hulu -- and see what you think.

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