The Witches Are Coming | Lindy West

Summary of: The Witches Are Coming
By: Lindy West

Introduction

Get ready to dive into ‘The Witches Are Coming’ by Lindy West, a powerful and thought-provoking examination of how society perpetuates misogyny and patriarchy. In this book summary, discover the ways in which various aspects of our culture from comedy to politics are dominated by men and the impact it has on women’s lives. West calls on all of us to use our privilege to challenge and change oppressive systems. With an engaging and user-friendly tone, the summary breaks down complex notions into an accessible and enlightening discussion that will resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

The Evolution of “Witch Hunt”

From Joan of Arc to #MeToo, the meaning of “witch hunt” has shifted. While historically it referred to the persecution of women, today it’s being used to undermine the credibility of men accused of sexual misconduct. This article debunks this false equivalence.

The Benefit of the Doubt

The Adam Sandler movies of the 1990s reflect a disturbing standard in our society – male mediocrity celebrated at the expense of women. The author uses Billy Madison’s character portrayal to illustrate the issue with white men failing upwards and getting away with it. Ted Bundy is then contrasted with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton in a debate which showcases that women are through incorrect judgment seen as unlikable. The author appeals that our society has to rethink this kind of granting such benefit of the doubt to men, regardless of their actions.

The Fallacy of “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

The notion of “can’t we all just get along” might seem appealing, but it’s flawed. It’s often used to deflect legitimate criticisms and maintain oppressive systems. In this context, even Chip and Joanna Gaines were accused of supporting conversion therapy, a practice that traumatizes and harms LGBTQ individuals. Yet some conservative supporters dismissed this as left-wing propaganda and invoked civility while ignoring other forms of nastiness and oppression. Invoking civility to deflect criticism is a tired trick. It’s essential to critique oppressive systems and institutions to promote justice.

Misogyny in Wellness Industry

The wellness industry, which sells products like organic face masks, bespoke juices, crystal-infused waters and rose-quartz face massagers, is built upon the age-old patriarchal system. Though these products promise health benefits, their underlying message is the enhancement of the most precious asset of women – their appearance. Self-care, in this context, is a solipsistic endeavor in a country where not everyone has access to quality healthcare. Further, the trend benefits only wealthy and white women, who are already privileged and insulated from problems that affect other groups of women. By perpetuating the pretence that candles and crystals are essential to women’s well-being, women like Gwyneth Paltrow fail to acknowledge their own privilege.

The False Equivalency of Satire

South Park, the animated series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is known for its subversive humor tackling topical political issues. However, the show’s equal-opportunity satire creates a false equivalency, suggesting both sides of politics are equally bad. This is insidious in a time when one side is denying millions of people healthcare, rolling back LGBTQ rights, detaining migrant children, and more. The show’s satire takes nihilistic extremes where issues are uncool, but humor is cool. Believing in nothing just endorses the status quo, and being offended is deemed uncool. This line of thinking hinders discourse and needs to stop.

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