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Joining Forces: Teen Girl Witches and Internet Chat Groups
Unformatted Document Text:  Joining forces: Teen girl witches and Internet chat groups Trouble is brewing among parents, educators, and theologians concerned about young women's exploration of what is stereotypically regarded as Witchcraft (Coleman, 2005; Haggerty, 2005; Walter, 2005). The fire is fueled by recent Witch oriented television programs (Sabrina, Buffy, Charmed, and Mad, Mad House); movies (Harry Potter, Practical Magic) and Harry Potter books that have tapped into a ready, willing, and able market of teen girl fans. What might explain the interest and belief in Witches among today’s young (mostly) women? This paper explores the connection between adolescent girls’ search for spiritual identity, the appeal of Witchcraft, and their thoughts about television and film portrayals of Witches by examining discussions in on-line essays posted by self-identified teen girl Witches retrieved from the largest witch-oriented Web site, witchvox.com. In these writings, teen girl witches discuss representations of "Witchness” television programs and films, the authenticity and accuracy (or lack thereof) of the portrayals, and the impact these representations have on their daily lives. The findings reveal that, through the persistence of stereotypical media portrayals, the quality of teen girl witch lives are impacted in ways that are significant and serious with significant conflict within themselves and with peers, parents, and educators. This preliminary, exploratory study contributes not only to teen girl and media studies, but also to the emerging areas of youth culture, media, religion, and religion. Witchy woman When I was seven years old I knew what, or rather who, I wanted to be when I grew up: Samantha Stephens. In the television series Bewitched (1964-1972), Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha, a beautiful, interesting, intelligent, and confident Witch. Week after week Samantha rescued her nervous neighbors and hyperactive husband from disasters both domestic and mystic. With a wiggle of her pert little twitchy witch nose, she Joining forces 1

Authors: Merskin, Debra.
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Joining forces: Teen girl witches and Internet chat groups
Trouble is brewing among parents, educators, and theologians concerned about young
women's exploration of what is stereotypically regarded as Witchcraft (Coleman, 2005;
Haggerty, 2005; Walter, 2005). The fire is fueled by recent Witch oriented television programs
(Sabrina, Buffy, Charmed, and Mad, Mad House); movies (Harry Potter, Practical Magic) and
Harry Potter books that have tapped into a ready, willing, and able market of teen girl fans.
What might explain the interest and belief in Witches among today’s young (mostly) women?
This paper explores the connection between adolescent girls’ search for spiritual identity, the
appeal of Witchcraft, and their thoughts about television and film portrayals of Witches by
examining discussions in on-line essays posted by self-identified teen girl Witches retrieved from
the largest witch-oriented Web site, witchvox.com. In these writings, teen girl witches discuss
representations of "Witchness” television programs and films, the authenticity and accuracy (or
lack thereof) of the portrayals, and the impact these representations have on their daily lives. The
findings reveal that, through the persistence of stereotypical media portrayals, the quality of teen
girl witch lives are impacted in ways that are significant and serious with significant conflict
within themselves and with peers, parents, and educators. This preliminary, exploratory study
contributes not only to teen girl and media studies, but also to the emerging areas of youth
culture, media, religion, and religion.
Witchy woman
When I was seven years old I knew what, or rather who, I wanted to be when I grew up:
Samantha Stephens. In the television series Bewitched (1964-1972), Elizabeth Montgomery
played Samantha, a beautiful, interesting, intelligent, and confident Witch.
Week after week Samantha rescued her nervous neighbors and hyperactive husband from
disasters both domestic and mystic. With a wiggle of her pert little twitchy witch nose, she
Joining forces 1


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