can we talk about this modern use of the phrase “witch hunt”?
Witch hunts were a tool of oppression. Women who resisted the power of men were accused of having evil supernatural powers. They were jailed, tortured and executed for the mere act of not being obeisant.
There is no comparative action that women could take against men, today. Women are still not the demographic with the social power to oppress men, so any action they are taking can’t be a tool for wielding that power in order to keep men in their place.
I most commonly hear this phrase conjured up when a man is being accused of sexual or child abuse. That’s not an imaginary superpower. It’s very real. It happens far too often. Liking these accusations to those of accusing women of being witches is patently absurd.
The burden of proof in our legal system for crimes of a sexual or abusive nature is very high. The burden of proof for women accused of being a witch was about nil. So, no comparison there, either.
It is highly, highly offensive for men to try to play the victim of oppression by tossing this phrase out. Men are not victims of women. Patriarchy is still very much in place. Even when it is finally expunged from our culture, men won’t be victims. Being of equal stature and being accountable for how you treat others is not victimhood. Meanwhile, there is no pattern of “witch hunts” going on. Perhaps the closest possibility is the criminalization of drugs and the use of those laws to oppress people of color. But when it comes to gender relations, here simply is nothing appropriate about it. There is so much logical fallacy in using the phrase that it is clear that a dialog has gone off the rails. And it’s the person using the phrase who is driving it there.