by rantywoman

Stigmas, stereotypes, and conflicting messages abound for women living in today’s world. For women caught in these seemingly impossible conflicts, it takes on the feel of being trapped in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t world. Kathleen Hall Jamieson aptly describes this phenomenon in her 1995 book, Beyond the Double Bind, by opening with a reference to the witch trials of the 1600s. She writes, “In 1631, in Cautio Criminalis, Julius Friedrich Spee identified one no win situation in which prosecutors placed women accused of witchcraft. The suspect witch was submerged in a pond. If she drowned, she deserved to; if she didn’t, she was a witch. In the first case, god was revealing her nature; in the second, the devil.” Hall Jamieson points out that centuries later, “the penalties are disdain and financial loss, not death, and the sanctions social, not theological, but it can still be hazardous for a woman to venture out beyond her ‘proper sphere.'”