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Proof that it's now cool to be a witch.

Byline: CATHERINE TURNELL

WITCHES have shaken off 2,000 years of bad press to become a positive symbol of female power in TV and film, says a Warwick University researcher.

Gone is the image of old, stooped women casting evil spells in pointy hats. The word witch is more likely to be synonymous with powerful fresh- faced young women.

In fact, the image of witchcraft has shaken off its murky past and is now decidedly feminine and cool.

Rachel Moseley, lecturer in film and television studies, says the shift can be seen in TV shows such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Char-med or films The Craft and Practical Magic.

In her paper Glamorous Witchcraft, Moseley says programmes like Sab-rina are positive, giving girls power fantasies, while the magic also helps the lead character deal with school and romantic entanglements.

She said: "With the exception of Harry Potter, celluloid representations of witches are still typically female.

"Historically, witches have been outcasts and much of this unease clearly stems from a fear of female force. The teenage witch genre articulates a new powerful image of femininity. It's not that the hag and herb potions have become hip, rather witchcraft has become synonymous with power and girlie magic."

The paper will be published in Screen magazine.

catherine.turnell@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

MAGIC: Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina (top) and Buffy the vampire slayer
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 26, 2003
Words:236
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