In the sixteenth century and seventeenth centuries it was women who were almost exclusively persecuted as witches. However, the witch craze has been subjected to surprisingly little feminist analysis. In Lewd Women and Wicked Witches, Marianne Hester reviews and develops revolutionary feminist thinking. Accordingly, she shows how witches can be seen as victims of the oppression of a male dominated society.
Concentrating on English source material, the author shows how witch-hunts may be seen as an historically specific example of male dominance. Relying on an eroticised construct of women's inferiority, they were part of the ongoing attempt by men to maintain their power over women.