Since I originally posted this piece two things have happened 1) Tova’s story and video were moved to HuffPo’s Religion section 2) my complaint about it being in Weird News was deleted from the comments. Other than that, everything else about the piece stayed the same…including the proper names being lower-case and the whole “self-identified” bit.
I just saw a Huffington Post bit in my feed about Tova, a Witch mother. I was actually happy until I saw those words I hate so much… Self-Identified. Then I saw the word Witch written as witch. But the real kicker…it landed in HuffPo’s “Weird News” section. I have to admit, I didn’t watch the video. I only read what the producer, Ricky Camilleri, wrote (or let be written). Honestly, that was plenty.
First let me talk about the “self-identified” part. I hate this term. Every one of us in every religious path or belief is “self-identified”. But it seems that only those of us in the Pagan traditions get the disclaimer label pasted on us.
Self-proclaimed, so-called, self-identified…these disclaimers need to die. And not just die, but die slowly and painfully violent; bleeding, thrashing and screaming the whole way. They need to die in a fiery and brutally violent way.
Why? Why are we only “self-identified”? Why do news and media outlets keep using this diminishing term to describe us? Do they think that we don’t have a community? Do they think we lack understanding of all religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) as being inherently “self-identified”? Do they, themselves, lack that same understanding?
I am not a “self-identified” Pagan. I. AM. A. PAGAN. No disclaimers, no diminishing identifiers. I AM.
Also, we’re not pagans and witches. We are Pagans and Witches. Just like they aren’t muslims, christians, jews, we aren’t either.
Oh but my biggest problem is that this ended up under “Weird News”. How dare you?! How dare you decide we’re a sideshow level religion that needs to be filed under “weird”! We are not “Weird News”. Do you post information about practitioners of other faiths under “Weird News” when you present a, supposedly, informative article or video about them? How do you expect to get people to be open and understanding about a minority religion if you categorize them as “weird” from the word go?
Tova is a mother speaking about how her faith is perceived by others and how it effects her life and her parenting. Why didn’t HuffPo decide that this belonged in their Parenting section? They essentially dismissed her and her family, and their struggles to exist as a regular family, as a sideshow act by putting her story under their Weird section.
I really wish that people whose job it is to deal in words actually understood the full power of them. Clearly, they do not in this case.
I am LIVID over seeing this. I thought that we had already had this argument with the big media outlets during the Pentacle Quest. Why are we back to this same old garbage again?
This is especially infuriating since HuffPo was actually very supportive of our people during the struggle against the VA a few years back. This is such a disappointment.
I do apologize to the Lady Tova for being so incensed over how she and her family were presented and represented by The Huffington Post that I did not watch her video. I was not going to give this kind of demeaning attitude even a second of my time. It’s possible that she, herself, saw that this would be best represented as being Weird News, and I do understand that this possibility exists. I even understand why one of us would choose to present ourselves in this way in an effort to minimize outside damages. She does have children after all. But if HuffPo made the placement decision on their own….
My bottom line here is that we will never be able to conduct ourselves within the confines of the status quo as long as we are consistantly being presented as automatically being outsiders. I am very dissapointed to see this.
I do also understand that HuffPo isn’t exactly considered a real news source…but a lot of people view it as such. If they wanted to be taken seriously, they should have acted more seriously.