Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.

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Update on the “witch kits” from Sephora

Earlier I wrote about witch kits for sale at Sephora. As of the fifth, Pinrose has decided to pull the witch kits from Sephora. I’m ok with this for a couple of reasons.

As long as Trump continues to use the words “witch” and “witch hunt” in his stochastic terrorism, we’re going to see an uptick in crimes like this one from Dallas. In this case, the criminal in question appears to be trying to bring attention to a police shooting, but his flyers are claiming that “witchery by mob of females” tried to kill him. His flyers are a little word salad-y, but the fact that this is making national news and claiming witches are behind police violence is dangerous to people who claim the title. And Sephora should not be making money off that title when people can get hurt. I shouldn’t have to explain that.

Jason Mankey points out in his response to the recall, witchcraft has always been a commodity. And that’s true, historically many flavors of witchcraft have sold their services. I totally down with that, as long as the service providers are being properly compensated. But I’m not ok with a corporation claiming that title as a way to push their product. Especially because it doesn’t sound like they properly compensated Vera Petruk for her tarot artwork.

My last point is a response to Jason Mankey. In his post, he says “Pinrose is a woman-owned business and all of their products are made in the United States. This is the kind of company many of us love”. Now, I want to support women-owned businesses and the Native American owned businesses Pinrose claims to support. But I’m once burned, twice shy on those counts. The cosmetic and woman-centric industries are full of shady companies that use wordplay to make it seem like they’re something they’re not. Jen Gunter has an excellent takedown of a group that does this sort of thing for tampons. Further, where I live there is a roaring tourist industry surrounding the tribes and their products. The money is so good, many non-Native people claim to be in order to get in the market. Given that many of Native and Dine artists around here live near or below the poverty level, anyone who lies to get in the market is a privileged douche of the highest order.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I have certain standards for my consumerism.

  1. If I’m buying magick products, I want it from a person I can confirm is real and can pay fairly.
  2. If a seller is taking on a label like woman-owned or Native, I want to confirm that they are, so I know my money is going where I want it to.
  3. Corporations and companies should be aware enough to sell stupid shit that plays into dangerous narratives.

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Sephora offers “witch kits”. Just no.

In October, Sephora will start to sell a “Starter Witch Kit” from Pinrose. It’s a box of perfumes with tarot cards, sage, and a rose quartz, and it sells for $42 plus tax.

I’m going to put this warning right here, I love Halloween. As a Libra, I love October. As a white girl, I love pumpkin spice. But this time of year also makes me super irritable, because people turn witchcraft into a capitalist boost.

I get it, October is the perfect time to use witchcraft as a capitalist/consumerist gimmick to more people to buy your product. And thanks to irresponsible representation and claims by foolish celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, the beauty industry is incorporating mysticism and magick into its toxic portfolio. I am not ok with that.

I, like most women, do use cosmetics. I have a bag full of them, and my bathroom counter is littered with serums and eye creams. I will cut someone if they take my mucin serum. I do incorporate magick into my cosmetic routine: my clay mask has rose oil in it, and I use as part of a self-love charm/meditation. But using magick as a selling point to wealthy white women who want to dabble in the mystic arts like sneaky school girls? That’s both the beginning of The Crucible and white Christian feminism at its finest.

Witchcraft is not your marketing gimmick. It’s an art form that should be practiced with care because it can be messed up. Yes, you can (and should!) have fun with it, but sometimes a little caution is warranted.

And while this seems innocuous and “good fun”, it feeds into the cultural paranoia around witchcraft. Just yesterday, I got a link to a webcast calling Burning Man the “biggest religious festival in the US” dedicated to Moloch and witchcraft.  Two days ago I wrote about a White Evangelical Christian pastor preaching against witchcraft from the pulpit. Sermons have been going on for decades about the dangers of mainstream witchcraft. “Good fun” for non-Pagans or non-magickal practitioners can have real impacts on the rest of us.

It’s not cool to use our religion and spiritual beliefs as your sales pitch. And it’s really not cool to use it when it could have real-life implications on us.