Teenagers and Witchcraft

February 13, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On February 13, 2000, The New York Times published an article on the increasing popularity of Wicca among American teenagers, most of whom are female. Wren Walker, creator of the Witches' Voice web site, estimates that 35 percent of the total visitors to the site are under 18. The company's web page for teenagers, "So Ya Wanna Be a Witch," has drawn 175,000 visitors in the last two years. Walker stated that witchcraft is, "especially appealing to the young people who want to be active participants in their own spiritual lives." Andres I. Perez y Mena, an assistant professor of anthropology at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, said that Wicca mostly appeals to middle-class teenage girls who live in rural or suburban areas. Perez y Mena said that, "they have few distractions and even less control over their lives, and they practice sorcery to exert power over their existence." John K. Simmons, professor of religious studies at Western Illinois University, teaches courses dealing with contemporary witchcraft and acknowledges that Wicca "empowers the marginalized." Simmons continued: "It appeals most of all to the intelligent, poetic young woman who is not necessarily going to go out for cheerleader or date the captain of the football team."