Women
The photographs come with captions that form a 'manual' for 'spotting a witch'.
Photo by Victoria Krundysheva

You're well-educated, confident, and opinionated. You don't put up with nonsense, call out hypocrisy and own your sass and sarcasm.

The only problem? You're a woman. So while all of the above make you the perfect recipe for a strong and confident person, you're labelled arrogant. Uptight. Bitchy. 

It was experiences like these which motivated Mumbai-based photographer Victoria Krundysheva for her most recent photo series, "The Witch Hunt". 

The title, a reference to the medieval practice of hunting down women believed to be witches and publicly prosecuting them, came to Victoria when she observed "how assertive and unapologetic women around her were treated."

"The metaphorical expression came naturally to me as I kept seeing women's success being demeaned, their opinion devalued and them being called names - much like in when progressive women were labelled witches in the medieval times," she told TNM.

The accompanying photographs come with captions that form a 'manual' for 'spotting a witch'.

A Witch often looks confident and is not afraid of her sexuality. She will wear bright colors and attract attention.

You can spot them with a book or attempting to have intellectual conversations… What an abomination!


They are peculiar and may not behave in the usual feminine fashion. The easiest way [to find out] - throw something disgusting on them. If they are not afraid, you have found a witch.

Witches are often free minded and free spirited. These are the most dangerous kind – they can’t be tamed and need to be instantly eradicated.

They voice their opinion out loud… like women can have one!

They stick to each other and support each othe. It’s easy to detect because we all know there is no such thing as female friendship.

They are not afraid of darkness and readily face fears. They think it makes them stronge. But that’s because they are evil themselves.

You need to know that they don’t drown. So be on lookout for women who still emerge stronger than before, even after you throw them into water and push them under.

 

Once you spot a witch, take immediate action. Scream as loud as you can, call them names, let everybody know who they are. Don’t just throw words, but stones too. Threaten them and cut off any support they have. Ganging up on one of them is the best success strategy.

In a Facebook post accompanying the photos, Victoria wrote:

"This is a little manual I have written, based on Medieval times favorite campaign – The Witch Hunt – when progressive, opinionated women, often fighting for their rights were attributed special powers, labelled as witches and burned on the stake, stoned to death or drowned in the water.

Times have gone by, but this ages old practice is as alive as ever. We still suppress, label, bring down and “stone” such women…only now we call them “bitches”.

Have you ever been called a bitch? I have. When standing up for myself, straightforward and unafraid. When making my way and being boss. When being my own person and living by my own rules.

A lot of women face double standards when it comes to assertive behaviour and independence. Those qualities men are rewarded for, women are frowned upon for. 

It’s time to call out all those who call you “bitch” for not following their idea of what a woman is, for being strong, outspoken, ambitious and independent. (sic)"

With the series, Victoria also launched a social media campaign 'Call me bitch' and invited women to share their stories on social media with the same hashtag.

In a similar campaign in October last year, actor Shruti Haasan had spoken up and redefined the abusive word in a video called 'Be the Bitch'.

You can see more work by Victoria on her Facebook and Instagram pages.

All photos courtesy Victoria Krundysheva, used here with permission.