While I was watching the second season of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS), I had a lot of thoughts. For one, it’s much, MUCH darker (in a good way, of course) than the first season. Second, the second season steers away from the romantic relationship between Sabrina and Harvey that was so much the focus of the first. Instead, the second season revolves more around Sabrina’s coming of age and finding her place in a world full of witches, warlocks, and mortals. It’s much more relatable than the first, and shows how boys are definitely not number one on Sabrina’s list of priorities. Lastly, I LOVED how the show’s main focus in Part 2 is essentially on taking down the patriarchy.
I think it’s safe to say that we live in a time where MANY of us are frustrated by mansplaining and just dealing with the fragile egos of the male species in general. In contrast, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina gives us a breath of fresh air by calling out toxic masculinity and placing fault on those who take part in those behaviors. Male characters like Father Blackwood, Dark Council member Methuselah, Lucifer (yes, the devil), and even Nick Scratch are all punished in some way or another—through death or banishment—for their manipulative actions that affect the women in the series.
Our witchy, feminist show is evolving the way that television depicts men. In many shows on the air today, the main male characters are not forced to take responsibility for their actions. Often, we see the men in our favorite TV shows betray or manipulate the females in their lives. This narrative normally follows the man getting caught lying by the woman in his life, he offers an apology, she forgives him (within a few episodes), and the behavior is often repeated two episodes after. Therefore, we, as viewers, do not see consequences for whatever type of misogyny is displayed.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina does an excellent job in demonstrating how there should be repercussions for displaying traits of toxic masculinity and manipulation. For instance, even Nick Scratch, who, all in all, is primarily a positive presence in Sabrina’s life, is forced to pay retribution for tricking our main heroine. It is story arcs like this one in particular that show how we need to change the way that male/female relationships are shown in film, television, and books.
While, watching Season 2, I couldn’t stop thinking of Pam Grossman’s book Waking the Witch (which comes out in June). Many of Grossman’s points are about female empowerment and why women choose witchcraft to give themselves agency in life. She makes so many influential statements about how women need to see themselves as being strong in order to become the best versions of themselves. In CAOS, we see Sabrina transform from a fifteen-year-old who simply cares about her boyfriend and friends into a sixteen-year-old all-powerful witch who will stop at nothing when it comes to getting what she wants from both the witch and mortal worlds. It’s only when Sabrina finally embraces her witchcraft that she gets to embrace who she truly is.
So, in honor of both the second season of Sabrina and inspired by Pam Grossman’s new book Waking the Witch, check out these reads that can help awaken your inner witch.