Angelina Jolie, 44, said the accusation of witchcraft has been used to control and silence women in almost all societies and in every century.
The Hollywood star, in an op-ed for Elle magazine, goes on to redefine the labels often used to brand women as "unnatural" and "dangerous", saying the term "wicked" today should be used for those women who are tired of injustice and are not ready to give up their voice and rights.
"Since time immemorial, women who rebel against what is considered normal by society-even unintentionally-have been labelled as unnatural, weird, wicked, and dangerous. What is surprising is the extent to which this kind of myth and prejudice has persisted throughout the centuries and still colours the world we live in," Jolie wrote.
The actor-humanitarian reflected on how often women who run for political office in democratic countries are described as witches.
"Bring together a group of strong women, and before too long someone will brand them a 'coven' the technical term, to be clear, for a gathering of witches meeting at night to consort with the devil. Women who stand up for human rights in many countries are still labelled 'deviant', 'bad mothers', 'difficult' or 'loose'," she wrote.
Jolie, 44, said the accusation of witchcraft has been used to control and silence women in almost all societies and in every century.
"Women could be accused of witchcraft for having an independent sex life, for speaking their mind on politics or religion, or for dressing differently. Had I lived in earlier times, I could have been burnt at the stake many times over for simply being myself."
In her personal life, when the actor started dating Brad Pitt, she was called names like the "homewrecker" and "the other woman" for breaking up her "Mr and Mrs Smith" co-star's marriage with actor Jennifer Aniston, with Pitt let off easily in a well-publicised Hollywood scandal.
After 12 years of relationship and two years of marriage, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt in 2016.
The actor, who is an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, added that her essay was not an attempt to "dismiss or downplay" the abuse against men and boys.
"But looking across the world, we have to ask, Why is so much energy expended to keep women in a secondary position?" she asked.
Jolie then attempted to yield a new connotation to the term "wicked women".
Last Updated 2:18 PM IST