A new post on film.com Why ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Is A Major Step Back For Witches and Women is so great about what a bummer this movie is. Please read the whole thing.
A couple of important quotes:
Baum was a feminist. He was an avid supporter of women’s suffrage, and was happily married to the outspoken, intelligent, and energetic Maud Gage
But even more troubling and disappointing about Sam Raimi’s 3D spectacle “Oz The Great and Powerful” is what character it chooses to crown as its hero: The Wizard.
Why is this sad and troubling? Well, as you go through the Oz series, one fact can’t help but jump out at you: The feisty, heroic characters of Oz are all young women. Dorothy returns, again and again, to have adventures in Oz. “Tik-Tok of Oz” features a Dorothy surrogate in Betsy Bobbin (no Toto for Betsy! Her animal companion is a mule named Hank.) Glinda often reappears to do battle. General Jinjur leads an all-female coup against the Scarecrow, and despite its failure, Baum lovingly stops in to see how she’s faring in the common Munchkin life.
But most intriguing and revolutionary of them all is Princess Ozma, who actually makes her first appearance in “The Marvelous Land of Oz” as a young boy named Tip. Tip is the “hero” of the book until it’s revealed an evil witch named Mombi did a magical gender reassignment, and Tip becomes Ozma, restored not only to her rightful throne, but to her own feminine self. It’s a strange and fascinating twist for both Tip and the audience alike, and one with very modern implications.
I have asked again and again: WHY DIDN’T HOLLYWOOD MAKE THE OZMA MOVIE? SHE IS THE RIGHTFUL RULER OF OZ! THE WIZARD??? THE CHARLATAN? ALL THAT, JUST TO GET A MALE PROTAGONIST.
Film.com explains it this way:
No doubt the focus group responsible for “Great and Powerful” convinced themselves that female protagonists weren’t marketable…
Hollywood, we want strong, complex female protagonists. DO YOU HEAR? This is bullshit. Teens, little kids, parents, we are all sick of this sexist crap.