Maybe the blatant misogyny of the new Oz movie has a positive side. Critics are calling out the sexism, unable to ignore that Dorothy, one of the greatest heroines of kidlit, is being shafted, cast aside, so Hollywood can make a hero out of a famous imbecile and imposter just because he’s a guy.
The bigger bummer, though, is that the studio that has enchanted generations with Tinker Bell and at least a few plucky princesses has backed a movie that has such backward ideas about female characters that it makes the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” look like a suffragist classic.
Dargis goes on to cite a series of gender cliches promulgated in the movie:
A little sisterly outrage would have been appropriate because, among other offenses, the filmmakers have thrown over Dorothy — one of the greatest heroines in children’s literature and Hollywood cinema — for a two-bit magician and Lothario with female troubles. In Baum’s first book and in the 1939 film the witches are powerful forces for good and wickedness in the Land of Oz. In “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a witch not only falls for the man Oz, she also turns green from envy when he cozies up to a pretty blonde. (Yeah, the baddie is a brunette.)
I wrote about Oz’s sexism a month ago. I suspected it was coming from the title of the movie “Oz, the Great and Powerful.” This moniker and glorifying adjectives while Hollywood refuses to allow female names in titles for kids movies. Also, I’ve read all of the L. Frank Baum books. There are so many great heroines in this series to make movies about, including Ozma, who happens to be the real ruler of Oz, and they pick the phony wizard? Finally, I had a good idea what to expect from ‘Oz’ because I’m the mom of three young girls. For 10 years now, I’ve been watching sexism aggressively marketed in movies for children and then replicated in the toys, clothing, apps, and games derived from those movies where, except for the Pink Ghetto, males always star and females are invisible.
Parents, please think about what your kids are learning about gender when they go to the movies. Again and again, they see males front and center. Females are sidekicks or not there at all. That is the definition of marginalized. This sexism is happening in the imaginary world, a place where anything should be possible. Instead, leaving girls out acclimates a new generation to expect and accept a world where girls go missing. It’s an annihilation.
Please look at Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013. Here’s what I wrote about the Gallery:
Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.
You can find out more about what’s coming up in 2013 here. Unfortunately, ‘Oz, the Pathetic and Misogynistic,’ is just the beginning of a long, sexist year in store for our kids, direct from Hollywood.