‘Oz, the Pathetic and Misogynistic,’ only the beginning of sexist year in movies for kids

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.

In the New York Times today, critic Manohla Dargis writes:

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.




6 thoughts on “‘Oz, the Pathetic and Misogynistic,’ only the beginning of sexist year in movies for kids

  1. I left the movie feeling ill………..Yah, like the Greasy wizard it trying to bed every woman, and of course they are all dumb, beautiful, innocent and flipping their hair at him. He then proceeds to lie and act like a jerk, so one of the women goes completely nutso and becomes an ugly witch because “he hurt her feelings”. While the blonde virgin believes in him, so much that he becomes a good man…………wtf seriously?????

    • Ugh one of the few movies with the focus on a female hero and they defile it like this. Really disgusting.

  2. My partner wants to see the movie. Based on the same information and she is feminist to the core. I guess my going would be to confirm or deny the mechanism? I don’t know.

  3. Well, darn. I know we were all afraid of it after seeing the first few trailers but to quote a wise critic, “Trailers lie”. Sad to be getting all this confirmation that this one was telling the truth. As much as I love Disney, I fail to understand all of these studio heads and producers who bemoan the lack of male protagonists in fairy tales. Men dominate in fantasy, sci-fi, superhero films (just look at the absence of the lone female in the Avengers, Black Widow at the Oscars), comedy… OK, you know what, I’m tired of naming genres. Can’t we just have this one thing? This one thing? Sigh…

  4. I did want to see that movie. Now I don’t anymore >:( i want to read the books instead. Wish me luck! I live in a town that still doesn’t know who John Green is while a local book store put their 50 Shades of Grey shrine literally IN the food court at my local mall! Eeew.

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