“Oz the Great and Powerful” Rekindles the Notion That Women Are Wicked

oz_the_great_and_powerful_poster_wicked_witchDorothy Gale—the girl who went to Oz—has been called the first true feminist hero in American children’s literature. Indeed, she was condemned by many readers, including children’s librarians, for daring to have opinions and act on them.

My grandmother introduced me to the Oz books as a child, and I have always seen her as a real-life Dorothy of sorts. Born in 1908, she loved travel and speaking her mind and–gasp–she preferred to read and write poetry than do dishes and cook. As a young woman, she did not take like a duck to the water of motherhood, and indeed seemed not to have liked it at all. To this day, she is referred to by the wider family as “abandoning” her two sons in favor of books and travel, though in fact her only abandonment was that of the traditional domestic role.

My grandmother was, in some ways, the “anti-mother” or “wicked witch” detailed so brilliantly in Crafting the Witch: Gendering Magic in Medieval and Early Modern England. That book, written by California State University at San Marcos’ associate professor of literature and writing Heidi Breuer, explores how magical, positive female figures such as Morgan le Fey morphed into the Wicked Witches that now dominate depictions of magical, powerful women—including those in the current film Oz the Great and Powerful.

The new Oz film does not include the brave and self-reliant Dorothy, nor any other character that I would identify as having my grandmother’s feminist spirit. The film speaks neither to the many strong female characters that populated L. Frank Baum’s books nor to the feminist, progressive leanings of its author. Instead, it trades in the notion that women are indeed wicked—especially those women not “tamed” by a male love interest or father figure, as well as (horror of horrors!) those women who lack nurturing, motherly characteristics.

In the film, Oscar Diggs is the one who journeys to Oz, not Dorothy, and this provides the basis for a much more traditional, or should I say regressive, story. Rather than, as in the original Oz book, having a female save many men and prove the male leader to be an ineffectual fraud, this time around we have an oafish male functioning as the love interest for various characters, transforming from ineffectual Oscar to the great and powerful Wizard and leader of Oz.

At the outset of the film, Oscar is a circus con-man/magician, readily admitting he is not a good man. Though he is framed as an unscrupulous, womanizing cad, he is also depicted as truly sweet and likeable underneath—a sort of prince disguised as a beast. When Annie (Michelle Williams) tells him she is going to marry another man, the audience is meant to feel for poor Oscar—because Annie is framed as his “real love.” But by the close of the movie they are happily reunited, not as Oscar and Annie but as Oz the Wizard and Glinda the Good Witch. (This ending, by the way, and the romance threaded throughout the film, breaks a sacred belief of Baum’s that romance should not be featured in children’s tales.)

Baum’s continued insistence, both in his real life and his writing, that females are strong, capable, courageous and intelligent—and that tolerance, understanding and courage should guide one along life’s journey—are scuttled in favor of a movie heavy on special effects and light on character development, let alone any feminist or progressive message.

In contrast, the Oz books are full of intelligent, enterprising, courageous and self-reliant females. There are benevolent female rulers, such as Ozma and Lurline, as well as both good and bad witches. As noted at Bitch Flicks,

Dorothy, Ozma and Glinda serve significant leadership positions in Oz. Princess Ozma is the true hereditary ruler of Oz—her position having been usurped by The Wizard. Glinda is by far the most powerful sorceress in Oz, and both Dorothy and Ozma often defer to her wisdom. Dorothy, of course, is the plucky orphan outsider who combines resourcefulness and bravery.


Illustration of Dorothy and Toto from L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel

Indeed, the books would pass the Bechdel test with flying colors. Strong friendships between women, as well as women helping other women (and various and sundry other creatures, men included), run through the 14 original books. (Some current readings posit these relationships as more than friendship, as with the queer readings of the Dorothy/Ozma relationship, but that’s another story.) There are wicked women, but they are not wicked to the extent they are in the film iterations, the current one included, nor are the wicked/bad characters very powerful. In fact, the Wicked Witch of the first Oz book fears the Cowardly Lion and the dark, and is destroyed by an angry Dorothy with a bucket of water. Before dying she concedes, “I have been wicked in my day, but I never thought a little girl like you would be able to melt me and end my wicked deeds.” The Wicked Witch in Baum’s book did not have green skin or wear an imposing outfit; instead she is a rather funny-looking figure with one eye, three braids and a raincoat.

In Baum’s version of Oz, females were allowed to have power and show anger without being castigated—something rare in books from Baum’s era. Also rare were female protagonists in children’s books, which is why, according to one scholar, “The Wizard of Oz is now almost universally acknowledged to be the earliest truly feminist American children’s book, because of spunky and tenacious Dorothy.” Baum’s work even hinted at  the instability of gender—as when Ozma is first introduced as a boy named Tip. Traditionally masculine in many respects after her turn to female, Ozma’s gender is thus represented as not only about physical characteristics or appearance, but as far more complicated. Quite postmodern and queer for a children’s book from the early 1900s!

In addition to these feminist characters and depictions of gender, the books also consistently celebrate tolerance and diversity and maintain what Alison Lurie calls an “anti-colonial attitude.” This is no coincidence; rather, as documented in the BBC’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The True Story, “When L Frank Baum wrote the Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, his choice of heroine was heavily influenced by the battle for women’s rights.” He was married to Maud Gage, the daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, the pioneering feminist and co-founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

While some still question feminism’s influence on Baum (as here), and it is often wrongly claimed that he and his feminist mother-in-law did not get along (as in The Dreamer of Oz), Baum’s faith in feminism never wavered. He supported feminism both within his own home (Maud ran the finances and his mother-in-law stayed with them six months out of every year) and in his writings (not only in the Oz books but in his journalistic work). Moreover, Baum thought men who did not support feminist aspirations were “selfish, opinionated, conceited or unjust—and perhaps all four combined,” and he argued that, ”The tender husband, the considerate father, the loving brother, will be found invariably championing the cause of women.” (One wonders what he would make of director Sam Raimi and his decidedly un-feminist new depiction of Oz!)

Baum’s feminist biography aside, many aspects of the books stand on their own as fictional feminist tracts. For example, the second book of the series, The Marvelous Land of Oz, features a fictional suffrage movement led by Jinjur, the female general of an all-girl army (their key weapon is knitting needles). At one point, Jinjur offers the rallying cry, “Friends, fellow-citizens and girls … we are about to begin our great Revolt against the men of Oz!” As a New York Times‘ reviewer quipped, it is too bad this female army “didn’t storm Disney next.”

April 2009 - Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony

Symphony rehearses live performance of 1939 “Wizard of Oz” soundtrack

In contrast to the consistently anti-feminist Disney, Baum’s books can be viewed as children’s stories with distinctly feminist and progressive messages. Given that they were akin to the Harry Potter books of their day in terms of popularity and sales, this is hugely significant. Today, however, the books’ undercurrents of feminism and progressive politics have been overshadowed by the less-feminist 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, and the many  subsequent de-politicized adaptations.

In Oz the Great and Powerful, perhaps the most anti-feminist adaptation, Dorothy—the plucky and powerful girl from Kansas—is supplanted by a series of Oscar’s romantic interests, and this focus does not shift after a mighty storm transplants us from Kansas to Oz. There, Oscar quickly meets Theodora (Mila Kunis), who tells him of the prophecy that he is destined be the leader of Oz. However, she warns him, “You only become king after you defeat the Wicked Witch.” Metaphorically, for men like Oscar to achieve greatness they need to destroy powerful women. And, significantly, in order to destroy the witch Oscar must not kill her but destroy her wand—in other words, destroy her (phallic) power, destroy what makes her “like a man.” (I imagine Baum turning over in his grave).

Oscar, like the audience, does not yet know who this Wicked Witch is—a mystery that the film’s publicists went to pains to protect before it was released. This mystery suggests any female could be the Wicked Witch or, more broadly, that all women are or have the potential to be wicked.

When Oscar first meets Theodora, the audience is encouraged to view her as kind, helpful and beautiful. She, like the women from Kansas, seems taken by his charms. In contrast, her sister Evanora refers to Oscar as a “a weak, selfish and egotistical fibber.” Evanora’s fury, as well as her witchy get-up, encourages the audience to think she is the Wicked Witch. When Theodora insists Oscar is the wizard, Evanora’s caustic response—“’The wizard, or so he says. He may be an imposter. Sent here to kill us”—furthers the suspicion.

Then, when Evanora says “’Maybe it’s you I’ve underestimated. Have you finally joined her side, sister?” the audience is once again encouraged to question who the “her” is. Theodora protests, “I am on no one’s side. I simply want peace. He’s a good man,” suggesting she is not on the Wicked Witch’s side. But Evanora retorts, “’Deep down you are wicked!’

Theodora then throws a ball of fire across the room, prompting the audience to once again question who the real Wicked Witch is. The mystery continues when Oz, his monkey sidekick Finley and the China Girl (a porcelain doll) spy a witchy-looking figure in the dark forest. But the scary figure turns out to be Glinda, who is quickly identified as a “good witch” not only through the ensuing dialogue but via her blonde hair and white dress.

This delaying of the true identity of the Wicked Witch and the suggestion that even good women can be, or at least appear to be, wicked, goes along with the fear of female wickedness that shaped not only the Renaissance era and its infamous witch hunts but  continues to be a key trope in our own times. Sadly, the new film reifies messages contained in so many stories of the witch–that females not tied to or interested in men/family are jealous, duplicitous, vengeful and must be destroyed (or domesticated). The good females in the film function as a mother/daughter pair, both of whom, by film’s end, are tied to Oz as their patriarch.

The film can also be read as yet another story about how men are destined to lead while women are destined to mother. This goes directly against the original author’s beliefs; as his grand-daughter notes, “He was a big supporter of women getting out into the marketplace and men connecting with the children and spending time at home.” In direct contrast, the film punishes female entrepreneurial spirit and pluck and never suggests that any of Oscar’s greatness comes from his desire to spend time at home. Instead, he is ultimately rewarded by becoming the “great and powerful” man the title refers to, and the female characters are either punished for refusing the maternal role (Evanora and Theodora) or rewarded for placing primacy on family (Glinda and the China Girl).

As wonderfully put in the New York Times review of the film, Oz the Great and Powerful “has such backward ideas about female characters that it makes the 1939 Wizard of Oz look like a suffragist classic.” While the 1939 film was decidedly less feminist than the book on which it was based, it nevertheless was far more feminist friendly than this current iteration.

That a book published in 1900 and a film that came out in 1939 are each more feminist than a 2013 film is troubling. The NPR review agrees, but then claims that what this indicates is “that chivalry (or perhaps feminism) of the sort that Judy Garland could count on is not only merely dead, it’s really most sincerely dead.” Simplistic reading of chivalry aside, the suggestion that feminism is dead has perhaps never been more wrong than it is now. Sure, we still have our wicked witches to face (I am talking to you, Ann Coulter), but we also have a plethora of Dorothys and Ozmas and Jinjuras—not to mention L. Frank Baums.

It is particularly disappointing that films aimed at children and families continue to be not only un-feminist but devoutly anti-feminist, and they do so by drawing on the stereotypical witch figure of centuries ago—used, as Breuer puts it, to “frighten women back into domestic roles.”

Alas, just as the 1939 film reflected the economic realities of its time, turning Baum’s story into a call for women to return to the home (as in, “There’s no place like home”), so too does this 2013 version speak to the current economic crisis. Times of economic downturn are predictably accompanied by sexist backlash—a sort of knee-jerk “Let’s blame it on the women that steal our jobs, refuse to do their duties (mothering, cleaning, etc.) and threaten the stability of family, of church, of the very nation.” Currently, this backlash is evident on many fronts–from the attacks against women’s reproductive freedoms, to the vitriol aimed at women who dare seek independence or even the right to report rape, to the hyperfocus on romance, sexuality and appearance as the only things that truly matter to women.

The message of the original book was that possibilities for a liberated world of tolerance and female equality was not merely a dream but a real place we could move to if we only had the courage (and the heart and the brain). The message of the 1939 film was that women can have some power, but home and family was still the best place for them (and liberation was merely a dream caused by a bad bump on the head). The message of Oz the Great and Powerful  is that only men can save women and only men can save Oz; in other words, what we need to save us from falling off the economic cliff is not Dorothy, not Glinda, not the China Girl, but a gold-digging con man who is adept at smoke-and-mirrors politics but has about as much substance or real conviction as, well, many of our current world leaders. These frauds are apparently still better than any woman though—be she good, wicked, or made of porcelain.

Illustration of Dorothy and Toto by W.W. Denslow, from Wikimedia Commons

Image of 1939 film from Flickr user Jason Weinberger, under license from Creative Commons





  1. great article! thank you thank you. i will steer clear of this film unless i’m in the mood to throw things at a screen! wouldn’t it be AMAZING if someone made a film that honored the true spirit of the books and Baum’s work/vision. You inspired me to read them, thanks for that too. Vive La Feminism, you will always be our hope.

    • Yes, thank you! I had no idea that there were 14 original Oz books, and hadn’t realized that Baum was so progressive back in 1900. I look forward to being able to delve further into his work.

      It’s frightening that things are moving backward the way they are in film and literature, but it seems like female audiences in particular are eating the stuff up. (You know which icky vampire romance series I’m talking about!) A huge question is why women and girls seem to welcome being portrayed in demeaning ways such as needing to be saved, and especially needing to be saved from themselves. If we weren’t buying this crap, Hollywood and publishers wouldn’t be selling it.

      • I think you have it totally wrong. This film is ultimately a love story. It’s not anti feminist. Glinda is the true heroine of this story. She doesn’t need Oz-Oz needs her. It is ultimately her love for Oz that saves him from himself. I watched the movie twice. The second time around I was struck by how much Glinda loved him. Watch her closely when shes around Oz. She stays very close to him when he is with her almost as if she’s protecting him. She keeps her hand on his back, or takes his arm or hand at every opportunity. When they are poring over the map and plotting strategy, she huddles close. They make a perfect team. They save each other’s lives- he pulls her out of the way of a fireball and she stops the wicked witch from incinerating him. She tells him he’s weak selfish and egotistical. She doesn’t care-she loves him and knows she can bring out the best in him because she can see deep down into his heart and knows he has goodness inside him. When he makes the rousing speech to the people, she never takes her eyes off him. She tells him he’s only fooling himself, then tenderly kisses him (for protection). She tells the wicked with ” I believe in the wizard” (you don’t because you really don’t love him). I am so in love with Glinda-she’s every man’s dream. She represents unconditional love. I know you have faults, I know you can be a jerk-it doesn’t matter to me-I don’t care-I love you. Isn’t that what everybody wants deep down? Someone who believes in you and stands by you no matter what?

        • I generally agree with this commentary. I think women exercise the most power and influence when they utilize the power of their love to assert themselves, not as victims, but as healers of the violence and false worldly values that power and riches promise.

        • dacia buchanan says:

          I totally agree with John. I came to this story with no expectations and no framework – I am not familiar with Baum’s writings although because of this article, I am curious to learn more about his perspective. But, I did not see this is as a feminist or anti feminist work rather as a humanistic story. I would go so far to say that this is not a story about women but about men. Fundamentally, Oz is a narcissist. He is always falling short of his idealized self, the ambitious man, the all powerful man who goes out into the world not to do great things but to fulfill his bottomless ego to become great. And in his delusions of grandeur and by his trade, he must rely on trickery, smoke and mirrors, and spectacle to make everyone believe he is most magnificent. Every so often, Oz actually believes the reflection of his false self but what he really knows to be true is that he is just a con man, a trickster, and a mediocre magician. This is his tragic flaw. The tumultuous winds sweep him into the center of the twister to the other side – the other side of his real self, the authentic person who he is uncomfortable with accepting as his true identity. And while he charms his way in the graces of the evil sisters, albeit for a short time, ultimately he runs out of tricks. Glinda sees Oz for what he is, egotistical and self centered yet because of her grace and unwavering patience he is able to transform into a better genuine man. Glinda’s profound understanding of Oz is liberating because she accepts him the way he is and loves him just the same.
          Rather than see this story as a feminist framework, this story is about Oz who is great and powerful not because of his achievements as a man but because of his transformation from the false self into an authentic person.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      So glad the piece inspired you to read the Oz books. Hope you will pop back in and let us know what you think.
      I am not sure I agree with the notion that audiences are to blame – yes audiences are “buying this crap,” but I would argue they are not given true choices to “buy” better films – sure, better films are out there, but few and far between and often only in limited release, at expensive theatres, and so on. Then there is the issue of publicity… Sometimes, independent/radical films get a wide viewing, such as Daughters of the Dust, but this is sadly fairly rare. I think audiences are part of bigger loop that goes beyond Hollywood and publishing houses, extending out to the patriarchal/consumer capitalist/gender normative society we live in. As per your reference to Twilight, yes, females “eat it up” but would they buy into romance if not socially conditioned at every turn to do so? Janice Radway, in her classic, Reading the Romance, argues they would not.

  2. What a wonderfully well thought out piece. Thank you.

  3. Great review, although I will never understand why people would go to such lengths to change wonderful source material into something way too typically sexist. Frustrating.

    • The first movie was more sexist than this movie is. This movie just doesn’t change what was already presented in the first movie… They didn’t make the witches any more evil. Not to mention Glinda is still not a “bad witch”

  4. very informative article…yes. informative… nooo. this movie was not about Dorothy at all. it explained how the wizard became king and how the wicked witch became wicked. it explains what happened before Dorothy came. this is definitely a children’s movie that illustrates how good triumphs. no one in oz were alloys to kill but they won a battle against evil. I don’t think u saw the movie. there’s no way.

    • Totally agree with you.I saw this movie yesterday and loved it. It was exactly as I expected it to be. It had nothing to do with Dorothy – The Wizard of Oz is her story, OZ the Great and Powerful is the Wizards. Mila Kunis said in an interview I saw on television that this is not a childrens movie, its a made for adults one. I enjoyed this movie for what it was and what it is intended, good adult entertainment. Its a shame Natalie didn’t go watch it with entertainment in mind, she might have enjoyed it.

      • Breanna says:

        Yea I agree with you both! I loved the movie…I mean seriously the ideas she is spewing in this article are based off of little tidbits within the movie. I didn’t think of the movie as anti=feminist until SHE brought it up in THIS article. I mean I think there was some damn good acting in the movie, and I also believe the characters were silly in some aspects–compared to Oscar–but they weren’t so off the charts that I would say they were against all females O.o I mean….like you said did she even WATCH the movie, before writing this article? I wonder….

    • Oz Obsessed says:

      I totally agree with “what?’s” comment above!

      This movie was supposed to BE about the Wizard’s arrival. I haven’t read all of the books, but I would imagine a storyline based on how the wizard became the wizard, as seen in the 1939 classic (despite its differences with the actual book), would need to center around the male character that BECOMES the wizard. No? It’s asinine to even mention Dorothy in this review. She isn’t even born (fictionally) when this movie takes place. And, actually, this movie hinted on curiosities I had about the wizard all those years of watching the old movie over and over, having never read a book that answered them.

      And suggesting that the women weren’t given stronger roles? Really? I don’t know, but I sort of got the idea that Oscar wouldn’t have been able to fool anyone had it not been for Glinda…even if, for a time, she seemed a bit unsure of her own powers (which I don’t see as a sign of weakness either considering NONE of us ever fully know all of the strengths we possess…that is IF we are continuing to grow and mature as humans throughout life). Fretting that this made “strong women” look “evil” instead of just strong is so reaching. C’mon. This is a movie about a con-man who finds himself in a wizard’s seat AGAINST 2 witches. That’s the story. The books have witches in them. Witches. If I’m not mistaken, every fantasy/horror type movie that depicts witches depicts them as female. And evil. It isn’t Disney cowering to what a male chauvinistic culture wants to see. I’m female. I don’t for a moment want to be dictated to by a man or looked down upon or looked over because of, but I went to the movie to see 1 “good witch” and 2 “wicked witches”. And Disney delivered.

      I’d say wait until the sequel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, airs before deciding Disney’s version is not feministic (yes, that is not a word) enough for you. Compare apples to apples. This amounts to someone wanting to stir the pot, cause some drama and stink, if you will. Folks who can and will sit around and dissect every movie/story/situation and find some deeper meaning that gives them something to stand on their soapbox about. And that actually hurts the feminist movement, honestly.

  5. Just as I suspected from viewing some of the advertised clips, this is a film to avoid, not to waste money on. Thanks, Natalie, for taking the time to view this awful version of “Oz” and write this excellent article for us. It was very informative (I had no idea that Mr. Baum was Matilda Jocelyn Gage’s son-in-law, for starters), and I really enjoyed reading the “story behind the story” as it were.

    I wonder if it’s time for someone to write a new script, one that tells the story of women’s rights beginning in the 19th century. It seems to me that there are too many girls and young women now who have no idea what battles had to be fought for women to get the rights they take for granted, and who these courageous women were.

  6. I just read a horrible article about how women are being demonized as being witches and tortured in Papua New Guinea, because of problems with poverty and economic issues villages are suffering at the hands of mining companies. http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/its-2013-and-theyre-burning-witches/558/
    I honestly didn’t even think that ‘witch hunts’ still happened, but I’m shocked. Movies like this probably on aggravate the stereotype in developing countries where communities need a scapegoat for their problems.

  7. Great article. Too bad Disney has gone so retro. By the way , the first feminist book of diction for children was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

  8. What’s interesting about Oz: The Great and Powerful is that it’s not the first Disney adaptation of Baum’s work! Return to Oz (Walter Murch, 1985) followed in the mid-80s fantasy trend of pitting a barely pubescent heroine against a menacingly sexual adult male villain (Labyrinth, Legend, ex.).

    However, the Nome King (Nicol Williamson) is by far the most feminism-friendly of the villains of that cycle. He is menacing not because he is in traditionally masculine (Bowie as Jareth) or because he is sexually perverse (Tim Curry as Darkness) but because he calls upon patriarchal authority to discipline Dorothy (Fairuza Balk).

    The wicked witch Mombi is evil not simply because she is obsessed with personal appearance but because she has colluded with the Nome King to oppress other women. Most notably she has trapped Ozma, the rightful queen of oz, not as a boy but inside the mirrors of her castle.

    Disney’s Oz adaptation style has clearly shifted from this tale of negotiating the gender conformity demands of female puberty! Perhaps the commercial and critical failure of Return to Oz is partly to blame?

    Also, I do not agree that Baum’s books are anticolonialist. Ozma expands her rule into the “wilder” areas of Oz by forbidding the locals from doing magic. To me this seems very American manifest destiny.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      Good points about Return to Oz. I have not seen the film in a long time and your analysis makes me want to re-watch it…
      As per the books not being anti-colonial, some of the biographies/analysis of Baum explore his “love of America” and desire to write “truly American” fairy tales in more depth, though I don’t know of a piece offhand that engages with colonialism in detail.
      I would argue, however, that, as with any text, one can interpret certain strands of the narrative in varying ways. Though we might read some parts of the Oz books as seemingly celebrating manifest destiny or even perhaps American empire, I do think overall the texts question unjust power and too much power in the hands of one/a few, so, in a broader sense, I would agree with Lurie’s argument that they can be interpreted as having an anti-colonial strain.

  9. Louise Pare says:

    Thanks for this excellent review. I did see the movie and did not like the way the BIG THREE WITCHES were pitted against each other. Such an old patriarchal construct! Thanks for reminding me of the Disney-culture’s framing of this story.

  10. BRAVO!
    Thank you for introducing me to L. Frank Baum, the feminist champion. Who knew? I’ll never look at his stories the same way again!
    Regarding his quote about the type of men who support women, it’s so true that a man who is in the zone regarding his confidence and personal spirituality will want to support women.

    It’s so true even through this very day, that many men secretly or not-so-secretly feel that women are evil. They believe that our power is intimidating to them and we need to be “put in our place”. They believe that we’re just a bunch of scheming Jezebels, out to ruin them with our feminine wiles and cunning. I’m facing a person issue now where GROWN MEN feel the need to subdue me with personal attacks. The sad thing about my situation is that WOMEN are also participating in this.
    No wonder why men love to see and instigate “cat fights”. They love when women attack each others, because they know that we can’t be powerful when we’re feeling threatened by one another.
    When women can’t befriend each other, men just sit back and laugh at us.

    • Agree Terr. I shut myself off from life at fourteen and when I emerged again in my twenties, the sea change I found in boys/men was bewildering to me. I remember boys as once friends and mates, now, I was somehow the enemy. Whether they wanted me or didn’t, I was “other” to them, outside, not welcome in the club house any more. Through my isolation’s timing, I have a very odd perspective I think on the “Gender Wars”. As a life long feminist I also believe that when men say things like “Women are Evil” or ” Women; can’t live with em’ can’t kill em’” They mean it. Men seem to have degraded the sexes into two groups, Hu-Man beings and women. We HAVE to keep on top of it. Lesson of the Holocaust: First you dehumanize, then you feel entitled to treat the object however you please. In sexism you get rape culture, child molestation, organized religion and it’s all time fail: woman, domestic violence, social condemnation and a sneering disregard for anything of, by, for, or connected with women.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      Thanks for your comment. The film certainly trades in the “cat fight” meme, pitting Theodora and Evanora against each other, and via pitting Glinda against them both. Sadly, they are also fighting over an oafish “ladies man”…

  11. Okay Okay, Dorothy is not in this movie because it aims to show a perspective the wizards beginnings. Movies are never like the book. I know that it is disappointing but why can’t the wicked witches be feminist too. Feminist are still perceived as evil/malevolent today but we still get things done. We are still bad ass. I like to think of the musical “Wicked” when we see a version of the wicked witch, Elphaba, being seriously misunderstood. There are going to be some people who take pop culture (life in general) at face value and others who think critically about different characters and make informed decisions. I think it is important to note that this is a Hollywood version/perspective of this story and I saw many female leads acting in the this film. Thoughts of an African American feminist whose mother/grandmother/great grand mother always worked AND did domestic cleaning and nurturing for their own children and others that employed them. COURAGE/WISDOM/HEART

  12. The movie was beautiful. All three witches were powerful and strong. More so than the male protagonist. This article is heinous.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      Thank you for commenting. Yes, there were many female leads, but I wish they would have been given stronger roles – I felt the characters overall were very one-note. Also, as a fan of both Weisz and Williams, I was sad they were not given more complex roles and better dialogue. I did love the green/black dress Weisz wore though!

  13. Frances in California says:

    Tho’ we keep hoping, do we REALLY expect any better of DISNEY?

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      I watched Wreck it Ralph last night with my daughter, another Disney film, and I actually found it to be more feminist-friendly than Oz the Great and Powerful and it has many Oz references to boot! It is not perfect (it still relies on a romance narrative for the character voiced by Jane Lynch, for example) but at least the female lead opts NOT to wear the princess dress at the end and her difference as a “glitch” (rhymes with witch!) is celebrated rather than depicted as wicked.

  14. It would be good for public librarians to give talks on kids’ lit. featuring strong female characters, like Nancy Drew or Harriet Tubman, on a more regular basis. Hollywood will do anything to make a buck. Maybe if more female directors made movies, we’d see stronger women in the lead. Parents beware. Maybe the real wicked witch is Disney.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      Ha! But I would say Disney is more of an evil wizard than a wicked witch given that males still “hold the reins” of the corporation and its films. I do wonder, though, if women’s work in Disney films still goes un-named/recognized, as it did in older films when the painting, etc work of females did not count as “animation” nor was it listed in the film credits. Neither were the female ballerinas, who worked as “models” for some of the characters, acknowledged.

  15. Jackie De Hon, Ph.D. says:

    I too am inspired to read Baum’s works.

    I thank Natalie Wilson for her insightful review on the new Oz film. I’m glad to see I am not the only woman writing to warn people of the dangers of complacency.

    She is absolutely right—the film is trying to shape women into a mold men created. It has never fit—and it never will. I applaud her intelligence and her capable writing. Now what must be done is for women to listen, learn, and do exactly the opposite than what the film wants us to do.

    Her statement, “The message of the original book was that possibilities for a liberated world of tolerance and female equality was not merely a dream but a real place we could move to if we only had the courage (and the heart and the brain).” gives women a mission. This came from a book written by a feminist man in 1900! I believe it’s a mission we MUST follow!

    Feminism is not dead. It can die if we allow people to destroy the spark of life, love, and creativity that lies within each of us.

    I will share a bit of a poem I wrote that illustrates the need for each woman to remain true to herself and ever vigilant. The poem was a warning to refuse to allow anyone to control the person’s mind, her body, or her life. I think that is what right wing politicians are trying to do blatantly as well as subliminally .

    Here’s my excerpt,
    …Then maybe…you won’t DARE to be
    Yourself—that unique soul—
    And I’ll continue to control
    Your life—I’ll reach my goal.

    Unless…a tiny spark of life
    Survives to set you free
    And you arise—a butterfly—
    And fly away from me.

    From “Butterfly Flees”, in my book Prisms: Refracting Light of Women’s Lives.

    We must all RESIST…and fly away!

    And we must all be about continuing to teach and to be women who know the world belongs to us as well as to men…and work together to make it better!

    Jackie De Hon, Ph.D.

  16. Emily Musil Church says:

    What a fascinating piece. I never knew about Frank Baum’s background, and am now eager to go back and read the original series. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis on the devolution of women in Oz.

  17. I had heard about all the changes they made to get this movie produced with a male lead (because boys don’t like Princess movies) and knew then it’d be horrible.

    Also, must we use the word “females” when referencing women? It’s a bit dehumaninzing, no?

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      I use females to designate all women at all ages – I tend to feel the term women does not include girls… But I would be interested to hear more as to your thinking on the term females.

  18. Barbara Mor says:

    Thank you for pointing to Matilda Joslyn Gage, the most radical (along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton) of the 19th century American feminists. As Baum’s mother-in-law, mother of his very brilliant & progressive wife, & respected friend, M J Gage was ‘the grandmother of Oz,’ & we should be educated to read the books with this woman’s
    influence as major background. She DID view patriarchal political, religious & historic culture as a big glossy spectacle with a lot of more or less incompetent blowhard men behind the scene trying to keep the gassy balloon afloat! Of the 3 ‘big names’ of the Victorian American women’s movement — Stanton, Susan B Anthony, & Gage –Gage has been almost erased & forgotten in historic memory & Women’s Studies (what remains of it). Her
    major work, Woman, Church & State (1893), went out of print & was republished by the feminist Persephone
    Press in 1980, with a Foreword by Mary Daly. And now I believe it’s out of print again. Gage, a lifelong resident of upstate New York, was a serious student & admirer of the indigenous cultures of that region, & was one of the first to point out that the US Constitution was based on the principles & democratic structures of the Iroquois 6 Nations, who were strongly woman-oriented. Gage combined solid political & cultural analysis with visionary energy, & more than any other 19th (or most 20th c!) feminists, she belongs in our 21st century consciousness.
    The little man behind the powerfully illusionary screen of Oz is still alive & working his con, obviously: so bring Woman, Church & State back into print & back into Women’s Studies! (what’s left of it). Bring back Mary Daly’s
    Beyond God the Father too: back to basics.

  19. I don’t think this movie lives up to the legacy left by Baum’s books, though I did enjoy it. In particular I was bothered how the movie effectivly erases Ozma’s transsexual narrative (as did the otherwise excellent Return to Oz), by having Glinda take over Ozma’s role of princess (it also complicates things, why is the Wizard on the throne if it’s Glinda’s by birthright?)

    The one major disagreement I have with this piece though is the wand/phallic symbol analogy… each with has a magical talisman and only Glinda’s is a wand, and while the wizard is told to break it he does not. At the end Glinda destroy’s Evanora’s necklace which is the source of her power… She presumably will find the Silver Shoes later on as a new talisman, but if only the good one has a phallic-like object as her power source it can hardly be said that it demonizes women for being “like men”.

    • Natalie Wilson says:

      Thanks for your comment and I agree entirely about the erasure of Ozma’s transsexual/gender-queer narrative.
      I also see your point that the phallic symbol analogy idea does not work for all the characters – you are right! I do wonder, though, how often female characters have to have a “talisman” (a wand, broom, necklace and so on) while sometimes male characters seem to have power without the aid of wands and so on. Sure, male wizards tend to have wands as well (Harry Potter included) but I am curious if female magical characters more often have their power housed in the talisman/object while more male characters are powerful “as is.” Also, it does seem true, at least to a certain extent, that when women have magical or “super” powers, they are more often wicked/villainous (the Wicked Witch, the Evil Queen of Snow White, Maleficent, Poison Ivy) while magical/super males are more often heroic (Gandolf, Harry Potter, Merlin, Superman). Sure, there are male villains, but I wonder if anyone has studied the ratio of good vs evil in gender representations. Since there are fewer female characters in general (or one female character for every five or so males), I would not be surprised if the percentage of female characters that are “wicked” is much higher than that of male characters.

  20. Natalie Wilson says:

    Thanks for all the comments. So glad people are generally enjoying the piece and to hear some plan to read more of Baum’s work. Long live Dorothy and Baum’s feminist spirit,! Perhaps someday we will be able to sing “Ding Dong the Wicked Disney is dead” and be able to celebrate a new-and -improved “good Disney.”

  21. Thank you for this. I have been a fan of Baum since I was in college in the 70s, and for all the reasons you suggest.

    The inherited titles would be my only quibble with Baum. Americans are so in love with royalty, and I find that unfortunate given our democratic ideals. Still, Baum set out to create adventure stories for girls because there were none.

    If the makers of this film deliberately chose to pander to boy audiences, this is nothing new. Even today boys fail to cross gender lines in fiction and film the way girls were. I believe this ultimately is an advantage for girls—they have had to read beyond themselves while boys are never asked to do it, more’s the pity.

  22. Too be honest, i think this article was rubbish. I’m not against equal rights for females, but the idea that this movie was sexist based on the ideas presented in the article just sound stupid. The main character was supposed to be male, as this film follows the story of how the wizard of oz came to be. As stated somewhere(cant remember sorry :( ), the script writer was looking to integrate men into the fairy tale world, which is mainly dominated by women. This is really a good thing, as it breaks a bunch of stereotypes, and shows that women don’t always have to be a fairytale type character.

    Next the article talks about the witches, and how show that all women are evil. First thing i want to say is watch the original, that witch was pretty evil too. But anyway, the fact that the movie constantly makes you guess can mean that it says all women are bad. It can also say that all people have the possibility for evil, or maybe the opposite, that all people have the possibility for good. Anyways, even if it is meant in a sexist way(which i really dont think it is), Oscar( the MAN), is the one at fault, and therefore he is really the one that is evil, and the witch is simply reacting. I felt sorry when she transformed into the classic witch, as it was really unfair of Oscar to do what he did.

    I must admit i agree with the fact that at the beginning your meant to feel sorry for Oscar after being dumped, and then feeling happy after he goes through three woman causing a whole lot of sadness, to finally rest on glendora is a bit dumb(sorry for run on sentence), and i cant really defend that point.

    To be honest, i really enjoyed this film, but since I’ve written this much, might as well write about my problems with it :D .

    I really disliked the way the supporting cast were portrayed, particularly the China girl. After the emotional scene of her losing a leg was over, she was a real brat, and i just wanted to punch her in the face lol :D . In all seriousness, i think she was the most offensive character there, and although i cant remember the age of either the China girl or Dorothy, if put in contrast it really is rather unfair what they did there.

    Well yeah, that’s my rant! I really enjoyed the film and thought the claims here a bit outrages, a d although there are some questionable parts of the film, what show/movie/cartoon/almost everything doesn’t have these problems. I’m not saying that they are right, or that they should be accepted, but singling out one movie which shares many similarities to its original and then criticizing it on points which are easily counter argued is just silly :) .

    Thanks for reading! :D

    • Constance says:

      “As stated somewhere(cant remember sorry ), the script writer was looking to integrate men into the fairy tale world, which is mainly dominated by women. This is really a good thing, as it breaks a bunch of stereotypes, and shows that women don’t always have to be a fairytale type character.”

      Right, he was citing Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. What strong role models for girls and young women. Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” gets a pass because it focused on the 3 fairies, but their “Cinderella” was about Jaque and Gus (better “leave the sewing to the women”). Disney’s “Little Mermaid” was saturated with male characters to make up for its female protagonist, as was Mulan (yes, she was in the military, but did Cricky, Kahn, and Mushu NEED to be male?) and Rapunzel. You’ll notice that a no female characters weren’t added to “Snow White” to balance out all the male characters, so why do they keep doing this to stories that feature women?

  23. Constance says:

    “In Baum’s version of Oz, females were allowed to have power and show anger without being castigated—something rare in books from Baum’s era.” It still turns heads in OUR era! And briefly touched upon, I hope that everyone knows what a damsel Judy Garland’s Dorothy really was in the 1939 version compared to the book. I grew up with an animated version (1987) that followed the book more closely, in which Dorothy was anything but a damsel, throwing a knife at witch when enough was enough.

    On a nit-picking side, I cringe when men and women are referred to as “males” and “females”. When referring to people, I use it as an adjective (male/female character). “Man character” or “woman character” (noun following noun) just sounds weird.

  24. Caroline says:

    Found this article after searching up “feminist review of oz the great & etc”. I’m not in the habit of defining myself as feminist, but after taking my two young sons to this movie (in Australia last weekend) I have been appalled every time I think about it (first thing I said to my husband was “Don’t think it would stand up to feminist scrutiny”). Natalie, liked your analysis and especially the wand/phallus analogy … did it occur to you that the dance/music box was a metaphor for sex?

    Poor, naive Theodora accepted the music box, took off her hat and gave herself to Oz. To inflame her with jealousy (see what they did with the green there?), Evanora tricks her by producing the music box and speaks of Oz “visiting her in her chambers” – with a bit of sighing. But back in Kansas, when Annie (Michelle Williams) turns up, Oz doesn’t give her one of the music boxes he’s been doling out to all the girls-in-every-port: “This one’s different”. And when Michelle turns up again, as Glinda, his sweet-talking gets him nowhere. HELLO people … here we have the same old virgin/whore thing going on!!

    So the virgin is of course the mother figure in the end: Glinda gets the man AND stays utterly pure and white (and good and virginal). Forget about the fact that her morals and goodness must surely be a bit dodgy, with her utter lack of concern about her poor baby sister Theodora, who was tricked not once but twice, and has to spend her days all green and wicked and such. But then, she deserves all that anyway because she’s a WHORE!! She let “love” and desire get the better of her. Which surely makes her wicked.

    I’m SO disappointed in James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis. I had thought better of them.

  25. Caroline says:

    ps my boys (6 & 8) were BORED!

  26. Wow, this is great, thank you! I need to re-read the Oz books, it’s been a long, long time. (OK, about ten years.) I have, mystifyingly, ignored a lot of the press for this movie, and asked my roommate last weekend if she wanted to see Oz or Burt Wonderstone. We saw Burt Wonderstone, and I’m glad now, I don’t think this movie needs my paltry $13.

  27. I am a life-long fan of Baum’s. I went to the movie sans expectations of anything true to the original stories, especially since this part of the Oz story is new. I don’t think anyone can be surprised by the traditional patriarchal story telling from Disney or Raimi. They had total free reign on this, having nothing to give them real guidelines.
    Don’t get me wrong, they could have made a much better movie by keeping love and women fighting each other out. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here. Women do fight each other over love, how to treat people, how to run a home or business and it does nothing but separate us from each other.
    The lesson? Treat everyone with respect. Respect each others feelings, thoughts, wants and needs. Problems do not need to be solved with hate and anger; that never turns out well.
    My big change for this movie would be that Glinda loves Oscar as only a friend and companion, the capture of the wicked witch and then for the three witches to come together to begin a healing of their problems.
    Maybe in a sequel…
    P.S. I have a fun view of the original Oz movie in which Glinda is the actual wicked witch. Food for thought.

  28. I thought your perspective on this movie was very interesting. I’m really interested to learn more about the author and the feminist aspects of the original book. However, the article goes a little too far in stating that the way Disney is portraying women is anti-feminist, especially when you consider more recent Disney movies such as “Tangled” and “The Princess and the Frog.” In “Tangled” Rapunsul is simply seeking after her dream rather than meeting her prince. Tiana is a very ambitious woman that is significantly more concern with starting her own restaurant than marrying a man. Both of these characters are way more progressive then the characters Disney portrayed in the mid-20th century like Snow White and Cinderella.

    In The Great and Powerful Oz, it angered me to see how the man disrespected the women throughout the movie. I think this is a reflection of true reality today and the movie was clear in pointing out his negative behavior. To say that women are presented as wicked and powerless in this movie misses several aspects of this movie.

    Oz really begins as the villian in this movie, but it’s pointing out how someone can change. He is conflicted the whole time with the challenge to save the people of Oz because he knows he isn’t the man he wants to be. I honestly felt like Glinda could’ve used her magic to solve the situation the whole time and she really is the one who gives the wizard his strength in the first place. She inspires him and pushes him to become a different man. Glinda’s power isn’t rooted in her portrayal as a “virgin” rather than a “whore” as someone else suggests – her power is in that she sees Oz exactly for who he is: a selfish, egotistical, coward, and a bit of a fibber. Yet, she encourages him to become something different and to achieve something good despite his flaws.

    Oz is portrayed as a very flawed character BECAUSE of how he treats women. I actually can’t think of another movie that has a womanizing man make a similar transformation. There’s an essence of this that is slightly feminist. It’s encouraging MEN to have good morals rather than great ambitions. No matter what our rights are on paper, if men continue to view us a sexual pawns and vehicles of manipulation as Oz does in the beggining of the movie by giving each woman his “grandmother’s music box” – we’ve accomplished little as feminists.

    This movie can be as feminist or anti-feminist as you want it to be. Don’t let the presence of witches make you think that women are simply wicked. The only reason Oz even has some reminisence of good in this movie is because of Glinda’s faith in him.

  29. I have to disagree with this interpretation of the movie.

    “However, she warns him, “You only become king after you defeat the Wicked Witch.” Metaphorically, for men like Oscar to achieve greatness they need to destroy powerful women. ”

    Yeah, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that she is the wicked witch but everything to do with being a female character. Evanora WAS evil and WAS the witch; she killed her own father to inherit the throne. I really wanted Theodora to be a stronger woman, but that just wasn’t her character and would have left the story without the Wicked Witch of the West, which was required by the 1939 movie. She wasn’t evil because she was a woman, she was evil because she was wicked.

    As far as the metaphor, it’s made in complete ignorance of literally everything else introduced in the movie other than their gender difference. Please actually go see the movie. Glinda was a woman in the movie and was stronger, more powerful, and wiser than Oz. Oz only was able to do what he did BECAUSE of that woman. He would have ran away like a coward if it wasn’t for her. And she’s basically completely left out of the entire article on purpose.

  30. The foundational blueprint is related to the four women that gave birth to the twelve tribes of Israel, two of them were “free” women and two of them were “slaves.” From there they inserted the four cosmic powers of the universe, so insert the “Hero’s Journey.” The three witches that appear in this film, there are four in the books by Baum, were type cast to another well known human psychology of women, I forget the name, but it’s three types in that study data. Here is the difficult part for some folks, this story is so true to our human nature, that those who do enjoy it for what it is, are actually being true to themselves. That is to say, this is the blueprint for our inner imagination, every character in Oz is Oscar Diggs Imagination. The same is true for Dorothy, every one in Oz, is her army of imagination process. So the whole gender issue becomes mute, because it matters not if you are a man or a woman, both genders operate in this process known as Human Imagination. This evidence is published in the book and available on film rental on amazon: “The Origin of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”

  31. Sherri Niss says:

    I read the article. I think it had many good insights and relevant interpretations that were correct. However I found the end of the article to be lacking based on my perception of this new Oz film.
    I thought the roles of all the women in the film were relevant to Oz’s success. If You have a male or female leader there are those individuals that have something significant to contribute. OZ could have not made it without all of his encounters. He also needed the experience of being able to connect with all of the different people in the town he was to help save and involve them in saving themselves. This film to me was more about, no matter our role in our family or community we need to have faith, to be able to develop, to tap into our strengths, and mostly to help one another and respect one another. I think it helped humanize male leaders and female leaders calling upon all of us to destroy our own evil tendencies based on our own hurtful expereinces. It was courage that won and people working together that helped the community to triumph against evil. It was not so much about men versus women. However given our society and how we think about things I can certainly see how those who would watch this may see it differently. I do not take offense as a woman, women whitches being shown as evil and the man coming to save the day. I saw them as characters who possessed all the qualities we ALL have. We can all possess the sterotypical characterisitics of males and females and we all are great at something. Together our possibilities are infinite. We can not stop our bad behaviors but we can help one another develop out of them to be the very best we can be. The film was great! I enjoyed it. I do hope this provides some additional insights. Mostly, you do not have to agree with me. I love to read about opposing opinions. Rather than tearing one another down we should listen to one another to make ourselves better! Peace.

  32. This is a well written article but you are comparing apples to oranges. Oz has nothing to do with the original and book. It in now way attempts to. It is just a prequel, no more, no less. No great obvious or hidden messages suggesting that woman are the source of all evil or the only source of wickedness embodied. I think this much intellect and analysis could be better used analyzing one of the many real issues that threaten woman and equality of woman.

    • Constance says:

      A prequel WOULD have something to do with the original, so we are not comparing apples to oranges (which are both fruit, and comparable). This is a high-budget fan-fiction.

  33. Jeffrey McQuillen says:

    If we start with the origins of the role of the witch in society, it is been one to demonize strong, independent, or different women. All one must do is to look at the Salem Witch Trials to see that is the case. Even if you back further to Medieval England or France, the Arthurian character of Morgan Le Fay once started out as a kind fairy before Mallory took her and turned her into a malevolent witch out for the destruction of Camelot.

    Witches have come a long way with more positive representations in contemporary culture. We have Glinda; we have Bewitched; we have the girls of Charmed; and we have Harry Potter. In Oz The Great and Powerful, we have both positive and negative versions of witches. Glinda is still a good witch and does quite a bit in the film to get our male protagonist on the right path. True, she is pushed to the rear in order for the focus to be on Oscar, but the film is about him. I think of the quote, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” I think that is the case here. I guess we could make an issue of the being “behind”, but that’s not the argument here.

    If we look at the two evil witches in the film, I think a case could be made for either side. If we look at the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW), she is the product of both her sister’s and Oscar’s doing. I don’t think she works as a good example. She is not being demonized as being too strong. He sister (I will call her WWE), on the other hand, could be seen as one as being demonized. She is a very strong and looking to rule the land of Oz, all qualities would would admire in a male character. And then there is her role as a caretaker of the throne until the prophesied wizard (a male) comes and takes control of the throne.

    So, I would attack the story more than I would just one evil female witch, since there are others that are good. I don’t think the film has truly reverted back to the evil witch problem, so much as it has with promoting the stereotype that people prefer seeing men ruling the world over women.

  34. Matthew says:

    Without having read the books, or known much about Frank Baum, I found the movie to be entertaining, brought down by some bad casting choices, but overall beautiful and an interesting take of which at the time I assumed based on something by the original author {was official}.

    After some research I became endeared by what Frank Baum achieved. Though the thing that sticks out to me now is the sad story of how he became handcuffed to the OZ series. Having very much wanted to become successful outside of it.

    Theodora becomes evil only by giving up an important piece of her humanity, and through magical means this is torn from her. Oscar on the other hand chooses to ignore this part of himself in the beginning, not even able to wrangle himself free from this self imposed cage when the object of his hearts desire is laid out before him for the taking.

    Oscar enters the fairyland with his self destructive ideals intact, and as most people of whom enter Oz find, their outside world views often, not only do not mesh, but can also lead to calamitous situations. Thus him laying the false charm on Theodora, helping create an even more powerful wicked witch.

    It’s biggest failing is that this is not a story Frank Baum would have written, it’s not darker than the books, it is though more disjointed, and strangely retconning. Tips story, and the creation of Ozma was a delight to read, and adding her to Glinda really does it a disservice.

    My hope is that this movie, and the previous “Wizard of Oz” Are someday forgotten in place of things closer to, at the very least, the original books intention. While relatively good, to great when viewed in their own bubbles, miss the point in the end.

  35. The Wizard says:

    Yes, let’s just overlook Glenda and the China Girl…. This is rediculous. If a male character is seen as wicked, it is ok. If a female character is seen as wicked, it’s considered sexist.

  36. Xanthe Black says:

    I really believe the direct opposite of the original magazine idea that this an anti-feminist movie, and I only watched the movie about 20 minutes ago as I’ve never seen it, and I came to like it. I had no idea that people are already complaining about who knows what.

    Like how ‘The Wizard’ said, if a female character is seen as wicked, its considered sexist.

    But HOLD UP. Haven’t we had wicked witches in children’s tales for centuries? Have there been any popular wizard stories with evil Wizards?

    I believe that in the movie, they are actually making it sexist by putting the male gender/man in a bad light – pushing aside the fact that Dorothy and her friends aren’t included (apologies). I believe he is put in a bad light, as they say he is a con man with no actual magical ability, of which some how all of the woman, even the one of poor wealth, had.

    Also, he seems to flirt and kiss all of main women in the film assuming that this man is a player.

    I don’t feel the movie is about sexism or whatever or not including characters, the movie isn’t even really based on the original book.

    I feel the movie is about Theodora and how this man that she meets and how love changes her and brings darkness, lust and hate into her heart. This lust and hate overcomes her when she says how much she hates the man she once loved at the end and rejects his invitation to join the good side if she wishes once she finds the goodness in her once again.

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