Wizard Of Oz Feminist Analysis Essay

The Wizard of Oz was a powerful movie made in the thirties. It did not just tell a simple story of a girl who gets lost, but also brought many different ideas about current events of that time to the surface. The Wizard of Oz was released on August 25, 1939, a time where women did not play a big role in society. It tells a story of a young girl who magically appears in the Land of Oz after a powerful twister comes through Kansas, her home state. In Oz, Dorothy goes on a journey to find the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

While on her journey Dorothy befriends three characters, and leads them to Oz while trying to avoid the devious wicked witch. The Wizard of Oz demonstrates the idea that women are able to be strong leaders. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, a small town girl from Kansas, is taken from her home by a powerful twister. She arrives in Munchkin land. Upon arrival, she learns that she unintentionally killed the Wicked Witch of the East and saved the town of Munchkin Land.

She is given the witch’s ruby red slippers and is told to never take them off by the good witch, Glinda. Even though she saved a whole town, all Dorothy wants to do is go back home. Glinda tells her that if she visits the Wizard of Oz, he will be able to get her back home, so Dorothy starts on her journey to the Land of Oz. During her trip Dorothy meets three friends: the Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow, all of whom she encourages to join her. Dorothy’s expedition to Oz is not easy; she has to deal with a powerful witch trying to stop her.

Although it isn’t easy Dorothy leads her group of new found friends all the way to the Land of Oz just to discover that the Wizard of Oz is not real. Just when it seems like all hope of getting back home is gone for Dorothy, she discovers that she had the power to go back home the whole time. All she had to do was click her heels together and say “there’s no place like home. ” After doing this, Dorothy arrives back in Kansas with her friends and family surrounding her. In the article “We’ve all come a long way from Kansas!

Feminism in The Wizard of Oz” the author Johanna talks about Feminism in The Wizard of Oz. Johanna says, ‚ÄúDorothy does not only defy the role of the helpless female who needs to be saved by a strong male, but she is quite the opposite: She saves the Scarecrow and the Tinman (both who are male) from their states of confinement, and when she herself is captured by the Wicked Witch of the West, she finds a means to defeat her enemy and sets a whole people free as a side effect…. ” (We’ve All Come a Long Way).

While Dorothy was on her expedition to the Land of Oz she befriends three characters: The Lion, Tinman, and Scarecrow. Before Dorothy met these characters they were stuck both physically and mentally. The Tinman was physically stuck, rusted and longing for a heart. The Scarecrow was physically and mentally stuck. Dorothy taught the Scarecrow how to walk and brought him on the journey with her to find a brain. Before Dorothy had met the Lion he was a coward. She made him believe that he could have courage and even pushed him to do things he was fearful of.

In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy saves three male characters from their confinements. This is why she is exactly the opposite of a helpless female. Dorothy embodies a feminist in this film. In the thirties when this film was released, women were expected to cook, clean, and take orders from men; nothing more. Dorothy demolishes that idea of women. She has all the qualities of a leader in this film. She guides the Lion, Tinman, and Scarecrow all on their journey to the Wizard of Oz. These characters were all in a tight position and Dorothy saved them from their states of confinement.

The women in this film adaptation occupy the leadership roles of the Land of Oz, and though they seek advice from a higher power, the Wizard, they are guided by the intuition of themselves and of other women. In this way, The Wizard of Oz could be viewed as a movie with positive feminist traits as the female characters, themselves, are portrayed as being seemingly independent from men… ” (The Wonderful Wizard, American Popular). Dorothy is just one of the many women that take on a powerful role in The Wizard of Oz. The good witch Glinda is another central leader in this film as well.

She is Dorothy’s mentor. She is always there to lend a helping hand. She is her “guardian angel. ” Glinda tells Dorothy how to get back home, and helps Dorothy throughout her journey numerous times. The Wicked Witch of the West is another predominant role in The Wizard of Oz. She is feared; She terrifies entire villages. This film revolves around these strong female roles. In the early twentieth century, when this film was released, women were fighting for their independence and sexual equality. At this time women were only expected to bear children, they were not even allowed to vote.

A century later, women had won the right to vote. The Wizard of Oz was released in the late thirties; since women had not had their independence for that long they felt that they were not making any great strides in favor of sexual equality. The Wizard of Oz is a representation of what an ideal reality would be for these women in this time period. This film showed women in powerful positions. Dorothy, Glinda, The Wicked Witch of the West, and The Wicked Witch of the East showed an opposing view of women than what was believed at that time.

For example, the witch scared whole villages of people. People feared her, yet in society at this time women were not feared. The Wizard of Oz showed women in a different way than they had been seen before. A Modest Proposal was written in 1729 by Jonathan Swift. In A Modest Proposal women are viewed in a completely different way than in the Wizard of Oz. In A Modest Proposal Jonathan talks about the abundance of sex workers he sees lining the streets of Ireland. These sex workers have multiple children that they can not provide for.

These children end up contributing to the economic and overpopulation problems of Ireland. Jonathan uses satire to shed light on the economic and overpopulation issues. It is a melancholy object to walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and, cabin doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and all importuning every passenger for an alms. ” (Swift, p. 1) In this quote Jonathan talks about the female sex workers in Ireland.

He describes the abundance of sex workers he sees lining the streets. These female sex workers are having children they can’t take care of. These children that the women are having are contributing to the overpopulation of Ireland. As a result these children end up burdening society because they did not come from someone who was able to provide for them. This quote shows just what society thought of women around this time. In A Modest Proposal woman are just there to make babies and for prostitution.

Jonathan Swift implies that since these children are born to mothers who can’t take care of them that they end up not contributing anything to the world. This is completely the opposite of what Dorothy is portrayed as in The Wizard of Oz. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is a leader. She in no way does the community a disservice, in fact she does the opposite. Dorothy contributes to the community by killing the Wicked Witch of the East, a person who terrorized Munchkin Land. The views of women in A Modest Proposal are at a completely different end of the spectrum than in The Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy did not realize the power that she had in the red slippers she could have gone back to Kansas if she knew how to use this power” (Amundson, p. 31). The idea that Dorothy had the power all along is an idea that holds great importance. Dorothy had control over her own situation. In the thirties, the popular idea of women was that they did not have control over their situations. Men controlled everything and that was the widely accepted idea at that time. The Wizard of Oz brings forth this new idea that women hold the power to control their situations. This is an important concept in feminism.

These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbados. ” (Swift, Jonathan). This quote from A Modest Proposal is a representation of what women were seen as in the 1720s. Women did not really have any ownership or real jobs. Their only means of providing for themselves, and for their family is through prostitution.

Even with them being sex workers they were still seen as doing a disservice to the community. The children that these women gave birth to were seen as burdens to the community; children that only grew up to take away from society rather than give back. In conclusion, The Wizard of Oz is a film that has many feministic traits. It gave a real representation of women in a strong leadership role. Gusty characters like Dorothy, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda show women in a way they have ever been seen before. The Wizard of Oz sets the tone for feminism in the thirties, showing society that women are strong powerful leaders.