"You had the power in you all along, my dear." Female Empowerment in The Wizard of Oz.

 Dorothy is bad-ass. I am a die hard Wizard of Oz fan. (Not that you would have guessed already). Watching it as a child made me envious. Gosh, what a brave young girl. She stood up to the mean ol' cow who tried to put an animal to death! AND it wasn't just any mean old cow that Dorothy stood up to, it was the MAYORS WIFE. Wow. Dorothy was an image of wanting more. Of aspirations. (Bearing in mind that L.Frank Baum wrote this during a period in America when youngsters were travelling out to study, and this tale was almost used as a political ploy to keep youngsters 'close by.') 

Just the other day, an idea came to me. Dorothy is a metaphor for female empowerment. When you initially watch the film, you think "Ohh poor pathetic little farm girl. She's not well travelled. She needs an escape." But in retrospect, it's Scarecrow, TinMan, and Lion I feel sorry for. Had it not been for Dorothy's agency, these characters would never have achieved the highest levels of existence; contentment, happiness and self-actualisation. Scarecrow would still be stuck to a wooden post on his own. Tin Man would still have been weakly frozen to the spot, and Lion would have maintained his false sense of self by picking on those weaker than him. "SHAME ON YOU! Picking on little dogs." 

Dorothy literally did her femme fata'le walk in her killer red heels down the runway (okay, so she skipped down a Yellow Brick Road), and metaphorically b**** slapped some action into them. She released Scarecrow from being 'stuck' up a pole. She oiled Tin Man's arms, allowing him to 'move', and finally seek his heart and literally b****-slapped Lion for being a Coward. These three characters could also stand for Dorothy's own self-actualisation; she uses her Brains to help Scarecrow, her Heart to sympathise with Tin Man, and Courage to confront the Lion. 


Me in my WOOZ inspired shoes when I graduated! YEAH! "Follow the Grey Tarmac'd Path" :P

She hip-sways in, challenges the 'Great and Wonderful Oz', who turns out to be an insecure old man who needs rescuing anyway to go back to Kansas. She melts the Witch like a boss, revealing that the 'scary' guards hated the Witch anyway! You go Dorothy! In just a week's time, she de-stabilises that 'hierarchy' and completely turns the status-quo in Oz upside down. 

So in hindsight, it was Oz that needed Dorothy, and not the other way round. 

As Glinda the Good Witch says, "You had the power all along my dear. You just had to realise it for yourself." And in doing so, Dorothy discovers that magic lives within us, not to be chased after. Travelling certainly cultures you, but unless you seek that empowerment from within yourself first and foremost, travelling will only serve to be an 'escape' from your reality as opposed to truly enriching your self. That is my belief. 

Comments

Popular Posts