The original author of the Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum was an interesting character himself and a suffragist to boot (not not). There are various themes of matriarchy (apparently the Nome King thinks his eggs are poison because of they are a symbol of matriarchy) throughout the 13 books Baum wrote. We thought we would look back over the Land of Oz creations do Baum the honour of deciding which ones were our favourites.
2. I never liked The Wizard Of Oz film. I know it is supposed to be a classic but I’ve never seen the appeal. Far too twee, poorly acted, irritating songs and a really garish colour scheme make it one to miss for me. It also turns Dorothy into a damsel in distress. She may be the star, but she’s never a hero. She fails to capture the essence of Baum’s Dorothy, who was a far stronger character. Perhaps unsurprisingly as Baum was a staunch supporter of the Suffragette movement (his mother in law, Matilda Joslyn Gage co-led the National Woman Suffrage Association), he was secretary of the South Dakota Aberdeen’s Woman's Suffrage Club. In fact his second Oz story features an army of women taking over Oz, forcing the men to do domestic chores, and eventually enthroning a new ruler who believed in gender equality. Return To Oz is a far closer adaptation of the books. It contains far more of the creepiness, darkness and malice of the books – especially the later ones written when L. Frank Baum's health was failing.It also features my favourite character - Tik-Tok. A short, stout clockwork soldier (the entire Royal Army of Oz to be precise) with a fabulous mechanical moustache who was rocking the steampunk look long before it was watered-down to mean “I glued some cogs to this jacket”. Interestingly, the guy in the costume was a trained gymnast. He spent the entire time doing handstands to create the jerky, unsteady, mechanical walk Tik-Tok is known for. Gareth
3. The Wizard of Oz all kicks off after a cyclone, followed by a cruel twist of fate, leaves a woman dead. Cause of death: House. I wasn't interested in anything that happened after the demise of the Wicked Witch if the East. We never saw her face, just those stripy black and white stockings and the much coveted ruby slippers but she would stay with me forever! The reason this character had the most impact on me was because of the sheer terror I felt when her sister, The Wicked Witch of the West, went to take those fabulous shoes from the feet poking out from under the house. Do you know what happened? The shoes faded to nothing, her legs withered, her toes curled right up and then slithered away under the house! AAAAAAARGH! You can relive the most terrifying moment in cinema here. Squeamish Nicola
4. It's got to be Return to Oz's Princess Mombi for me. I remember being absolutely gobsmacked (for some reason my parents didn't see fit to explain green screen to me) the first time I saw the hall of heads, talk about how to get ahead in beauty (sorry). I loved her mirrored room and golden talons. If ever I have cause to wear a ridiculous dress it will most definitely be just like Mombi's, only not purple, because purple is disgusting and yet everyone's favourite colour. Everyone, you're wrong. I also always like an adult who refrains from indulging a child with sugar-coated half-truths, Head Number 4 will have none of your nonsense. But she will have your head. Squeamish Kate
5. I can't believe no-one mentioned General Jinjar. A radical feminist who raises an army of woman, who use the tools of their domestic oppression - knitting needles and frying pans - to overthrow Oz, enslaving and suppressing the men.
And then doing such a bad job of misruling the kingdom that a second army of women rise up against them and place a new queen who believes in equality for all on the throne. Gareth (again)