[ExI] Wizard of Oz and Capable Women in Power

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 17:27:03 UTC 2008

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 10:41 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Ever notice how Baum played with gender/sex differences
> in WoZ?
> It's a fairly common observation, I think. First, there was
> General Ginger and her army made up entirely of women.
> (Baum was actually satirizing the women suffragettes or
> some aspect of incipient feminism, and their overly strident
> attitudes (to him), but that was way over the head of this
> eight-year-old.)

Damn you, Lee.  It's like a freshly caught salmon placed at the mouth
of a hibernating grizzly's cave.  And it's spring.

The Oz books were the Bible in my household.  My father handed them
down to me, and I to my daughter.

Baum was a strong and active supporter of women's suffrage and his
wife was the daughter of one of the country's most famous
suffragettes.  He walked the talk.

Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Frank_Baum:
"Sally Roesch Wagner of The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation has
published a pamphlet titled The Wonderful Mother of Oz describing how
Matilda's radical feminist politics were sympathetically channelled by
Baum into his Oz books. Much of the politics in the Republican
Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer [edited by Baum] dealt with trying to
convince the populace to vote for women's suffrage. Baum was the
secretary of Aberdeen's Woman's Suffrage Club. When Susan B. Anthony
visited Aberdeen, she stayed with the Baums. Nancy Tystad Koupal notes
an apparent loss of interest in editorializing after Aberdeen failed
to pass the bill for women's enfranchisement.

"Some of Baum's contacts with suffragists of his day seem to have
inspired much of his second Oz story, The Marvelous Land of Oz. In
this story, General Jinjur leads the girls and women of Oz in a revolt
by knitting needles, take over, and make the men do the household
chores. Jinjur proves to be an incompetent ruler, but a female
advocating gender equality is ultimately placed on the throne. His
Edith Van Dyne stories depict girls and young women engaging in
traditionally masculine activities, and his girl sleuth Josie O'Gorman
from The Bluebird Books is even less girly girl than Nancy Drew."

I think the metaphor he was going for with Jinjur was those who
inspire and lead the revolution are the least competent to run the
nation when peace is achieved.

Back to my cave.


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