A Very Wicked Femme

When I was a kid and The Wizard of Oz came on TV every year, my little sister and I would always watch it, knowing that the appearance of the Witch would scare my sister into leaping under a table or bed, while I soaked it all in, riveted: the flash of green and black, the awe-inspiring powers (I want to fly too!), the dutiful flying monkeys, the sheer drama of it all.

In addition to her supernatural powers, the Wicked Witch oversees an empire. She has a fleet of flying monkeys who do her bidding and an army of solidiers defending her castle. Thanks to her kick-ass crystal ball, she has the power to see and know all. If she just talked about her spirituality a little, she’d be Oprah on a broomstick!

I always come out as a fan of the Wicked Witch, but people are often surprised or puzzled. I even had a friend recently tell me–after seeing the musical Wicked (which is fantastic, by the way)–that I reminded him of Glinda. Glinda has grown on me over the years, I’ll admit, and she’s pretty adorable in Wicked. But it’s very strange to have someone compare me with her, because, well, I’m so *not* Glinda. To me, this has everything to do with my style of (queer) femininity. People see me as Glinda for reasons that are unclear to me–because I’m pretty? high femme? However girly I may be, I identify with others who defy convention, make gender trouble, and question authority. Radicals. Outsiders. Bad girls.

So in that spirit, I want to offer a few words of praise for my Femme Icon, the Wicked Witch. Unlike the typical femme fatale whose power lies in her sexuality, the Wicked Witch claims a form of authority–the power to control her universe–that’s usually reserved for men. She’s not conventionally pretty, but her “beautiful wickedness” makes her tremendously charismatic. She’s not afraid to be a bitch to get what she wants. And last but not least, she has great nails, accessories, and a signature fashion “look” that continues to be influential today!

Today’s question: Who’s your favorite character in The Wizard of Oz, Wicked or The Wiz? Books, films, or musicals are all fair game!


6 Responses

  1. Okay, so I have a clarifying inquiry: Wicked the Musical, Wicked the Book, Wizard of Oz Movie, Wizard of Oz Book, and if Wizard of Oz Book, do I have the scope of the whole Oz series (Omza of Oz, Patchwork Girl of Oz, etc) or am I confined to just The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? Also, does this include The Wiz?

    *shakes head* Aaaaaand the geek is out in full force.

    I’m glad there’s some Wicked Witch love going on. I have to say personally that I was THRILLED when wicked came out. I was over Dorothy in a majoy way and more than ready to sympathize. I have to say Elphaba, assuming I’m chosing between Wicked ala Schwartz and The Wizard of Oz movie.

    Who doesn’t want that chance to fly, powers to change the world and be loved even when spurned for their outward appearance. Post my first viewing of Wicked I was speechless for 5 blocks. Like it was ME on stage. there was no way it wasn’t written for me and with the understanding that I would someday be that girl. Finally a strong female, misunderstood, craving acceptance, willing to strike out on her own and fight injustice, and maybe, with all those things, my gender presentation would work in my favor.

    From the masculine side of things, I admit I’m going to need to go re-read a little. My gut reaction was to say Fieyero, but with some quick research, it’s clear that I’d need to be very specific about which version of the character I was sympathizing with. The musical deviates dramatically from the book… so I’ll get back to you on that.

    All Hail the Great and Powerful Natt!

    I’m seriously impressed. I will go back and clarify my question. Thanks for sharing your reaction to Wicked, too. I’m a big fan. Looking forward to your next comment. -SF

  2. the flying monkeys.

    but, really my favorite characters were always the wicked witch of the east and the cowardly lion. the witch of the east, despite dying before getting on screen, had stellar fashion sense (i.e. much like mine as a child…stripes), and, you know, the ruby slippers really belonged to her in the first place. i think i liked her ambiguity as well – like, how do we know she was all that wicked, we’re just taking the munchkins’ word on it.

    the cowardly lion always makes me think of my dad doing impressions. plus he’s brilliantly acted, and i think he’s the (my) epitome of manliness – he wasn’t actually a coward, he simply wouldn’t fight until he had a really good reason to, and then he overcame his fear (way cooler than not being scared in the first place) and was a total badass hero kinda guy.

    i never much liked glenda, but i have to give her props for allowing the possibility that witches can be good. since witches are one of the few ways women get to be fucking awesome, it’s nice to know we’re not required to be bad and die in order to do so.

    (aside: i went as the wicked witch of the west – complete with pointy nose, black cowboy hat and chaps – for halloween when i was 14. my jokes are nothing if not bad =)

    Great points about the Wicked Witch of the East and the munchkins, who never struck me as especially reliable narrators! -SF

  3. oh, also, a recent re-view of the movie revealed that my father is professor marvel, and my mother would be auntie em, if my mother were to say aloud the things she thinks.

  4. i’ve always identified with the scarecrow. when he gets pulled apart: ‘that’s me all over the place!’ that’s my sense of humor all over the place. (lady brett, i would have been roflmao if we’d been friends at 14.) though i also like the tin man, who is quite the stone character, i think.

  5. I’m going with Toto.

  6. I haven’t seen The Wizard of Oz since I was in elementary school, so the details are a little fuzzy. While I don’t really identify with the scarecrow like leo, he was definitely my favorite. I always felt so bad for him and wished he wouldn’t feel so sad – he was so nice and always made me laugh.

    But now I’m intrigued and would love to see Wicked…

    Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 I’ve been lurking here for awhile, but promise to come out more often.

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