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!