Elisabeth Rappe’s film.com article “Why ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Is a Major Step Back for Witches and Women” is an insightful look at how the film industry is prejudiced against female-lead action films.
What is especially interesting is Rappe explains that this prejudice goes against the beliefs of L. Frank Baum, the author of 17 Oz books.
… Baum was a feminist. He was an avid supporter of women’s suffrage, and was happily married to the outspoken, intelligent, and energetic Maud Gage Baum, who had gone to Cornell, and sacrificed dreams of degrees to marry him. Their marriage was an unusual one for the time, as Frank happily let her wear the pants, assert her authority, and rule the house.
Baum’s mother-in-law was none other than famous activist and suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage. She was a frequent visitor at their house, as were many other suffragettes of the time, including Susan B. Anthony.
Baum was not only sympathetic to their cause, but active towards it, serving as the secretary for Aberdeen Women’s Suffrage Club, and writing editorials for the “Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer,” urging citizens to vote for women’s suffrage.
I know the self-fulfilling prophecy that female action characters cannot “open” a movie. Why do I say self-fulfilling? Because if you make very few of these, and even one or two do not do well at the box office, this “proves” the prejudice.
Of course, many, many male action characters’ movies do not do well at the box office, but that’s just laid down to the fickle taste of the public (or whatever other excuse can be pulled out of a hat).
If you want to see the two-sided prejudice operating in the realm of fiction books, check out the reviews for my military thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS that I wrote with my husband, a member of the U.S. Naval Institute. Some negative reviews attacked LCDR Sanders for doing things in a fictional story for which a male fictional character would never be attacked.
As a long-time feminist I know that women have made large strides in the real world, but curiously they are behind in the fictional realm.
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON and the romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com