Picture a child sitting in front of a television watching the Wizard of Oz. To them, it is an assortment of magical beings, a land filled with wonderful places, with varieties of different colors. They do not picture it as something with far more meaning than just a plain fairytale. On the other hand, gender/feminist critics have been able to analyze the Wizard of Oz as well as Wicked, in order to find a more elaborate meaning behind the story itself. They have discussed what lies behind the story when it comes to the issue of sexism and masculinity towards the book itself as well as the characters. There are many concepts as well that help to further explain feminism and gender criticism. The four concepts that will be discussed later on are gender, feminist writings, patriarchal society, and gynocriticism. These concepts will then be reviewed as to how they play a part in the book Wicked.
One definition of gender is the membership of a word or grammatical form, or an inflectional form showing membership, in such a class. Gender critics take masculinity and feminism, as well as male and female, and use those theories to analyze writings. In books, or other writings, masculinity and feminism are used in order to describe how a character is seen by other characters. Feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. It is also a feminine character. After the women’s rights movement, women began to write works and put in their own views and beliefs. This era became known as the feminist writing era. Women felt that by writing their feelings and then getting their works published, that people would see why women should be equal to men.
By analyzing the Wizard of Oz and Wicked, feminist critics are able to produce a well thought out explanation of how the author uses a feminist point of view in order to portray Elphalba’s, the main character in Wicked, thoughts and feelings towards the other characters as well as her surroundings. A feminist point of view is used throughout the entire book. Even though the book is written by a male author, the way he portrays a feminist point of view is quite remarkable. Elphalba is a very dominant character in the book. She is independent and stands up for what she believes in. She feels that men should not over rule the women. She has her own beliefs and values, which help to guide her along the way.
However, gender critics would analyze a book by stating whether masculinity or feminism is used. Take for example, at the very beginning of Wicked, when the group of travelers are taking a rest. They begin to discuss the witch and how she came to be what she is in the present, “She was castrated at birth […] she was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male”, replied the Tin Woodman (Wicked 1). She is believed to be born a male before she became castrated, and then was made into a female. She was also thought of as a lesbian,...