5 Reasons The Wizard Of Oz Is One Of The Most Progressive Books Ever

It's been 100 years, and here in the States, we still haven't caught up with the land of Oz.

Wizard of Oz Judy Garland

L. Frank Baum set out to write a fairy tale with an American flavor. Today, that would consist of leprechauns with six packs of beer, ridiculously large belt buckles, and Walmart gift cards. But in 1900, it meant a story about a young girl being whisked away to a land of magic and fairies to fight witches, battle gnomes, and explore a world of whimsy and wonder.

It's relatively well known that Baum really didn't have much intention to keep writing the Oz books, despite having written 15, (if you count the little wizard stories). He really wanted to write other children's books, but fans were so enamored they begged for more and more.

What resulted from his continued writing was a series that to this day would ruffle the feathers of many conservative parents who picked the books up, instead of plopping their kids in front of the TV to watch Judy "I'm way too old to be playing an 11 year old" Garland sing her way through Hollywood's backlots.

What do I mean? Well...

5. Men In Oz Are Either Incompetent, Lazy, Or Selfish

Wizard of Oz Judy Garland

Think back to The Wizard of Oz - if you've not read the book, the movie will suffice. Every man of power in the story is useless. First, you have the Wizard, Oscar Diggs. He is a stage magician who traveled around in circuses, performing tricks, and riding in hot air balloons to amaze the crowd, (it was the late 1800s, and all Americans had to entertain themselves with was booze and beating up the Irish). When he arrives, he immediately takes control of a large chunk of the country, and hides away, lest he be found out to be a fake.

He's not the only one, however. The Scarecrow agreed to go with Dorothy, not to keep her safe, or to be her guide, nor even to just keep her company. His only motivation in going was that he could get a brain out of it. Had such a prospect not been possible, he would have been perfectly content to let an eleven year old girl wander a strange and dangerous land on her own. It's the same reason the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion join her.

In fact, the only people in Oz who aren't absolutely useless are the women, be it the good witch of the north, Glinda in the south, the Wicked Witch of the west, or later Ozma. These were all women who ruled sections of the country, much like the wizard, but unlike him, had the skills and power to back up whatever they were going to do. The only reason the Wicked Witch eventually died was because of her hubris in trying to control Dorothy.


I'm a writer, father, and student. I was born in the southern United States, and currently reside on the coast of Georgia. I am earning a Bachelor of Fine Art's degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University.