Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Trojan Scarecrow

L. Frank Baum seems to have been as ardent a feminist as was possible for a man to be at the turn of the century. His mother-in-law was a prominent cohort of Susan B. Anthony's, and he created some of the strongest female characters of so-called Children's Literature. His gender-bending resolution to The Marvelous Land of Oz is still surprising today. So it's kind of mystifying that the same book features his most backward female character, the villain, General Jinjur -- whose army of girls (with knitting needles for weapons) takes over the Emerald City, only to be chased out of it again when the Scarecrow loads his straw full of mice and smuggles them into the city. Yes, all the girl soldiers in Jinjur's army, and especially Jinjur herself, are afraid of mice. *Sigh* It just goes to show that you can't win 'em all -- and that the old military strategies are still the best.

-- Freder.