Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?
In my family, a love of the Wizard of Oz is a genetic disposition. Spanning four generations, it is a trait sealed into our DNA.
As I’ve mentioned before, I took this love a step farther. I love the Wizard of Oz, but I LOVE Judy Garland. I’ve coerced family members (usually my dad) into sitting through most of her movies. I have Judy Garland posters. I even have Judy Garland earrings. Her 1954 version of A Star is Born is my favorite movie, and I informed my husband that I refuse to see last year’s remake until he watches Judy’s version first. Suffice to say, I can get a little intense about Judy.
It seems, in hindsight, that this Oz gene and Judy obsession has blinded me. Recently, I had a flash-realization. Dorothy is not the best female part in the Wizard of Oz. Nor is Glinda or Auntie Em. The interesting, challenging, gift-to-an-actor role is the Wicked Witch.
Now, to be clear, I don’t mean Elphaba. Elphaba, of the book and musical Wicked, is another character entirely. Elphaba is the underdog of her story.
The Wicked Witch is no one’s underdog. As I travel farther into adulthood, I don’t always want to play women who are good at heart and beat the odds. I want to play women who are complicated, messy, and powerful. I want to play women who are full of rage, because, often enough, aren’t we all?
In the 1939 movie, the Wicked Witch isn’t given a name. She is merely called “wicked” and we accept her as such. We see WW (I’m calling her WW in lieu of a name) witness the gruesome death of her sister. We do not empathize. We see a stranger steal her sister’s shoes off of her dead body. We do not empathize. WW is grieving, in a less-than-homey castle, the last of her kind. We do not empathize.
I’m not condoning her methods. I’m not advocating that we all start drugging travelers in poppy fields or kidnapping teenagers when we’re sad. Instead, I’m arguing that her convictions and struggles are interesting. I, for one, never gave them enough credit.
So, in both homage and penance for my decades of oversight, this week I wore black for WW.
Let’s get into the lab:
THE EVENT: An afternoon at the aquarium with one of my good friends.
THE BROKEN RULE(S): None.
This outfit worked double duty. It was penance for my WW oversight, but also a control group check in. Pre-experiment, one of my personal fashion rules was Black is Always Best. Periodically, I like to wear all black to measure my reaction and how far I’ve come since day one.
(Curious how I determined my fashion rules? Check out the Experiment page. You can sign up there for a guide to building your own rule-breaking fashion experiment!)
THE OUTFIT: Black jumper, black tights, black turtleneck, black faux leather moto jacket, black boots, black purse. I considered wearing my black hat, too, but I thought that would get cumbersome at the aquarium.
THE EXPERIENCE: I felt a bit boring in this outfit. Before, all black made me feel svelte and strong. Now, unlike WW, I feel more powerful in colors and prints. I’ve found that when my outfits have a wider range of variety and shades, I, in turn, feel more interesting. (Though, if I had to constantly coordinate my outfits with green skin, I might change my mind!)
Our afternoon at the aquarium, however, was not boring at all. The otters and seals were out in full force and being very cute. While my outfit may have been humdrum, they were not!
THE CONCLUSION: I’m curious - have you had a change of heart about any characters from films and tv shows you watched in your childhood? Are there any characters that you draw fashion inspiration from? I’d love to get your take on my take about WW, too.
There are 11 days left of Magic Month! Is there any magical content you’d like to see? Any magic-related rules you’d like me to break? I’m all ears! Leave your ideas in the comment box below, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m back on Wednesday with a collaboration!