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Old November 15 2014, 02:14 PM   #1
The Four Doctor
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genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Only being familiar with modern gender transformation stories, I was surprised to find out that there is a genderswap in the Wizard of Oz book series. TV Tropes' "Different for Girls" describes it thusly: "Averted in The Marvelous Land of Oz, the second of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Tip, the boy protagonist, spends the entire book searching for the lost Princess of Oz only to discover near the end that he's the lost princess. While he expresses some initial reservation at the thought of becoming a girl it's mostly because he wonders what his friends will think of him. After he becomes Princess Ozma nothing more is ever said about her backstory even though the princess is a very Girly Girl. Given that it was a children's book published in 1903, it's not surprising that there wasn't much examination of this trope." What do people here who have read the series think of the Tip/Princess Ozma "boy-to-Girly Girl" transformation?
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Old November 15 2014, 03:20 PM   #2
Greg Cox
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

I remember reading that book as a little boy and being somewhat discomfited by the ending . . . for reasons I probably couldn't articulate back then.

Mind you, this was back in the early sixties so "genderswap" was not exactly in my vocabulary!
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Old November 15 2014, 04:58 PM   #3
Stevil2001
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Yeah, it's sort of an odd moment. I mean, Tip isn't "real"-- he was originally Ozma, and he becomes Ozma again, so all is right with the world. But the later books never really draw on Ozma's experience as Tip, and Ozma is very different in personality from Tip; Tip is very much a scrappy, clever, irreverent boy who concocts good plans from nothing, while Ozma is very much the all-knowing fairy ruler with innate wisdom.

I bet there's some fanfic about it, though.
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Old November 15 2014, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

My guess is Baum's wasn't thinking it through that way at all, and was just capitalizing on the extremes for stage purposes.
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Old November 16 2014, 12:50 AM   #5
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Yeah, the fact that the novel was written with the stage adaptation in mind explains a lot, I think; at the time, Tip would have just been played by a young woman.
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Old November 16 2014, 02:07 AM   #6
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Baum was probably thinking of Elizabethan theatre then which played a lot on women disguised as men (and Tip is just a disguise after all) where you had young male actors playing women who dress up as men.
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Old November 16 2014, 02:12 AM   #7
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
Yeah, it's sort of an odd moment. I mean, Tip isn't "real"-- he was originally Ozma, and he becomes Ozma again, so all is right with the world. But the later books never really draw on Ozma's experience as Tip, and Ozma is very different in personality from Tip; Tip is very much a scrappy, clever, irreverent boy who concocts good plans from nothing, while Ozma is very much the all-knowing fairy ruler with innate wisdom.
Which gives the impression they basically killed Tip.
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Old November 16 2014, 04:54 AM   #8
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Yeah, true. The ending to Marvelous Land seems to indicate that Ozma is still fundamentally Tip:
Glinda walked to the canopy and parted the silken hangings. Then she bent over the cushions, reached out her hand, and from the couch arose the form of a young girl, fresh and beautiful as a May morning. Her eyes sparkled as two diamonds, and her lips were tinted like a tourmaline. All adown her back floated tresses of ruddy gold, with a slender jeweled circlet confining them at the brow. Her robes of silken gauze floated around her like a cloud, and dainty satin slippers shod her feet.

At this exquisite vision Tip's old comrades stared in wonder for the space of a full minute, and then every head bent low in honest admiration of the lovely Princess Ozma. The girl herself cast one look into Glinda's bright face, which glowed with pleasure and satisfaction, and then turned upon the others. Speaking the words with sweet diffidence, she said:

"I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I'm just the same Tip, you know; only—only—"

"Only you're different!" said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made.
and
Ozma made the loveliest Queen the Emerald City had ever known; and, although she was so young and inexperienced, she ruled her people with wisdom and Justice. For Glinda gave her good advice on all occasions; and the Woggle-Bug, who was appointed to the important post of Public Educator, was quite helpful to Ozma when her royal duties grew perplexing.
So I guess it's the next book, Ozma of Oz, that moves away from that. By that one, Ozma's got a magic wand, and she knows how to use it! I don't think anyone even mentions that she used to be a boy.
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Old November 16 2014, 06:40 AM   #9
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

I can only think of one instance when it is mentioned in one of Baum's later books. I can't remember which book, but at one point Dorothy finds the head of the Gump mounted on the wall in the palace again, and it briefly tells her about its past. If I remember right, it says that Ozma doesn't really like it to talk too much, as it's a reminder of her time as Tip.

Although, come to think of it, does Jack Pumpkinhead ever call Ozma 'father' in any of the other books?
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Old November 16 2014, 06:52 AM   #10
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

In the late 50's and early 60's, there was a show I watched called Shirley Temple's Storybook, doing adaptations of fairy tales. Shirley sometimes appeared in them herself, then in her early 30's. One episode was "The Land of Oz", starring Temple in the dual role of Ozma and Tip. Guest stars included Jonathan Winters, Agnes Moorehead, Ben Blue, Sterling Holloway, and Arthur Treacher, with Mel Blanc providing some voices. I'm pretty sure I saw it.

I think the series is available on video, and probably not as good as I remember it, but I'd still like to track it down as I only saw the episodes when I was between 7 and 10. Some were performed live.
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Old November 16 2014, 10:46 AM   #11
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

That's fantastic. "I'm still the same person, only different." That was ahead of its time. It's still ahead of the times.

Sciffy should jump on adapting that for a mini series.
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Old November 16 2014, 10:00 PM   #12
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

Spocktapus wrote: View Post
I can only think of one instance when it is mentioned in one of Baum's later books. I can't remember which book, but at one point Dorothy finds the head of the Gump mounted on the wall in the palace again, and it briefly tells her about its past. If I remember right, it says that Ozma doesn't really like it to talk too much, as it's a reminder of her time as Tip.
Found it! It's from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz:
"So I am," replied the head. "But once on a time I was part of the Gump, which Ozma sprinkled with the Powder of Life. I was then for a time the Head of the finest Flying Machine that was ever known to exist, and we did many wonderful things. Afterward the Gump was taken apart and I was put back on this wall; but I can still talk when I feel in the mood, which is not often."

"It's very strange," said the girl. "What were you when you were first alive?"

"That I have forgotten," replied the Gump's Head, "and I do not think it is of much importance. But here comes Ozma; so I'd better hush up, for the Princess doesn't like me to chatter since she changed her name from Tip to Ozma."
I forgot all about that.
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Old November 17 2014, 07:28 PM   #13
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

The Four Doctor wrote: View Post
Only being familiar with modern gender transformation stories, I was surprised to find out that there is a genderswap in the Wizard of Oz book series. TV Tropes' "Different for Girls" describes it thusly: "Averted in The Marvelous Land of Oz, the second of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Tip, the boy protagonist, spends the entire book searching for the lost Princess of Oz only to discover near the end that he's the lost princess. While he expresses some initial reservation at the thought of becoming a girl it's mostly because he wonders what his friends will think of him. After he becomes Princess Ozma nothing more is ever said about her backstory even though the princess is a very Girly Girl. Given that it was a children's book published in 1903, it's not surprising that there wasn't much examination of this trope." What do people here who have read the series think of the Tip/Princess Ozma "boy-to-Girly Girl" transformation?
I don't think this falls under "genderswap" because the child involved was prepubescent and there's not that big a difference between a tomboy and a boy. Plus, it was a magical disguise to hide the princess. This story was before the Wizard turned into just a nice old guy, as he was the one that stole the throne from the rightful princess, later changed to him hiding the Princess from harm.
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Old January 1 2015, 01:52 AM   #14
The Four Doctor
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

The Tip, as portrayed by Shirley Temple in her "Storybook" tv show, is why those awful hollywood comedies where girls dress up as boys don't work. They've spent their whole lives as girls, with all the socialisation and femininity that that entails, there's no way that they'd be able to pass as easily as Hollywood would have you believe they do.
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Old January 1 2015, 11:35 AM   #15
RJDiogenes
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Re: genderswap in L Frank Baum's Oz series?

I disagree.
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