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Mad Max Fury Road and Feminism

(22 Posts)
PuntasticUsername Tue 26-May-15 23:15:53

Ok, question one is who else here has seen this and did you like it? There is a thread about it here: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/films/2383264-Mad-Max-Fury-Road where I have posted my views.

I also wondered what you all thought of the feminist angle? If you haven't heard, MRA the world over are getting mightily worked up about the film as it has some strong female characters who kick ass, and obviously their poor little dicks are all going to fall right off as a result. If you haven't a clue what I'm on about, this is as good a place to start as any: www.buzzfeed.com/lauriepenny/the-fast-and-the-feminist

spence82 Tue 26-May-15 23:31:23

I've not seen it but I've heard it's very good. I may be wrong but aren't most complaints that the film is called mad max and max is hardly in it?

PuffinsAreFictitious Tue 26-May-15 23:33:19

No, they are mostly around why Charlize Theron is on the posters, that there are too many women in films, that having a woman in a Mad Max film will actually make the whole film utterly shit, that their poor man feelz are hurt.

The usual MRE bullshit.

spence82 Tue 26-May-15 23:38:11

Well I can't comment since I haven't seen it just going off some reviews I've read that it implied that it isn't really a mad max film as such just a generic apocalyptic film that used the mad max name as a selling point.

PuffinsAreFictitious Wed 27-May-15 00:08:20

Then you'll just have to take my word for it that those are the kinds of tweets I've seen about it grin

SmartAlecMetalGit Wed 27-May-15 00:55:16

I've seen it five several times now and I absolutely adore it. DH also adores it.

I keep checking the box office stats for it as I'm desperate for it to do well. Regardless of whether George Miller intended it to be a feminist film (or, you know, just views women as actual people who can be just as complex, interesting and influential in his films as men) it has to be a step forward for the industry if a film from such a traditionally male dominated genre manages to do well when it's very female driven.

I've read loads of articles about it since it came out (got a bit of an obsession going on) but I particularly like:

*SPOILER ALERT*

this one

and

this one

BelfastBloke Wed 27-May-15 07:05:55

Just saw it last night and immediately came looking for threads such as this one, and articles such as SmartAlec linked to. Thank you.

What a great film, and yes, so feminist. You only have to think about the ways a normal action film would have gone.

PuntasticUsername Wed 27-May-15 07:14:32

"The bar hasn’t just been reset for future films, it’s been forcibly dismantled and reassembled in the middle of a gauntlet of sand and blood".

YES. This!

Charlize Theron has said that one of the reasons the film is so good is because George Miller never set out to make a feminist film. He just made the film he wanted to make, and that happened to be a good film that generally shows women (and some men) in a good light. It's great, and I hope it does really well, it deserves to.

YonicScrewdriver Wed 27-May-15 08:51:49

I will take a look.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Wed 27-May-15 09:38:17

I thought it was a fantastic film and even more fantastic to see so many strong female characters.

And it was accomplished while keeping spot on with the spirit of the first films.

A win all round & the standard has been set for others to follow....

GoatsDoRoam Wed 27-May-15 12:26:01

I hated it. Also from a feminist angle.

So, it has Charlize Theron. The other women in the film fall into 2 categories:

- Naked supermodels who shriek and have to be saved.
- Older, uglier women who are all killed by the end. I can only presume that they are so dispensable because they are not fuckable.

The film also seemed to be working in an angle about how men are destructive, while women are soft and motherly and are the protectors and creators of life (the pregnant belly, the seeds, the cutesy conversations between the redhead and Nux).

Well, fuck that binary shit.

The whole film is all about the male gaze, and enforces restrictive gender norms. Except for Charlize - and one exception does not make a rule.

faceremovinghaircream Wed 27-May-15 22:13:42

Saw it tonight and thought it was cracking. For me the underlying theme was fertility. Barren lands, pregnant women, breast milk, women keeping the seeds to continue humanity. The action bits were cool and non gratuitous also. I loved it. And I generally hate action films.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Wed 27-May-15 22:50:16

GoatsDoRoam

Fair enough, not everyone likes the same things.

Out of interest though, what were you expecting to see in a Mad Max movie? They've never been known for their subtle dialogue & deep social commentary.

I'm surprised that Miller managed to change the dynamics so much yet still maintain the "feel" of the genre.

I'd like to see a few more mainstream films follow this lead.

PuntasticUsername Thu 28-May-15 14:16:16

Goats I see where you're coming from I think, but I don't entirely agree. One of the links posted above argues against many of the points you raise, and I agree more with that atm.

But either way, isn't it still pretty cool that we're having this debate about a mainstream action film? A MAD MAX film? smile

GoatsDoRoam Thu 28-May-15 14:23:10

Out of interest though, what were you expecting to see in a Mad Max movie?

I had never heard of Mad Max before, tbh, and went to see it on a whim: I was reading a review of it in my local rag, which said that Charlize Theron starred as "Furiosa" (which of course means "mad"), so I assumed that a dude film had been re-imagined with a woman in the lead! smile Oh what a wrong assumption to make.

So no, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. And I really didn't like the way the abducted wives were used both as eye-candy, and as symbols of the feminine as all-nurturing.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Thu 28-May-15 14:57:34

Ah right, I'm an old git who's seen all the others!! Keep forgetting that it's new to a lot of people.

If you're really bored on day, see if you can find Mad Max & Mad Max 2 (don't bother with 3 TBH) on Netflix or similar - you'll see why this one was a pleasant surprise!

grin

DadWasHere Fri 29-May-15 13:49:57

I assumed that a dude film had been re-imagined with a woman in the lead! smile Oh what a wrong assumption to make.

But Furiosa IS the lead, not Max. That seems self evident. The one scene where Max could have been elevated to compete for the lead was one that was just entirely blipped over (where he goes back alone at night to deal with the single pursuing vehicle). Something like that was jarring, almost like a deleted scene, and was an obvious 'design choice' to keep the Max character lower key.

badb Fri 29-May-15 14:27:07

I just saw this last night, and also came looking here for a thread on it. Thanks for posting those articles, smartalec - the second in particular is great.

goats, I see where you are coming from, but I think that the film also complicates those binaries. The Wives are not just shrieking victims - they often partake in the fighting, even as they are conflicted about violence. I don't think their representation is perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least Miller is aware of lazy stereotyping and tries to complicate it. Sure, not always successfully, but it's a damn sight better than what it could have been in the hands of, say, Michael Bay or Zach Snyder. One of the articles mentions the long shot where Max first sees the wives - I think this was really interesting, because THAT was the film that could have been made, but wasn't. I also appreciated not seeing any of their abuse in the Citadel. I was less enthused by the "bait" scene, but liked that it was undercut by Furiosa calling out her kin history. And Furiosa goes completely against the Earth Mother stuff (as do many of the women, actually, who are extremely pragmatic about violence - and they weren't all old).

And I don't mind her being called Furiosa - it may mean mad (but remember the franchise is called Mad Max, making them equals in that), but it also means angry. And so she should be angry. It's strongly implied that she was kidnapped for breeding purposes herself, after all.

I really liked the mother-daughter stuff. So many films are obsessed with competitive and conflicted father-son dynamics. I liked that this film said - well, maybe there's another relationship that should be explored and might be productive.

The film is a clear critique of Western culture - patriarchal gender structures, climate change, capitalism. I think this is a good thing, and what allows it to be claimed as "feminist" in a way. The women in it are complex characters, challenging and complicit in different degrees. Isn't that what feminism is about though? Questioning the singular presentation of femininity in popular culture? This film might be flawed, but a step in the right direction surely.

YodaIAmYo Sat 30-May-15 15:00:04

The wives were beautiful and half naked because they had been groomed by Immortan Joe to be so. He stole them at a young age and kept them in good health and clothes them scantily for his own enjoyment. The escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I'm sure when back at the Citadel after taking over they would chose clothes much more like Furiosas.

And they are not just shrieking. They help in many ways. The man the back of the war rig, they reload the guns, Splendid saves Furiosas life by putting her self and her unborn child in the way of Immortans clear shot.

And the older women are WARRIORS they laid down their lives for a new generation of women to take over and to bring greenery back to the world. They died for the cause they belived in. Splendid died too, as did some of the younger women from the green place.

I thought it was WONDERFUL.

Check out feministmadmax on tumblr.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 02-Jun-15 12:24:13

I am absolutely longing to go and see this (partly because the only sort of films I really like have either monsters or a lot of car chases and explosions, but more because anything which gets the MRAs in such paroxysms of needledick neckbear rage has GOT to be good) but still waiting to have enough spare time and spare cash...

WestleyAndButtockUp Wed 03-Jun-15 07:17:39

Arthur Chu, "How Men's Rights Activists Killed the World", in Daily Beast.

www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/20/mad-max-how-mras-killed-the-world.html

I admit it—the main reason I bought an opening weekend ticket for Mad Max: Fury Road was to, specifically, piss off the various men’s-rights advocates angrily telling me that, as a man, I should boycott it for being feminist propaganda. Continuing my life’s goal of doing pretty much the opposite of whatever the defenders of manliness tell men to do, I of course bought a ticket for an opening weekend 3D showing in order to give as much money to my feminist overlords (ladies?) as possible.

Was it the massive triumph for feminism that would finally break the back of the patriarchy that both its biggest haters and boosters predicted it’d be? Probably not.

But it was, first and foremost and above all else, a Mad Max movie. And the most interesting thing about Fury Road is how it reveals that, contra the wailing of Return of Kings’ “resident economist” Aaron Clarey, the Mad Max franchise has always on some level been a feminist franchise. It’s a franchise about toxic masculinity, and how all of us—including the “good guys”—are infected by it, and how there’s no hope unless we can someday build a world without it, which might mean building a world without ourselves.

Let’s break it down, point-by-point:

........
www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/20/mad-max-how-mras-killed-the-world.html

YonicScrewdriver Wed 03-Jun-15 07:27:59

I want there to be all kinds of films with key active characters who are female. Good or bad!

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