Say, Mad Max, What About Your Promise To The He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club?


Depending on who you talk to, Mad Max: Fury Road is a revelatory feminist extravaganza, an insidious distaff assault on the stalwart ramparts of all real manliness, or not actually a feminist film at all because all violence is masculine.

I saw it, and if memory is accurate, The Road Warrior remains the best Max film (and Mel Gibson the best Max), but Fury Road is getting people thinking and that’s a good thing. [UPDATE: I changed my mind after rewatching The Road Warrior.]  Of course, the “Men’s Rights Activists” are pathetic creatures whose rants have worth only for those looking for a good laugh (and, perhaps in some cases, to establish a case for domestic abuse), like the quoted comment in the image above. There are similar fuckwits on the feminist extremist side of things, like the idiots who attacked Joss Whedon recently. And I respect Anita Sarkesian, and don’t think of her as a militant/unreasonable feminist, but she can be pretty reductively doctrinaire at times. This seems to be one of those times.

To me, yeah, sure it’s a feminist film. But neither it nor its characters are all that deep, and it seems that it had to hit a pretty low bar (promotion tied to Eve Ensler’s involvement, some really basic symbols and themes, passing the Bechdel test) to excite a lot of folks into raving that it’s some sort of revelation. In truth, it’s still just a beautifully crafted cartoon with the barest of ciphers for characters including Max and Furiosa.

Here’s Tina Turner (who could remind you that strong women in a Mad Max flick aren’t anything new) with a song of the week for everybody who can keep their heads out of their asses on the subject…

Tina Turner — “One Of The Living”

3 comments on “Say, Mad Max, What About Your Promise To The He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club?

  1. maebius says:

    Forgive me for seeming “blasé” about the whole topic, but particularly for Mad Max: Fury Road, I kinda did not realize it was meant to be a Feminist or Mannish, or Any Gender-politicist film. I know some Art and film is meant to be so, or point out a particular viewpoint, but in this case I assumed “Mad Max” as a mythos was pretty well established as “fun”.
    Agreed that I was pleasantly surprised upon seeing it how badass Furiosa was, and how the Supermodel Breeders had personality beyond Hawtness. It could have gone much, much more shallow. So kudos for overlaying a level of respect to each character. That’s decent film making.

    I won’t decry the “shallowness” of the character templates too much either because, I took the entirety of the movie as “fun”. I didn’t go to se it expecting an academy award-winning performance, and deep thought provoking subtexts. I went ot see car chases and explosions, and crazy people being crazy in front of cool special effects. Hot Ladies and character development were nice details. Symbolic references like using Mothers Milk to wash bloody faces, or foretelling Hand-to-foreheads were another nice layer. But overall, I just went to have some popcorn, and chuckle at the extreme carnage and effects, enjoying the next 2 hours of Lifetime.

    To that end, it worked beautifully. I went to see it twice, actually.

    My issue, is that I agree it is “feminist” in that it treats each character well. This is GOOD.
    I just don’t see the point of belaboring the point. Your milage may vary. :) I’ll happily discuss the topic further anytime, though. Some movies do need to be critiqued on “Female roles”, particularly like the Marvel imbalances. This specific film? Seems like trying too hard to wrap a cause around fluffier cores. :)

    • Tim Byrd says:

      I never accept “it’s just fun” as a blanket excuse for a work’s weaknesses, and I’m particularly averse to the argument being applied to adventure stories. It was a lot of fun, but it would have been ever better with a few characters thrown in.

      I’m similarly averse to dismissing “fun” works as lacking any thematic import, particularly in a work like this in which the makers were very deliberately laboring to tell a story with definite themes at work.

      All that said, I enjoy Marvel’s movies much more because, whatever other deficiencies they may have, they have genuine characters with recognizable emotional depth and personality.

  2. Since it is more likely that you are simply misinformed and unaware of the facts regarding this issue than it is that you are deliberately lying about them, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and simply inform you of the facts rather than criticise you for intentionally propagating falsehoods.

    The myth of “Men’s Rights Activists” boycotting this film is exactly that, a complete and utter myth.

    This whole story was triggered by a single blog post written by a man called Aaron Clarey, a Pick Up Artist (PUA) and NOT a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA). He called for men to boycott the movie because, according to him, it shoved a feminist narrative down the audience’s throat.

    PUAs and MRAs are two completely separate groups and have VERY different philosophies and goals. In fact, most of the time the two groups don’t get along all that well due to the serious and fundamental philosophical disagreements between them. While MRAs are primarily concerned with improving the situation for men in the many, largely unacknowledged areas in which they suffer from systemic discrimination, PUAs are almost entirely obsessed simply with how to manipulate women in order to make them more likely to sleep with them. Two VERY different goals I am sure you will agree. About the only thing the two groups DO agree on is that feminism is a morally bankrupt and bigoted ideology. Apart from that, MRAs and PUAs are as different as any two randomly selected groups would be.

    Nobody in the Men’s Rights Movement has called for anyone to boycott this movie. In fact I know of several MRAs that have seen it and thought it was pretty good. This whole storm in a teacup about “MRAs” boycotting it is nothing but a bunch of crap initiated, as far as I can tell, by a professional feminist called David Futrelle that makes his living writing articles that criticise the MHRM often using quote mining, half truths, and occasionally even outright lies. Not surprisingly, Futrelle was also the source of the false claim that mass-murderer Eliot Roger was an MRA.

    It appears that this entire “MRA Boycott of Mad Max” story originated in one of Futrelle’s recent articles and, as with the Eliot Roger claim, the rest of the media simply took that at face value and repeated it ad nauseum, despite the fact that there is not a shred of truth to it.

    It would seem that very few people in the feminist and feminist-friendly blogosphere, and even those within many mainstream media organisations, think that it is necessary to do any actual research when it comes to claims like this. They are seemingly more than happy to simply repeat claims made by bloggers without doing any sort of due diligence whatsoever.

    That’s not journalism, that’s propaganda.

    If you’d rather be a part of the propagandists and lazy, shoddy reporters then that is your choice. However, if you hold facts to be in any way worthy of reporting, you may want to stop paying attention to the lies and half-truths that these people regularly come up with and do some actual research.

    Just a suggestion. Take it or leave it.

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