Watch out men: the feminist revolution is seeping into everything you love and hold dear. Women are becoming more represented in sport, politics, and now – gasp – action films.
An article called ‘Why You Should Not Go See Mad Max: Feminist Road’ was published on the website Return of Kings this week. This is a site that covers culture, gaming and "masculinity" with poisonously misogynistic rhetoric, and a corner of the internet reserved for Men’s Rights Activists. It proudly styes itself as a space for "heterosexual, masculine men", seemingly terrified by feminism. Women and gay men are discouraged from commenting, and when I first stumbled upon it, I thought it was satire.
And how couldn’t I? Their review of Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth instalment in the dystopian saga by director George Miller. has to be seen to be believed – but don’t give them the traffic or attention (you can read The Independent's report on it here). The author pleads with the site's hivemind to boycott it, due to the fact that it has been invaded by women like Charlize Theron and her character Imperator Furiosa. Men are always being oppressed by bloody feminism, aren’t they?
Yes – how dare Furiosa "bark orders" at Max, played by Tom Hardy. How dare George Miller allow this film to be marketed as the pinnacle of a theatrical culture that is a flame-throwing, car-exploding, testosterone-heavy action flick. How dare women have a part to play in something that isn’t fluffy and pink? For men's rights activists, audiences are being "duped" by "feminist propaganda". But all Mad Max really has is a feminist perspective. And for a Hollywood action film that's amazing.
Mad Max:Fury Road riles against the norm for women’s roles in action movies. Imperator Furiosa takes the wheel as the story’s badass. It’s her film, not Max’s, and rather than a romantic foil, Furiosa is a high-ranking official and Max’s equal. Her mission is to save the oppressed women known as "breeders", who are kept as Immortan Joe’s wives for their physical attractiveness and ability to produce heirs.
The response has been absurd, but it's not surprising that the community on Return of Kings doesn't like it. Previous articles published on the site include "5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder", "24 Signs She’s a Slut’"and a particularly gruesome fat shaming week where they referred to themselves as terrorists against bigger women. The genuine hate for women that overflows from this site is really all you can hear above their pseudo-intellectual analysis of women’s bodies and place in society (you guessed it: in the kitchen or bedroom).
Mad Max: Fury Road gives us female characters that rise to the ranks of Alien’s Ripley and The Matrix’s Trinity. So really we should be reassured by the fact that misogynists are so infuriated by it. The film shows that we’re on the right track for producing female roles that match and transcend their male counterparts, whether they're bursting onto our screens all guns blazing, or smashing through some of the oldest and laziest stereotypes. In this case, complaints can only be a good thing.
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