When something I rather like gets compared to something that arouses my animus, it’ll grab my attention, if nowt else. Last Wednesday served as a perfect example of this, what with me coming eyeball-to-screen with the most outlandish of opinions on the latest chapter in the Mad Max mythos:
Post apocalyptic feminism, lol. I won’t be seeing the new Mad Max, or at least not paying for it.
I scoffed at the statement (scribbled by one who shall remain unidentified), with its knee-jerk, ideologically-driven dismissal of a film yet unseen by its writer; at the same time, I wondered what the fuck had inspired such an asinine reaction (not to mention the scribe’s assertion that the supposed “subordinate status” of the pudenda gender made the concept of wasteland warrior wenches – feminist or otherwise — a categorical impossibility).
My question found a likely answer later in the day when I encountered a piece by one Aaron Clarey on the manospherian (yet non-MRA) mouthpiece Return of Kings. Retitling the upcoming movie “Mad Max: Feminist Road” for the purpose of his rallying call, Clarey made much of the promotional prominence given to the character of Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, and her apparent loquaciousness in relation to the eponymous hero.
Charlize Theron kept showing up a lot in the trailers, while Tom Hardy (Mad Max) seemed to have cameo appearances. Charlize Theron sure talked a lot during the trailers, while I don’t think I’ve heard one line from Tom Hardy. And finally, Charlize Theron’s character barked orders to Mad Max.
Nobody barks orders to Mad Max.
Now, as a firm fan of this franchise, I must admit to sharing Clarey’s concerns about the prominence given to a non-eponymous character; all the review summaries I’ve glimpsed mention the chief focus being on Furiosa at the expense of our antihero, describing the film as “female-driven” on that account. News of the ostensible star of the show being shoehorned into a support role does put something of a dampener on my anticipation, but I guess I’ll find out in a few hours how much it matters.
That said, it really doesn’t sound like Clarey’s actually watched a Mad Max flick in his life nor paid sufficient attention if he has (what with him referring to the Aussie franchise as “a piece of American culture”). It doesn’t take a diehard aficionado to grok the taciturn nature of Max, what with him fitting the (typically masculine) strong, silent mould and all; in the iconic and seminal sequel, he utters a whopping total of sixteen lines, despite being very much the central focus. As for Max being a character no one barks orders at, I suppose that holds true, provided one forgets that he starts the series as an officer of the law under the command of a leather-daddy police chief (with a distinctly girly-sounding name), pretty much goes along with the settler community patriarch’s plan in the sequel (assisted by a – *gasp* – Warrior Woman), and finds himself complying with the wishes of not one but two women across the running time of Thunderdome.
Clarey finds himself on firmer ground when he cites the involvement of feminist playwright Eve Ensler, of Vagina Monologues fame, in the film’s consultation stages. With a sunken heart, I clicked on the link to the TIME Magazine article cited in Clarey’s piece only to find…anything but an advocacy of special-pleading victimologist misandry (but wouldn’t that make for a great villain troupe in a later installment, Miller?). Sure, Ensler pushes the myth of endemic sex trafficking, sees a woman falling in love as “surrendering her power”, and pulls that obnoxious femorrhoid tactic of claiming anyone with a good word to say about double-Xers as part of her tribe; she even has the audacity to claim the sight of sisters doin’ it for themselves to be such an unprecedented and objectionable trope as to need “sneak[ing] in[to]” the narrative. Still, when it comes down to the purported “feminism” in Fury Road, Ensler’s ejaculations reveal it to be nowt more obnoxious than…fighting for freedom from actual oppression and predation — perish the thought!
As established in previous installments of the series, “rape culture” exists as everything but a cute misnomer in the Wasteland: no need or time to stretch the definition of rape when the local marauders yearn to stretch the dimensions of your slit. As such, the premise of women fighting to escape a warlord looking to use them as brood mares for his hordes fails to elicit my indignation. Far from “blur[ring] the lines between masculinity and femininity”, as Clarey claims, Fury Road sounds painfully, acutely aware of the gender divide.
In short, the film sounds closer to Savage Streets than Baise-Moi in terms of its gender relations policy: make ‘em eat lead only if they (try to) make you give head. Personally, I say “yay(-yay-yahoo)” to that!
Reading the Clarey-on call for a boycott to stave off a mushroom-cloud menocide of cinematic proportions, I think back to similarly pathetic pleas by various other special interest groups, be they white identitarians shunning Machete and Thor for supposed endorsements of cultural and racial “genocide”; black identitarians protesting an art exhibit for its purported “white colonial supremacy”; antifa agitators picketing “problematic” performers; or (most appropriately) shrews trying to moan mammaries off Page 3. Whichever way you wanna slice or special plead it, all these fucking factions exemplify the Procrustean paw of politics, clawing away at all aesthetic appreciation beyond prescribed perimeters. I suppose it adds up to their idea of a fun night out.
Still, whilst Clarey and co exhort my fellow Y-chromosome-carriers to join hands with them in sobling solidarity, I’ll be at the local cineplex, checking out this new addition to a much-loved universe. If Fury Road represents a cinematic decline, I for one intend to enjoy it.
UPDATE (Same day, hours later): After finally watching the film (which I thoroughly recommend), I must say that rumours of Furiosa’s prominence at the expense of Max have been considerably exaggerated; the latter gets more than enough screentime, focus, plot relevance, and badass moments to warrant having his name front ‘n’ centre in that title. The other characters certainly flap their gums a lot more, though I struggle to remember an instance of Furiosa “barking orders” at our protagonist. In the tradition of the Alien and Terminator series of film’s, Fury Road shows that one can put strong and capable females in prominent roles without going all feminist with it, making the gee-whiz reactions by feminists laughably baffling, and Clarey’s RoK article ever the more fucking retarded. The film also does an aesthetically pleasing job of depicting the pitfalls of male disposability – not bad at all for a “feminist” flick.
To reiterate: Get a fucking grip, or a room, gendersphere – I don’t care which.