Mad Max: Fury Road is out in theatres now. It’s the feminist action movie that women have been waiting for, and the cishet white male society gets crushed by women in glorious 1.85:1 cinema screen ratio (even worse if you watch in 3D!). And it’s the truth! But, it’s only the truth if you don’t read the fine print. The real truth of the matter is that Fury Road is not the feminist action flic that it’s been made out to be.
This is the long awaited installment to George MIller’s Mad Max franchise. This movie does have some explicit feminist messages, but don’t let that stop you from watching the film. Really. If you enjoyed the Alien franchise with Sigourney Weaver then you would probably enjoy this one. I’m truly sorry to be the one to tell you this if you haven’t figured it out yet, but the entire Alien franchise was a feminist production about female agency and power.
Don’t listen to Return of Kings. This is a good movie. This movie is, more than anything else I’ve seen yet, not a rejection of men but an affirmation of the necessity of men and the historical failure of matriarchal societies.
Fury Road does carry a variety of dyed-in-the-wool feminist messages. There is no escaping this fact. The epicenter of evil white men is the Citadel, a sort of castle fortress built into the side of a mountain run by the most evil whitey of all: Immortan Joe. The movie opens with a convoy from the Citadel chasing Max across the open desert and capturing him. He’s taken to Immortan Joe’s mountain castle, the Citadel, and put into a cage with a metal muzzle strapped over his face so that he can’t talk or move. Does this sound like a feminist smash-the-patriarchy wet dream yet? It get’s better (or maybe worse, depending on how you look at it.) Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa, the bad bitch of Fury Road who drives a fuel tanker to Gas Town on fuel runs. Max is dragged into the chase for Furiosa after Immortan Joe realizes that she’s not doing a fuel run. I won’t go into detail explaining why Max was strapped onto the front of a alcohol powered hot rod, but suffice to say he wasn’t there voluntarily. After much explosions and fire, Max manages to hijack the fuel truck with none of the women on board, but he doesn’t make it far. Why? Furiosa installed a timed kill switch which shuts down the vehicle if not overridden in a set amount of time. This was another moment that really smacked with feminism. It’s like Miller is trying to rub it in our face and saying that nothing works for men without women’s permission.
A world run by women
Furiosa smuggled a number of women out of the Citadel so that they wouldn’t be stuck having to birth rape-babies for the rest of their lives. No exaggeration– that’s all these women were being used for. The women were Immortan Joe’s property, and their only function was to make baby boys to sustain the patriarchy. This is, apparently, what the world comes to when only men are left to run it. Furiosa was compelled to smuggle out the women because she wants to redeem herself for having abandoned her responsibility of protecting and caring for other women, and the women who are being rescued? The rescuees, on the other hand, were running on hope that there was something better in the world than being raped 30 times before lunch.
The feminist utopia they’re escaping to is called “the green place.” All we know about the green place is that it’s where the great matriarchy lives, there’s water, there’s lots of plants, and there aren’t any evil rape-crazy white men. In the movie, Furiosa drives right through the green place without even realizing it. She drove straight through it without knowing it because it had turned into a lifeless gray bog. After finally meeting the supposed great mothers on the other side of the bog, all five or six of them, in a new patch of desert, Furiosa is told all about how the water just “went bad” and everything died. Mind you that the only place with water was back in Immortan Joe’s rape castle where all water was plumbed from the depths of the earth.
The women, clearly, aren’t going back to the Citadel. One, because they would have to go back into Immortan Joe’s attack convoy, and, two, because they can’t take over Citadel on their own with Immortan Joe and the other men still alive. The women folk’s grand solution (rolling eyes) is to load up their desert motor bikes and ride out across the great salt flats in hopes of reaching the other side and finding a new green space. They didn’t even know if there was a green space on the other side of the salt flats. Their solution was to ride their bikes way out in the middle of a salt flat desert and just hope that there was something on the other side. Yeah, that’s shite for a plan. Re-enter Max. He convinces them to return to the Citadel and kill Immortan Joe by way of a trap set in a section of treacherous terrain. The women’s solution and salvation wasn’t even their own idea! It was MAX’S idea! If a hyper aggressive patriarchy is what develops when men are left to themselves, then a hyper aggressive matriarchy develops a society that will kill itself with stupidity if left to manage things on their own. If that’s the great feminist message that Fury Road is supposedly telling, then it’s a damn good joke, because I laughed like hell.
White Cosmopolitan Liberals: The Real Supremacists
The film is set in some post-apocalypse dystopian future where everyone speaks English with an Australian accent (except for Furiosa). National Geographic “predicted” what humans will look like in 2050, and if this movie is a vision of the future then NatGeo is dead wrong. This dystopian future is pretty fucking white. I’m okay with this. Even in the future after a major world-wide catastrophe white people are still in control. I can’t recall seeing many non-white people in this film either– did all of the non-whites get purged during the planet’s catastrophic happening? Seems to be the case… Does Miller really want to tell a story about smashing cishet white male authority structures? If that’s the story he’s telling then it’s not a great solution. Deposing cishet white males and replacing them with cishet white females isn’t much of a social justice message. It’s sort of exactly what Matt Heimbach wrote about a while back when commenting on how white cosmopolitan liberals are the real supremacists.
Replacing the old white men with young white women is exactly what happened: replacing one cosmopolitan liberal white authority structure for another cosmopolitan liberal white authority structure. As Theron and the rape-surviving wives are triumphantly being raised on high to take Immortan Joe’s place, Max quietly excuses himself to return to wandering the desert wastelands, which is exactly what he was doing at the beginning of the movie when he was captured. This is one of the few in-your-face-feminism moments of the movie where the great and mighty Womyn rises to power taking all of the poor and broken people with them in an act of compassion and charity. It’s also one of the tried-and-true egalitarian messages so typical of Hollywood films, because God forbid that a movie come out in which men are explicitly empowered and presented as saviors of society.
Sequel? More like prequel.
Furiosa and the team of rape survivors returned to the Citadel with Immortan Joe strapped to the hood of their hot rod as if he were some kind of wild game being taken to a DNR inspection station. The women are now uncontested leaders of the Citadel. That’s where the movie stops, but for the sake of argument let’s think about where it goes from there. I don’t believe for a moment that the handful of women, Furiosa and the rescued wives, will be capable of running the Citadel in the happy dreamy feminist utopia fashion that we’re supposed to believe. Just because the women took Immortan Joe’s throne doesn’t mean that everyone they’re supposed to be in charge of will stop being barbarians.
If we extended this movie’s story another 50 or 60 years into the future it would probably look like Barter Town from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Will women still be in power at that time? Sure, but only because they have an army of men to enforce their decisions. Enter Master-Blaster, the two who are really in control of Barter Town. Don’t forget that Beyond Thunderdome ended with Max (played by Mel “fucking Jews!” Gibson) destroying Barter Town, freeing the children enslaved to Barter Town, and finally ending with the children establishing their own society in the ruined high rises of a city by the sea. If Max is a feminist ally in Fury Road, then he’s the Evolian hero in Beyond Thunderdome. The children in Beyond Thunderdome went on to live as men (and women) among the ruins with a happy, healthy, sustainable folkish community. If that isn’t an Evolian future, then I don’t know what is.
Fury Road is not the feminist film that it’s been advertised as being. The one thing that this movie has absolutely affirmed is that men and women cannot live in separated societies. Was the hyper-aggressive male society of the Citadel barbaric and atrocious? Yes. The Citadel was a nightmare, but it was sustainable. Was the hyper-feminine matriarch alternative sustainable? We don’t know, because it’s never shown to us in the movie. The only thing we do know is that the alleged feminist utopia that we did see in the movie consisted of five or six old ladies riding around in the desert. Does that sound “sustainable” to you? This movie had the unfortunate circumstance of being made out of order. This is not the movie that comes after Beyond Thunderdome, it’s the prequel for Beyond Thunderdome where Max saves the great masses of (mostly) white children from slavery to SJWs and feminists. Is Fury Road a feminist action film? Sort of. But, it’s still a fucking awesome movie. If you’re on the fence about seeing it because you “just don’t like feminism.” then don’t fucking watch it. For everyone else with a critical eye and the capacity to enjoy an incredibly well made film, go watch it. You won’t regret it.