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The Empowerment of Women in Mad Max Fury Road

After recently watching Mad Max Fury Road for the first time (I know, I’m late!) I was astonished and kind of amazed by the movie’s representation and empowerment of it’s female characters. The primary cast is made up of heavily pregnant slave brides escaping from their tyrannical homicidal maniac warlord of a "husband" as Mad Max and the excellently-done female character: Furiosa. Watching all the intense action scenes where the pregnant women actually play a huge role in helping fight off the antagonists was really something new, and showed how the femininity of these women empowered them in this cruel desolate world. Their bodies belonged to them, and a huge reason for their desire to escape is to protect their unborn children from the abusive husband who treats wives and children like slaves and possessions. This inherently feminine anti-patriarchal rebellion is honestly the last thing I expected from the Mad Max series – which usually features a lot of exploding cars. That said, there were still a fair few exploding cars…

So what does everyone else think? Does Mad Max successfully empower it’s female characters through these horrible situations, or is it perhaps wrong of the movie to even put these girls in these dangerous and horrible life situations?

I feel like there’s a reasonable argument for either side, honestly.

  • I don't think the alternative side is that it is wrong for them to be placed in these situations, but rather whether this film really does further the representation of women. Yes they are escaping, but mainly due to the actions of the lead character and her drive, but it is also a film where again all the women are beautiful and perfectly proportioned - an unlikely situation in a society with so much inbreeding. It is also difficult to gauge the validity of their act, it is a rejection of oppression, but driven from a basis of a mother's desire to protect their child - which largely reinforces traditional gender stereotypes. I found this a difficult movie to gain a feel of, I think there are some fantastic aspects of female characterisation, but I also think there is still too much developed to appeal to the male-gaze that reinforces perceptions. This indeed is a tricky one. – SaraiMW 2 years ago
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