Friday, July 7, 2017

Furiosa Friday

Welp, I've finally gotten around to watching Mad Max: Fury Road.

During our current political era, it can be chilling to partake in dystopian stories. Fury Road does not explore in great depth precisely how or why the planet became a post-nuclear hellscape. But, as our belligerent, incompetent, and predominately white-male-led Republican Administration seems to flirt with nuclear holocaust on the daily, it is not difficult to imagine Fury Road's wasteland largely having been caused by a dominant class of men.

I was, thus, delighted to find out that it was largely Furiosa's tale. The domination of toxic masculinity has gotten the world into a great many quagmires. It will not get us out.

That is not to say that only women are or should be the future of leadership, or that women cannot also engage in toxic masculinity, but that ongoing requests to center aggrieved white men in politics (coming from the left and right these days) should be soundly rejected in favor of a politics wherein other people's anger, pain, hurt, humanity, and fear also matter. Because right now, they do not. Millions of people voted Trump into office precisely because they resent "political correctness" towards, also known as "having empathy for," anyone other than straight white cisgender people.

What I liked about Fury Road, then, was Furiosa and Max working together, even if reluctantly at first.

As embodied by "the wives," women were uniquely oppressed in this hellscape society, used, abused, and valued by "high-status men" solely for their fertility. Furiosa saw the injustice in this and, on her own, sought to free them. Max, too, had been abused in the hellscape, valued for his blood. Yet, by joining with Furiosa, he eventually gained his freedom, while also helping the women gain theirs. A victim himself, he wasn't an all-powerful hero come to save the weak women. And, neither were the women marginal figures to his freedom story. They weren't asked to put their freedom on hold until he got his freedom, after which he maybe would come back for them.

(It's almost like *cough* stronger *cough* together)

Then, their mission of defeating the belligerent male leader having been accomplished, Max simply left. He didn't rise to be the new leader of society, as would often happen in this genre. Male savior models, both in pop culture and politics, don't often grant that a man can help lead himself and oppressed people to freedom without also being or becoming their Big Leader. So Max, in this sense, was a revolutionary figure of sorts.

In a final scene, he simply blended in with the masses, leaving society in the hands of Furiosa, the wives, and the matriarchs.

(This is the future feminists want if we ever find ourselves in a nuclear hellscape; n=1)

No comments: