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Author Topic: Mad Max and Masculinity  (Read 1489 times)

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Offline JoelTopic starter

Mad Max and Masculinity
« on: May 16, 2015, 03:30:32 PM »
We can probably all agree that the "men's right's" spat online over the feminist agenda of Mad Max is more laughable than threatening, in that female empowerment does not mean the emasculation of men.  Notably, Return of Kings's retrogressive point that Theron's character had the 'audacity to "bark orders" at Max' and that 'Max would never allow that' is just beyond the pale.  I don't know about you, but I think Return of Kings absolutely missed the mark on Max's character.  Which brings me to the question I want to put out there for you guys:

What is the modern day conception of masculinity?

By comparison lets just rehash the old-school stereotype.  Men have power and authority over women because they are the more able sex.  There's lots of classic though laudable heroes that fit this stereotype. 

For the sake of argument lets just stick to contemporaries of the Max Max trilogy.  We got Rick Deckard's sorta rape-y romance with Rachael.  There's also Indiana's leading the damsel around.  Jake Gittes's slapping Evelyn Cross.  In each of the three the stereotype serves the purpose of protecting. 

However, there's fence sitters like James Bond who both protects and objectifies women.  Then there's the purely objectifying beta males of Revenge of the Nerds or Jack Ryan, 16 Candles, that acquire man-ness from sexual (domination) triumph.  The ick factor of later sorta gives the basis for the darker views on Bros nowadays, right?

(I'm sure there's way better examples, but hopefully that's sufficient context).

Okay, so back to the question.  I think there's a few parts to it and also some general assumptions too.  For me, I think 1) there is a difference between men and women, 2) that this is both biological and social, and 3) that the dichotomy of masculinity and femininity has cultural (and storytelling) merit.  I don't think diverging from the classic stereotype 'blurs the genders' as Return of Kings says.  I think that culturally we are more interested in more complex characters that diverge from stereotype in general.  And that more importantly, masculinity can be decoupled from the notion of dominance and hierarchy.

Further reading from a superficial google search:
"Who's The Man? Hollywood Heroes Defined Masculinity For Millions" -- NPR
"Defining A Modern Masculinity" -- Dr. NerdLove

So take for example the quintessential loner, nihilistic, tough guy, dark horse - i.e. Mad Max.  I think he's the perfect example of the modern day uber-masculine archetype because he can be paired with a powerful and strong female lead and still come out the toughest guy in the room.  By contrast, the same can't be said about the classical male that Return of Kings thinks is the only kind of manly man.

I think it works because the lone wolf, the wandering ronin, the Western cowboy defies the conventions and rises above the issues that hamstring classical masculinity.  Specifically: 

Is he an alpha male?  Nope.  He's a punk that defies authority and is disgusted by his need to wield it.  He's the last to speak up and only because he has to.  So soon as he has utilized that power, he is ever eager to shed it.

Does he require respect or dominance?  Nope.  He doesn't give a damn what society thinks about him and is similarly immune from it's encouragement as he is it's discouragement.

(However, this loner is only exemplified as a masculine character when he is a hero; proving that despite all his omeganess that he is the most capable character in the story.  When he is not a hero then he might be less masculine, which I'd tie back to Mad Max below).

Ultimately what makes a masculine character, after all?  A character who defines his masculinity relative to those around him, or a character who is solid and self sufficient within himself?

Which might lead to a follow up question:

Is then Theron's character masculine? and in corollary, can Max be feminine.

I think this is the more interesting question and something I REALLY hope gets explored more.  There's no doubt that Theron's character is the biggest and baddest female lead since Ripley, but she reads undoubtedly as female despite her shaved head and ruthless dominance.

Spoilers ahead.

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
I'm totally just reading things from very little here since the plot of the fourth movie was so thin.  From what I can glean, I'd say that Max and Furiosa are foils of one another and that this allows them to be read as both masculine and feminine.

Furiosa is defined by her positive hope and her negative idealism.  She is hopeful when leading the brides to the green place, but becomes unrealistic when leading them aimlessly into the desert.  She is masculine when striving for realizable goals and then feminine when relying on senseless hope. 

Max is defined by his positive heroism and his negative self-resiliency.  For simplicity, allow me to say that heroism can be considered masculine.  Max is most masculine when he is triumphing for the sake of others.  Sure he kicks ass just because too, but his shining moments are when he sticks his neck out.  Contrast for example his acquisition of the bigrig in Road Warrior versus his willingness to then drive it at the climax.  On the other hand, his reticence to help stems not from his selfishness but from his fear of loss, which is definitely feminine.  Taken together, the classic 'riding into the sunset' is the epitome of his character type.  The character is both displaying his selflessness having done the deed without interest of reward (lets say the gal), as he is his emotional fear of... responsibility? love? family?  -- All attributes that make men biologically men.  Masculinity is about protecting family, and in that main aspect the character is most incapable.

On the other hand, Furiosa is not the nurturing woman in the end, but the champion of her new family.  She ascends the patriarchy and so Max becomes a redundancy.  You get the same in Westerns too with the empowered female then continuing on.  Take for example 'Once Upon a Time in the West' or more contemporary 'Cold Mountain'.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 03:32:18 PM by Joel »

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Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2015, 03:37:13 PM »
I don't feel that I can contribute much to this but my perfect image of a man (from Hollywood I mean and aside from My own Boyfriend) would have to be Steve Rogers, Both before and after he got the super soldier serum.

He was a man because he had a good heart and stood up for others, even when it would have led to him being beaten by someone much stronger and bigger than him. And then after he got the serum and became absolutely muscular, hes still a man because he uses this strength to protect others and even stand against what he sees as hurtful against freedom. To me that's a man.being a man doesn't have to do with strength though, its whats inside. 

Hell I could probabbably beat my boyfriend in an arm wrestle, but what I love about him is whats on the inside.  :-)

Cheezy? Yes, Corny, yes.

True? Your goddam right.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 03:41:17 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Mathim

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2015, 03:58:00 PM »
I don't feel that I can contribute much to this but my perfect image of a man (from Hollywood I mean and aside from My own Boyfriend) would have to be Steve Rogers, Both before and after he got the super soldier serum.

He was a man because he had a good heart and stood up for others, even when it would have led to him being beaten by someone much stronger and bigger than him. And then after he got the serum and became absolutely muscular, hes still a man because he uses this strength to protect others and even stand against what he sees as hurtful against freedom. To me that's a man.being a man doesn't have to do with strength though, its whats inside. 

Hell I could probabbably beat my boyfriend in an arm wrestle, but what I love about him is whats on the inside.  :-)

Cheezy? Yes, Corny, yes.

True? Your goddam right.  ;D

That's actually how I would idealize masculinity. Being proud of having brains and heart and not stooping to violently silencing anyone with the contrary opinion.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2015, 04:23:40 PM »
----------------------SPOILER ALERT---------------------------------




There is quite a bit going on in that film when viewed through the lens of feminism.  One could start with the “milk-mothers” brushed over at the start of the film and the importance of mother’s milk being given to the children.  Of the War Boys being little more than brain-washed uber males that gleeful rushed to their deaths in combat, while the Brides were soft and beautiful in their grace.  These two groups really brought together the stereotypes of masculine and feminine.  Notice both are dressed in white, one symbolizing being a walking corpse for the War Boys while the other is of feminine purity.  So the movie clearly lays out the stereotypes for you, but then interjects characters such as Furiosa, Max and the War Boy that joined them to muddle those boundaries.  Also keep in mind the “crones” in terms of the older women that went into combat.

As for Furiosa’s character, she is certainly cutting a feminine characterization as she is trying to protect the other women.  Femininity is very much tied to nurturing and protecting, which she does by protecting the Brides.  Now she accomplishes this in a traditionally masculine manner of being a commanding presence and a frightfully effective fighter.  By the same token she also does become a damsel in distress during the fighting, having to be rescued by Max and in losing her bearings so that he has to take over leadership of the women.  So Max retains his masculinity despite being captured at the start, he regained his freedom by his own strength and wits.  He leads the women from the salt flats back to prosperity at the Citadel and in general is the quietly, dominant hero of masculinity.  So I am not sure where this threatening of masculinity and femininity arises with Max and Furiosa. 

The movie highlights that women are not weak for being feminine, just as men are not necessarily strong by being masculine.  I do not regard Max as the best fighter in that group and there is even a scene where it’s highlighted he is not the best shot.  So while both contributed and retained their gender roles, neither was really on top.  Which I suppose is what is so upsetting to people.

To me the greater shift was in the Brides and in the War Boy.  The War Boy (I forget his name) starts out with testosterone fueled vigor and rage to see battle.  He is what you would consider a teenage boy.  Yet as the story progresses he becomes more vulnerable and more feminine, relying on the women to help him and taking their orders.  The Brides become more commanding in their attitudes, one even boldly tricking the large War Boy into taking her onto the vehicle so that she could help Furiosa at the final battle.  So there is certainly, to me, more gender movement there.

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2015, 06:14:44 PM »
@Pumpkinseeds

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
It's the masculine destroyer versus the feminine creator in the film-- that's interesting because in most mythologies Chaos is ascribed more as a feminine trait and Order is more of a masculine trait.  (Definitely ideas of gender a millennia years ago are different than ideas of gender now).  The masculine destroyer makes more sense now?

I loved the "crones" in the film.  -- The young fertile brides, the non-breeding Furiosa, and the sterile crones who hold the seeds for rebirth.

Furiosa though defends by being offensive, which is more masculine than feminine.  She's the one that defaces Imortan, and she strikes out to make the deal with the mountain passage people, leaving Max behind to guard the girls.  On the other hand, Max is the one who takes care of tank treads while she continues on with the group.  Atop of that, both of them drive the war-rig. 

Even the way they exchanged roles with the rifle to take out the light was a fun switch.  Max is negatively masculine in his bravado, taking two shots with the expectation that he can do it free standing.  Furiosa is positively feminine in her patience insistence that she take the last shot.  She is positively confident in her own abilities over Max, irrespective of ego, asking for his shoulder for balance rather than offering her's for his shot.  She's not Molly Pitcher loading his cannon.  That positive cooperation contrasts with Max's negative independence.  In that regard, femininity is better than masculinity.

It feels right that there ought to be more gender movement with the war boys and the brides.  They are the new generation while Max, Furiosa and the others are ossified in what they (know) knew. 

All of this just leaves me wanting for more content in the movie!  Charlize and Hardy so nailed that shit despite the paucity of dialog.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 06:16:20 PM by Joel »

Offline Angiejuusan

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2015, 07:47:13 PM »
Oh Return of Kings...I can never tell if they're faking it a'la Onion or they actually believe this shit. Probably the latter.

I can't contribute much to the discussion because I haven't seen the new Mad Max, but I will say this: Characterization is the most important aspect of a story, period. If a story would (somehow) be served properly with the use of a hyper-masculine protagonist, great, go ahead. If it would be served by something that's actually three-dimensional, even better. Ideally, a character would be defined by personality and actions first, appearance second (or third, if you separate personality and actions). Heck, most of the characters I make on this very site are defined more by personality then looks-I can assign any image I please to my characters, and that satisfies me.

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Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2015, 03:15:00 AM »
My perfect image of a man would be Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird.  To be honest, a woman acting the same way would be my perfect image of a woman as well.  To me, being an adult means two things:  Responsibility for one's self, and the ability to be responsible for others, whether another individual, or your community in general.  In that regards, the general differences between men and women don't outweigh the general importance of simply acting like an adult, regardless of gender.

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2015, 11:50:18 AM »
@AngieJussan - I agree, though I use appearances as readily as I do characterization.  They are interchangeable in my mind.  I also think the choices a writer (or artist) makes says something about that person as well as what that person (wants to) convey(s) either consciously or unconsciously about their world view.  I also think this whole 'triggers' and 'you do you' habit is counter productive to creative criticism.  In fact, "Girls" had a fantastic (!!) parody of that in an episode.  Anyway, I digress.  I know that the above is NOT at all what you were talking about with appearances.  But my point is that making things universal can also be diluting?  Like you're losing one color from your palate? 

@HannibalBarca - I think the issue is more nuanced than just being responsible.  I mean yeah, that's actually the right answer:  People should all be responsible and noble and good people regardless of their gender.  But how females and men are represented as responsible in narratives, usually depends on their gender?  I think the question is more about how this can be done in a positive and conscientious way?  I mean personally, I think it'd be boring if men and women were portrayed exactly the same in narratives.  There are distinctions that are fun and can add depth to a character, I think.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2015, 03:19:35 PM »
 I am not sure if the masculine destroyer is such a correct traditional view.  God is seen as a masculine figure that created the cosmos, along with Hephaestus from Greek mythology and in general men are seen as creators and innovators throughout history.  Women in certain mythologies are seen as sowing the seeds of destruction and being creatures of temptation and chaos.  Simply look at the origins of the word hysteria, consider the story for Helen of Troy and the story about Eve in the garden.  Now you could say that men are viewed more positively for their destructive impulses or at least were at some point.  Men are expected to be more direct in their confrontation and honorable, like soldiers and warriors.  Whereas women are often placed in a more sneaky and underhanded method than their male counterparts.  Contrast for instance Hawkeye with his bow and arrow, perched high above firing off arrows to the Black Widow assassin character that uses deception (side note: there was a great article about how Black Widow had to shed her femininity so to speak to become so badass, whereas Hawkeye was able to keep his masculine ability to be a father and husband).  In Mad Max there was also a dose of this since Furiosa was the first to go for a gun in the fight between them and also had the knife hidden in the handle of the gear shift, along with all the hidden guns throughout the cabin.  This shows certain, “I can’t fight a man without cheating” mindset.

The notion of gender roles and expectations I think makes people uncomfortable.  Most of the traits I see here are what would be ascribed to a good person, not so much a good man or woman.  Good heart and responsible are kind of generic things people would ascribe to a good person or mate.  I think the sooner we as a people can realize our bias and confront them, the sooner such things can be handled and put aside.

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Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2015, 03:44:18 PM »
“I can’t fight a man without cheating”

In a fight, especially for your life, there is no such thing as fighting fair. You can fight honorable, but there is no such thing as fairness. And she was expecting to be chased down by an entire war party, so I think her having guns hidden everywhere was just good planning.

Edit: This comment reminded me of something I read in a book somwhere long ago where a reporter complained to a US General that it was unfair that the US troops were using nightvision goggles to fight at night when the insurgents had no such capability. But for the life of me I cant remember what book it was.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 04:00:39 PM by Lustful Bride »

Offline Aethereal

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2015, 03:55:50 PM »
Quote
I mean personally, I think it'd be boring if men and women were portrayed exactly the same in narratives.
       The problem is that people have some kind of weird preconception of what the opposite sex is like, and they simply overdo it. It has happened far too often that I read or watch something a man has written, find the male characters fairly relatable, but the female characters only induce the feeling of "...What is this alien?  ??? ". They simply don't feel human to me anymore.
       I treat males and females the exact same way in real life - why should I do differently in literature? A person is a person is a person foremost and even if the statistical averages end up being slightly different dots, no one really is a statistical average in real life.

       (Cannot comment on Mad Max specifically, as I've not seen that movie.)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2015, 04:53:27 PM »
Well considering my statement was in regard to gender roles and characterization and not on the tactics of the character, I find the quote you are referencing a difficult one to associate.  Certainly have a multitude of hidden weapons makes good tactical sense, but once more we are talking about how the people writing and portraying the character of Furiosa were using intended or unintentional bias.  The film made a point of showing Max taking away all these weapons and then of her showing the knife in the gear shift hidden from him.  This was an intentional moment in the film that actually served no purpose other than to show Max making her less dangerous by removing the weapons.  Whereas Max is always viewed as a threat by the women despite having a weapon or not.  Such as when he steps out of the vehicle with the other War Boy and the crones, who are armed are immediately wary and fearful of the men.

I also wanted to point out that in terms of ground breaking gender roles, I think Claire Underwood from House of Cards is more revolutionary than Furiosa.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 05:12:25 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »

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Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2015, 05:37:26 PM »
Well considering my statement was in regard to gender roles and characterization and not on the tactics of the character, I find the quote you are referencing a difficult one to associate.  Certainly have a multitude of hidden weapons makes good tactical sense, but once more we are talking about how the people writing and portraying the character of Furiosa were using intended or unintentional bias.  The film made a point of showing Max taking away all these weapons and then of her showing the knife in the gear shift hidden from him.  This was an intentional moment in the film that actually served no purpose other than to show Max making her less dangerous by removing the weapons.  Whereas Max is always viewed as a threat by the women despite having a weapon or not.  Such as when he steps out of the vehicle with the other War Boy and the crones, who are armed are immediately wary and fearful of the men.

I also wanted to point out that in terms of ground breaking gender roles, I think Claire Underwood from House of Cards is more revolutionary than Furiosa.

Hmm I think you have a point. Il take your work on Underwood from HoC since I haven't watched that show. *too busy with game of thrones >3<*

Offline Angiejuusan

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2015, 05:55:35 PM »
@AngieJussan - I agree, though I use appearances as readily as I do characterization.  They are interchangeable in my mind.  I also think the choices a writer (or artist) makes says something about that person as well as what that person (wants to) convey(s) either consciously or unconsciously about their world view.  I also think this whole 'triggers' and 'you do you' habit is counter productive to creative criticism.  In fact, "Girls" had a fantastic (!!) parody of that in an episode.  Anyway, I digress.  I know that the above is NOT at all what you were talking about with appearances.  But my point is that making things universal can also be diluting?  Like you're losing one color from your palate? 


(Emphasis added)

I see where you're coming from. Appearance has its place as well (and I know we're getting away from Mad Max, but I wanted to say my piece on this). Making someone look like a hero or villain, or in some cases, NOT look like a hero or villain, can be just as important. I'll reference video games since I know them quite well, and in this case, bring up Just Cause 2. Rico does not look like the archetypal hero, at first glance, he looks more anti-hero then hero. This actually does tie into his character-he's mean and surly, but his job involves blowing shit up and toppling entire regimes. And in fact, this was the one problem I had with the movie Drive-Ryan Gosling does not look like a badass motherfucker. Granted, his actions show that The Driver IS, but at first glance, you wouldn't think of him as being capable of smearing a dude's head on an elevator floor (spoiler alert).

So in summary, appearance is important, but to me (and I want to make this clear, this is PURELY opinion), personality is more important. I often find that when I build a character's personality, that's when the appearance also starts to take shape. Am I making any sense at all?

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2015, 11:53:46 AM »
@Pumpkinseeds -
Ultron/House of Cards Spoilers
That's an interesting point with Black Widow and Hawkeye.  And maybe taking from what Shienvien said, it sorta feels a bit like overcompensation.  Because a Black Widow who is a mother would feel like she abandoned her child whereas a Hawkeye father is the breadwinner when he leaves his family and risks his life.  Classical male characters are more noble when they have families, but the story always requires them to be apart from their families.  Male characters who stay with their families are considered less masculine because they are the ones that do not go to war or whatever.  On the other hand, if say Black Widow has a child, but that child is separated from her, then her character would be expected to be more fanatical than cool tempered.  She wouldn't for example pursue Banner.

I'm always like... do you spit in the face of conventions or bend them.  You could just plain gender swap it.  A fem-Mad-Max would totally still read as Mad Max.  But a Furiosa minus the brides would be such a boring, un-relatable character like say... Resident Evil girl.  Sure she's a woman and she's badass, but why.

Claire Underwood.  Absolutely.  She's in some part, characteristically a woman, but her character is more defined by her situation than her persona.  She's a woman in a man's world and after a few seasons of us being educated on why she can't have what she wants, she finally gets all her pieces together and strikes out on the best path available to her.  Besides it feels like the show wants you to look at it in an almost Shakespearian way...  which does make Claire more manipulative of Frank whereas Frank is outright authoritative over her.   

Though is it counter productive in stories/cinema to continue portraying men as physically stronger and physically intimidating over women?  Given that sort of dynamic, it'd make sense for someone who is physically weaker to be smarter about how they engaged their (largely male) opponents.  Even Max gets owned by physically larger men and outside of those instances he still shoots people in the back or 'cheats' in other ways. 

Women are also physically stronger than men.  But that generalization of men being physically threatening... is it good for narrative or not.  It feels like it's almost necessary (even if it's never tested) to give a complimentary contrast between male and female protagonists.  I don't think it has to exist, but I'd miss it if it's a convention I can't use anymore.

@Angiejussan -  I think that's what made Drive compelling actually.  Gosling's baby faced carnage is an interesting contrast that I thought added depth to his character.  It's not overt as in say Battle Royal, which only talks about the situation than the character when comparing innocence with violence. But I think casting a different actor for The Driver... like say Charlie Hunnam would make him a very different character indeed.  Ultimately I don't think it's The Driver's brutality that makes him frightening but his indifference in the face of that brutality that makes him shocking.  Gosling's unmarked, smooth and non-gritty demeanor captures that in a way that a more obvious criminal casting would not, I think.  (This of course went totally haywire in Only God Forgives).

Offline Angiejuusan

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2015, 02:26:24 PM »
@Joel: I was going to make that jump, and I forgot to. I totally agree that his appearance as a baby face does serve to make the brutality all that more shocking. In fact, I think a lot of the characters have appearances that go against how their actual personalities are in Drive. Ron Perlman, for example, really does look like a hard-ass bastard, but it's slowly revealed that his personality is far more along the lines of a whiny kid (even reflected in his character's name, "Nino", which means "Child"). And it is quite effective that Gosling is going around doing Hotline Miami levels of violence with utter indifference, it serves the story far more then an obviously criminal face would. And that's really all it comes down to: Does this serve the story? If yes, proceed. If no, try again.

Offline Aethereal

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2015, 07:32:17 PM »
Quote
But that generalization of men being physically threatening... is it good for narrative or not.
        To me it isn't good narrative, really, as it is some kind of weird generalization I personally cannot relate to from real life... I have never perceived men as more intimidating than women myself, you see (and during a certain period of my life, it was downright vice versa - it was the girls who went about brutally beating people - and I mean repeatedly bashing someone's face into the edge of a stone sink brutally - up at the first school I was in, and later on in university I changed residence because of a 1.85-ish woman I knew had physically violent tendencies).
      I tend to read body language rather than appearance, and if the body language doesn't convey ill intent, that person simply doesn't register as intimidating to me, even if they are over two meters tall and well-built. Stronger? Probably. Intimidating? No. I haven't personally seen women being less inclined to physical violence than men. And believe me, size doesn't matter all that much when a person is really damn intent on hurting you or worse, also knows how to fight...

Offline Juggtacular

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2015, 07:41:47 PM »
Well considering my statement was in regard to gender roles and characterization and not on the tactics of the character, I find the quote you are referencing a difficult one to associate.  Certainly have a multitude of hidden weapons makes good tactical sense, but once more we are talking about how the people writing and portraying the character of Furiosa were using intended or unintentional bias. The film made a point of showing Max taking away all these weapons and then of her showing the knife in the gear shift hidden from him.  This was an intentional moment in the film that actually served no purpose other than to show Max making her less dangerous by removing the weapons.  Whereas Max is always viewed as a threat by the women despite having a weapon or not.  Such as when he steps out of the vehicle with the other War Boy and the crones, who are armed are immediately wary and fearful of the men.

I also wanted to point out that in terms of ground breaking gender roles, I think Claire Underwood from House of Cards is more revolutionary than Furiosa.

I considered Furiosa plenty dangerous(She went from being a slave to Imperator over the literal tons of capable men at the Citadel, which probably involved a lot of murder and the loss of her arm). She was the only person aside from Joe's roided up son at the end who had a physical fight with Max and was making him work for that win. When he was at the Citadel, he was knocking guys 15 feet and tossing them like ragdolls so since those two actually went at it and the fight probably would have kept going if Nux didn't show up, I'd say she was plenty dangerous. I considered her even moreso because she was so badass with only one arm. Like literally holding Max from falling to his death after getting stabbed. She was uber badass.

If anything, it showed a massive respect of her prowess from Max that he decided to take all the guns. So she'd have absolutely no chance of turning the tables on him and fucking him up like she almost did in their first fight. Basically Max was thinking, "If I slip up even a little around this woman, it's my ass on a platter." Even Joe considered her dangerous. Remember when he sent Nux back to get them? Nux said he'd stab her in the spine and keep her alive. Joe said "Fuck that, kill her." Not only did she piss him off, but she proved how much trouble she could be. Trouble he didn't want.

And the wives/Furiosa considered Max a threat because of all they saw him do. The Green Place women considered him a threat because they seemed to be an Amazon-esque society, or at least hadn't been around men in a very long time as the youngest one in their group was about mid-30's and she remembered Furiosa from 7000 days ago(19 years). Plus Furiosa and I'm assuming more women were kidnapped by Joe and his War Boys. So men probably weren't high on their list at the time.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 08:00:27 PM by Juggtacular »

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2015, 12:08:16 AM »
This is an interesting thread and a lot of points were brought up.  Before I go into any of those I'll just state my opinion on the movie.  It really had nothing to do with feminism or anything like that.  My problem with the movie was that it was an action movie called Mad Max, and Max wasn't even starring in the movie.. That is pretty much my complaint.  That being said, I've never really been a Mad Max fan so for me its just one movie in a long list of simply 'meh' movies.

What I don't understand is why political correctness in a movie matters.  Feminism is just one of those groups that you really can't please.  If you get involved, even if its pro feminism, sooner or later it'll come back to bite you.  Joss Whedon got railed on by feminists not that long ago for the Ultron movie (Which in its own right was a terrible movie) for how he portrayed Black Widow even though most of his career he has done nothing but write strong leading female characters.  Even a movie like Mad Max doesn't make feminists happy.  Sure it has a badass female character, but someone earlier on the thread complained 'well they had that thing with the milk mothers'.  People talk about this stuff like movies reflect how people act in society.  'That movie was sexist and misogynistic'... So?  Who cares... Its just a movie.  I don't think you can project societies screw ups on movies.  Complaining about sexism in movies is like complaining about violent videogames being the cause of school shootings.

At our core I believe that for the most part we are shallow individuals, and nothing reflects this more than what is around us.  Hollywood for example, almost all the top paying actors are attractive, or had been at one point, why? It doesn't really have anything to with quality because one of the top grossing movies of the last few months was Fast and Furious 7, which is nothing more than a mind numbing action movie.  The reason is that we want to see pretty people.  That is why even today magazine have fit/attractive men and women on the cover.  Now you could very easily argue 'well it doesn't apply to me' but really it kinda does.  Just look at 90% of any sexual roleplay on thiis site alone.  All the characters are either hot/attractive young women or handsome/athletic men.  Why?  Because that is what WE fantasize about.  In retrospect it is a lot easier to bitch about a movie being sexist than it is to look at yourself as someone who is in part to blame.

Someone mentioned Claire Underwood in one of the earlier posts.  My wife and I were huge fans of House of Cards up until the train wreck that was season 3.  Claire Underwood was probably my favorite character on the show.  She was a strong, cold, devious and calculating character.  The line where she says "I am willing to let your unborn child wither and die if that's what it takes" made me say "That... Was badass"  The way she handled things was amazing, more so that she held her own against a character like Frank Underwood.  Even in season 2 the way she dealt with both rape and abortion were both very interesting plot lines, not because it was making a statement but more it fit Claire's character.  Now the cold and confident woman we see in seasons 1 and 2 basically becomes a retard in season 3.  She actually becomes a female cliche.  Ruled by her emotions, making very irrational decisions all because the writers wanted to make some kind of social statement.  In that remark I'm talking about Claire and her gay rights cause that she picks up and talks publicly about even though it is basically screwing with her husband's career.  I'm a little fuzzy on season 3 because I only saw it once.. What was it that Claire wanted to be.. US Ambassador?  She wanted to do it on her own, but didn't get the votes.. So what does she do? Cries to her husband and forces him to appoint her as the Ambassador anyway.  Later on in the season due to her lack of experience  she gets duped by the Russians.  Even though it was her fault, who does she blame?  Frank for some magical reason.

Of course Claire isn't the only character that the writers messed up because of some social agenda.  There was that thing with Frank, and Meechum.  I imagine the writers had this "Lets show how progressive Frank is, that he can be a badass but also like dick at the same time" moment.  When in reality it ended up going nowhere.  The Meechum/bi thing happens ONCE, and is never mentioned again, almost as if it never happened.  Not to mention it is a part of himself that Frank keeps hidden away from everyone, so I really don't see the point in even putting that in the show.  Getting back to Claire, she is someone who is a smart woman, someone who has her eye on the big picture, despite all that she pretty much not only jeopardizes her own future but her husband's bid for presidency by going 'lol I'm leaving you just as your campaign is getting started'.  Honestly it really made no sense.  It felt like the writers just threw that in there for a shocking cliffhanger, however the season itself was so terrible that by the time the end came I really didn't care what happened.

Someone also talked about their 'ideal' actor, and some talked about looks while others talked about personalities and whatnot.  The reality is that almost all actors are selfish and entitled d-bags (Btw I'm really not sure if its okay to use profanity on this board so I'm trying to be delicate with my language, a feat that I'm finding harder than I'd imagined).  Actors get paid outrageous amounts and lead a privileged life where they are worshiped for a skill that isn't even useful in the real world.  Now you could argue that I'm bitter about their lives as opposed to mine, but I'm really not.  I'm just pointing out facts.  In most cases the personality of an actor doesn't really hold much, if any weight in my mind when I'm judging a movie.  Clint Eastwood for example, I LOVE his westerns, and I even love some of his newer movies.  Gran Torino being one of those films.  Does it matter that its a known fact that a few decades ago Eastwood was banging this woman whom he refused to marry, not only that but he refused to wear condoms and throughout their relationship he forced her to get countless abortions as a result?  No, to me none of that matters when I'm watching a movie, just like most of the world.  We live in a technological world where information is very easily shared, while there are some people who are ignorant of such facts, as a whole most people just don't care.

Getting back to the topic at hand..  I think the thing I find the most disturbing about discussions like these is the fact that we live in a world where some people don't have clean water to drink, some people don't have homes, some go to bed hungry.  All that is happening when there are people being paid sums up to 40 million dollars for walking around and talking.  The issue isn't 'Man.. Hollywood as a whole is a messed up industry' but more 'Ya know..  I think this movie is a little sexist in the way it depicts men, and stereotypes women, which is the REAL problem guys!' 
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 12:57:42 AM by IntensePlayer »

Offline Blythe

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2015, 12:06:11 PM »
Getting back to the topic at hand..  I think the thing I find the most disturbing about discussions like these is the fact that we live in a world where some people don't have clean water to drink, some people don't have homes, some go to bed hungry.  All that is happening when there are people being paid sums up to 40 million dollars for walking around and talking.  The issue isn't 'Man.. Hollywood as a whole is a messed up industry' but more 'Ya know..  I think this movie is a little sexist in the way it depicts men, and stereotypes women, which is the REAL problem guys!'

While I won't comment on the rest of your post, this particular part of your post has an informal fallacy in it.

The presence of other worthy topics out there does not make this one less worthy of discussion.

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2015, 01:08:55 PM »
Blythe, I think in comparison this topic is considerably less 'worthy' than the topic I suggested.  For the sake of argument I'll return back to the topic at hand.

Men's right, as well as women's rights are very important things.  There are a lot of injustices in the world when we're talking about men's and women's rights.  There are very serious subjects to be had.  Men's rights groups as well as feminists and women's rights groups have a responsibility to address the issues that actually matter.  In my opinion whenever a rights group starts bitching about a movie they're taking steps backwards because they're talking about something trivial over something that matters.  I'll say again, I think human rights, both male and female are VERY important.  I just don't see movies as being a part of that discussion.  I'd agree with the original poster that it is laughable that a men's rights group is bitching about the feminist agenda in the movie, just like I'd think its stupid when a feminist group does the exact same thing.

I'll further explain why I feel this way.  As a reasonable human being I don't let movies dictate how I feel and how I judge things.  Just because I see a man hitting a woman then laughing about it, doesn't mean I'll go and do the same thing in the real world.  Just because I see a movie where women are dominating men, doesn't mean I'm going to pick up the opinion that women are out to get men in the real world.  Most people I assume are reasonable human beings and as such aren't affected by stupid movies, and those people who do let movies influence them in such way, well a movie is the least of their problems. 

I know I'm going a little off topic but I do believe it somewhat relates.  I believe the whole 'rape culture' thing is a similar situation.  How people talk about rape culture in movies and media as if some how it contributes to rape.  People rape because they want to.. They don't do it because they saw it in a movie.  In my opinion when people talk about things like 'rape culture in media' what it does is trivialize the ACTUAL issue of rape.

Offline Blythe

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2015, 01:52:40 PM »
You are entitled to your opinion, but if you feel there are other worthier topics to discuss, you can always create your own thread to discuss them.

There's really nothing wrong or particularly unworthy with the premise of this thread's particular topic, and it would really be better to stay on topic with what this thread is discussing.

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2015, 02:16:46 PM »
For the most part I either stayed on topic or responded to points that others had made in the thread.  I said that there are more important topics but I don't believe I ever said this thread shouldn't exist.  As for making my own topic I might do that.  I've mainly used the site for roleplaying purposes but I'm starting to branch out as of late.  Some of the threads in this board in particular are very interesting.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2015, 03:28:23 PM »
Movies, music, video games, plays, books and so forth are what scientists would consider cultural artifacts of a society.  Items of popular media and designed for entertainment purposes reflect aspects of a culture and so there is certainly something to be said for movies portraying how people act in real life.  Things that we as a culture and a people find appealing enough to invest millions of dollars in buildings and then viewing hints at what our cultural values and beliefs are at the core.  So examining a film is actually an important way to see where certain social groups are ranked, how certain values are viewed and what exactly is going on in a society.  Also the director, writers and actors are artists whether you appreciate them as such or not.  They are attempting to convey a message and trying to understand that message is part of being a good movie goer.  To call the film numb and mindless, and then fuss at people for seeing a deeper meaning is quite contradictory.

As for feminism being hard to please, you may insert any political group into that area not simply feminism.  Any political and social group that people have passion about will have portions that are more radical and strict than others.  Liberals, conservatists, environmentalists, what have you. 

Also I think you are confusing this topic with one about movies and popular media causing violence and dictating certain behavior.

Offline IntensePlayer

Re: Mad Max and Masculinity
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2015, 05:33:13 PM »
Pumpkin Seeds, I'll try to respond to each of your points.

I'd agree that there are movies/tv shows/music that reflect things in our society/culture, which is fine, but I don't see that when people criticize movies for specific reasons.  People discuss movies as if the things that happen in movies will set a trend for the real world, not what you said about how the movie is making a point about society and THAT is what we should be discussing.  All movies have a plot and are about something, but I also don't believe that all movies HAVE to have such a deep meaning that people like to inject into it.  Getting back to Mad Max, its a movie that shows that women are capable of solving their own problems, they can be strong and badass, and don't necessarily have to be the victim all the time.  None of that is a bad thing and perhaps that is what the writers were going for, but then people try to shove all this other meaning into it, or push a specific agenda.  Some men thinking that the movie is feminist propaganda, or feminists thinking the movie still has females that fit those stereotypical roles.  At that point no REAL issues are being discussed and it just devolves to people bitching/nitpicking over stuff that really doesn't matter.

As for directors, writers, and actors, I definitely value them.  I spend a lot of time watching movies as well as TV.  I'm guilty of liking actresses for no other reason than them being attractive.  While I value them, my personal opinion is that its outrageous that they get paid as much as they do.  Others might disagree, and they have the right to do so.

I agree with what you said about radical sects of any group.  Yes they exist, however what bothers me is the fact that no group calls out their own.  Since this thread is talking about Men's rights groups and Feminists, I'll stick with those two.  I believe that if you're part of a group you have a certain sense of responsibility about how your group is portrayed.  When the reasonable feminists don't speak out against the radical ones, its a lot easier for someone outside the group to think that most feminists not only condone what the radials are saying but agree with it.  Same goes for Men's rights groups, when the loudest voices are those that talk shit about women, those within the group who are reasonable need to make it a point and separate themselves from the hateful remarks and condemn those who are hijacking the cause.  It happens so often that I think we just brush it off as if 'Oh they're just radicals, we can't do anything about that' which I think is a problem, and threads like these pop up and we end up talking about aspects of the cause that don't matter as opposed to those that do.

I personally don't identify as a part of any group, political or otherwise, but when I see or hear something that I agree with I voice an opinion, just as when the group does something that I think is wrong I'll voice my opinion just as easily.