Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

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Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Guest on Fri May 15, 2015 9:46 pm

Mad Max (the new one) looks incredible. It's getting incredible ratings. I'm going to see it tomorrow night.

But I've seen tons of articles of Red Pillers slamming the movie for having a female character that isn't a love interest and kicks just as much ass as Max himself. They're also mad that the plot revolves around Max and Furiosa (Charlize Theron's character) trying to help save a group of sex slaves from a dictator.

What's your thoughts on all this? I tried going on Return of Kings (the biggest MRA site), and the stuff in there is so hateful that I felt sick to my stomach reading this. Openly encouraging abuse and rape on there, yuck.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by PintsizeBro on Fri May 15, 2015 10:47 pm

Weren't they bashing the eeeeeeevil feminists corrupting an "American icon"? Because apparently they don't know how to use Google, Wikipedia, or IMDB to realize that Mad Max was an Australian movie?

One thing I think is really cool about the new movie is it's not somebody else making a reboot. George Miller directed the original in 1979, and he directed the latest one in 2015. How's that for continuity in a series?

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by eselle28 on Fri May 15, 2015 11:37 pm

I just finished watching it. Everything they claim is absolutely true* and it's awesome.

*And it's not just a female character. There are more speaking parts for women than men in the movie, and only one woman has a love interest.


Last edited by eselle28 on Fri May 15, 2015 11:39 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Aggrax on Fri May 15, 2015 11:38 pm

I saw a rather hilarious tweet from some MRA claiming that Fury Road was ruined by feminists, it should have been renamed Mad Maxie Pads and that clearly no one involved had seen the previous movies because they ruined everything.

I couldn't help but laugh at that.
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Guest on Sun May 17, 2015 1:45 pm

eselle28 wrote:I just finished watching it. Everything they claim is absolutely true* and it's awesome.

*And it's not just a female character. There are more speaking parts for women than men in the movie, and only one woman has a love interest.

Cosigned, super good movie.

Also, I read that George Miller brought Eve Ensler to the set of the movie to lead a workshop on violence against women.

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/05/mad-max-fury-road-george-miller-interview

So this movie just gets better and better. Razz

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Andrew Corvero on Sun May 17, 2015 2:01 pm

The movie kicks ass! It's a love letter to the tropes of '80s action movies, only with far better characterization, dialogue and writing in general. I hope it's a huge financial success and it inspires more writers to write better characters and stories for their action movies.

I don't even know why the MRAs can't stand it. Probably because it has some very good female characters, and they can't stand to see well-written women in a movie for some reason (i.e. they're misogynist assholes). They're pretty horrible people, though, so I'm happy that this movie pisses them off!

I saw a rather hilarious tweet from some MRA claiming that Fury Road was ruined by feminists, it should have been renamed Mad Maxie Pads and that clearly no one involved had seen the previous movies because they ruined everything.

Somebody should show George Miller that tweet. Laughing

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun May 17, 2015 4:22 pm

Mad Max? Moar like Max Mad, amirite?

Only possibly legit complaint I saw on that site was the possibility that the title character would get shafted in the screentime department. Which he doesn't know, because he hasn't seen it.

This is horseshoe theory in action. I predict an article from the other end of the aisle whining that the movie is Not Feminist Enough(tm) for precisely the same reasons. They dare even depict sex slavery(feminist propaganda/lurid sensationalization of victimized women) and the problems are solved through women taking on masculine roles(masculine chicks ewww/patriarchy paradigm perpetuated), also penned by someone who didn't see the movie.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Enail on Sun May 17, 2015 4:40 pm

I'm not sure you can really call it horseshoe theory in action until you actually see such an article. Otherwise, it's just horseshoe theory in your prediction.
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun May 17, 2015 4:51 pm

Alright, horseshoe theory in theory then.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Guest on Sun May 17, 2015 10:17 pm

Saw it last night.

Holy. Fucking. Fuck.

I am in awe. Literal awe. This is exactly the kind of movie I want to make. I can't think of a single bad thing about it. Definitely a feminist movie, wasn't bothered by it. Characters treated like real people regardless of gender. The action is incredible. God, I love it so goddamn much.

Plus I've been listening to this nonstop:


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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Mon May 18, 2015 6:59 pm

Right with you, Glides. The fan community is eating this the fuck up. Amazingly, I'm not the only one pondering a 10 foot tall bog walker costume.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by BasedBuzzed on Tue May 19, 2015 8:20 pm

Not an article, but called it: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFZ0NMPWoAEkjw1.jpg

"lurid sensationalization of victimized women"(the camera caresses the brides' bodies)/"patriarchy paradigm perpetuated"(equal partners in a cinematic orgy of male violence).

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Enail on Tue May 19, 2015 9:09 pm

So, do you think it's possible to critique the film (that it sounds like the critiquer has seen, in this case) as not being a total feminist paradise without being the equivalent of ill-informed complaints that something has too many women with overly central, active roles?

You certainly called it on the criticisms she makes, but I feel like treating this as an example of horseshoe theory is treating "has too many women with overly central, active roles," (and I think that's a pretty polite way of phrasing the actual complaints) as a fairly moderate and valid complaint - I find it pretty...discouraging that you'd consider that something that is balanced by and equivalent to "just because something has lots of active women in it doesn't mean it's feminist (without saying it's a bad movie or it's a bad thing that it exists, I'll note)."
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Tue May 19, 2015 11:31 pm

Spoilers! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!

Spoilers!:

I don't know if I'd call it "horshoe theory" but I think its a bit overly critical to complain that an action movie is. . .well, an action movie. Yes, the proximate resolution was kill the big bad guy and block off the little ones. Yes, the villains were writ large. Yes Max was instrumental (although far from the only one who was) in the resolution. However, there's a lot more going on in the movie than just that. She overlooks the Vuvilani carrying the seeds, literally of salvation and a new world, the exact nuturing feminist solution she called for. The comparion of bullets to "anti seeds, plant one and watch a thing die", same thing. The fact that the women get more dressed and more competent as they go, turns the one semi-male gaze scene on its head. The wives consistently flip their societal status on its head by turning assumptions to their advantage. They don't win with violence, they recruit Nux and the Vuvalani through empathy. They retake the Citadel without firing a shot. Out of all of those cars you see on the screen, blowing up exactly one of them was critical to The Plan as opposed to for self defense and that one was the wives paying back their tormentor. Even Nux has a moment:
Nux: We were doing what we had to do to survive. We had no choice. Its not our responsibility.
Wife: Then who killed the world?
Well see, its the responsibility of the guy who controls the water, his chief lieutennants, the oil fat cat and the bullet psychopath and everyone who was complicit by going along with the system. Shit, that's harsher than Hunger Games is willing to be.

Anita is welcome to her critique and she's not wrong at a surface reading. George Miller's a very "show don't tell" kind of guy, though.  I think to some extent she's treating it as a Hollywood movie where the characters have to take a Wheel Of Morality moment to explain What Its About but Fury Road doesn't do that. Is it the perfect feminist movie? Maybe not. Is it the best one you can make with two hours of exploding cars? Probably pretty close. I'll say this: when I go to Wasteland Weekend this year with the show, we're going to have a steering wheel totem with "We Are Not Thing" carved on it and Joe's mask in the center, because that message wasn't just about the wives.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 1:31 am

Gentleman Johnny wrote:Spoilers! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!

I'm not terribly knowledgable about the world of Mad Max, but my interpretation of the film I saw is a lot closer to yours than Sarkeesian's.
Spoilers abound:


I agree with your assessments. I also believe, fairly strongly, that the movie did not treat the wives as things. The movie has two main protagonists, a man and a woman, and we learn a great deal more about the woman than the man. It also has six characters who support the protagonists, five of whom are women. We learn less about them than we do about Furiosa, but I don't agree at all with Sarkeesian that the movie treated them as objects. I was worried that it would when I saw the scene of them washing themselves in the desert, but the movie quickly distinguished them from each other as people who had personalities and goals and agency. Toast the Knowing is the only woman who knows how to load a gun quickly, which suggests some sort of substantive life before captivity. The Splendid Angharad is someone willing to hang off a vehicle while 9 months pregnant to protect her friends, relying on her belief that her rapist values her most, which seems like a different kind of bravery from Furiosa's. Cheedo the Fragile isn't as resolute at the beginning, but grows into someone who's capable of walking across speeding cars and lying to a man who's probably loomed over her most of her life. Capable is someone who would talk to an enemy rather than attack or report him, and The Dag is someone who out of several companions would choose to talk to an older woman about her life's work and then take it up on her behalf. Those aren't terribly complicated characters, but they're not a bunch of undifferentiated things, and they get better treatment than many secondary characters do. They also were able to make their own decisions at several points in the narrative - no one forced them to go back to confront their oppressors, and the narrative didn't force them to, either. They could have reasonably decided that Max wasn't a reliable source and headed whichever way they wished to. Treating women, generally, and women who've been the victims of sexual violence, specifically, as individuals who are different from each other and who have selves beyond their victimization or objectification are things that seem quite relevant to feminism in modern life.

I think it's further worth noting that the women in the film are universally portrayed as supporting each other, which is very contrary to the tendency in films and television to pit women against each other and to show them as being jealous and competitive of other women by nature. It also portrays older women who aren't conventionally attractive as being valuable mentors and capable allies, something that I don't see that often. Back to the larger issues, treating women as a broad group of people who don't include only the prettiest and the youngest and who may have priorities other than backbiting each other are fairly relevant to feminism as it relates to our daily lives. I suppose the movie might have been even more perfect if it had introduced women more like Furiosa's clan earlier on, but I think it deserves at least partial credit for introducing them at all. There even seems to be a nod to intersectionality, as the attractive mostly white women are oppressed by the current system, while the movie acknowledges that the war boys, blood bags, and the water-starved peasants suffer in different ways.

So, yeah, I don't know if the movie is a work of feminism, but it's feminist-friendly. Honestly, I think there's more of a need for feminist-friendly action movies (and buddy comedies and horror movies and superhero films) than there is for dramas that more explicitly endorse feminist ideals.
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 20, 2015 2:21 am

I'm actually not much of a Mad Max fan. I am a Fury Road fan. So I'm not factoring the others into the above except inasmuch as it defined the genre of gritty apunkalyptic (look it up on TVTropes if you have a week to kill) movies like its own series, Book Of Eli, Doomsday etc. I think my final analysis is that there can both be room for the movie Sakreesian wants, I mean she lays out a pretty specific set of qualifications and also be room for Fury Road. In that absolute sense, maybe FR doesn't stack up but in an incremental sense, it treats women immeasurably better than the rest of it subgenre, or movies in general that aren't specifically targeted at women.

Edit: Also, can we make a public transcript of this somewhere so the next time anyone claims that everyone who disagrees with Anita gets flamed off the Internet., we'll have a counterexample.
Achievement Unlocked: Social Justice Duelist - disagreed with Anita Sarkeesian without losing your job.

Spoiler:
Last note, Furiosa herself starts out as a very masculine performing woman. She's an Imperator. She barks orders and demands unquestioning loyalty. There's no impression that she rescued the wives to save them, only to take something that would hurt Joe or for personal redemption. Either way, even she sees the wives as more or less things. Contrast that to who she is at the end after working with the wives (and trying to keep the one from going back), taking in Nux and driving headlong into danger to make a home for the Vuvalani, the wives and the seeds. Her final ascent to leadership, complete with mutants on the lift with her implies a much more sharing, nuturing leader than a despotic military one.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by BasedBuzzed on Wed May 20, 2015 3:49 am

Enail wrote:So, do you think it's possible to critique the film (that it sounds like the critiquer has seen, in this case) as not being a total feminist paradise without being the equivalent of ill-informed complaints that something has too many women with overly central, active roles?

You certainly called it on the criticisms she makes, but I feel like treating this as an example of horseshoe theory is treating "has too many women with overly central, active roles," (and I think that's a pretty polite way of phrasing the actual complaints) as a fairly moderate and valid complaint - I find it pretty...discouraging that you'd consider that something that is balanced by and equivalent to "just because something has lots of active women in it doesn't mean it's feminist (without saying it's a bad movie or it's a bad thing that it exists, I'll note)."

I feel it's informed by the same place: a sort of retrograde gender essentialism that insists masculine=violence and feminine=negotiation, in which the vulnerability of the latter is offensive(whether it is always exploitative for the male gaze or because 'men do bad things to women' triggers the muh misandry radar).

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Andrew Corvero on Wed May 20, 2015 7:59 am

BasedBuzzed wrote:
Enail wrote:So, do you think it's possible to critique the film (that it sounds like the critiquer has seen, in this case) as not being a total feminist paradise without being the equivalent of ill-informed complaints that something has too many women with overly central, active roles?

You certainly called it on the criticisms she makes, but I feel like treating this as an example of horseshoe theory is treating "has too many women with overly central, active roles," (and I think that's a pretty polite way of phrasing the actual complaints) as a fairly moderate and valid complaint - I find it pretty...discouraging that you'd consider that something that is balanced by and equivalent to "just because something has lots of active women in it doesn't mean it's feminist (without saying it's a bad movie or it's a bad thing that it exists, I'll note)."

I feel it's informed by the same place: a sort of retrograde gender essentialism that insists masculine=violence and feminine=negotiation,  in which the vulnerability of the latter is offensive(whether it is always exploitative for the male gaze or because 'men do bad things to women' triggers the muh misandry radar).

Exactly. I think that violence, while not worthy of admiration on its own, is sometimes necessary for everyone. Self-defense, defense of others, and overthrowing an oppressive bloodthirsty dictatorship are all actions that can require some violence but are morally right stances. Hopefully one can deal with aggressive people or systematic oppression without resorting to violence, but that's not always the case. True, Gandhi fought the British domination of India through non-violent means, but I don't think he would have fared well against an even more ruthless and violent regime (like, say, the Nazis).

Even today, in many parts of the world, people have to fight for their freedom and life with guns because the opposite side isn't going to be swayed by social activism. In Kobane and other Kurd enclaves in Syria hundreds of women take up arms and fight against ISIS, which isn't much better than the Fury Road villains.

I strongly disagree with Sarkeesian when she says that the oppression of the Fury Road bad guys is "cartoonish": many groups in the real world behave and have behaved like them or not much better. The members of ISIS execute anyone who opposes them and they do unspeakable things to women. People who belong to the Boko Haram group kidnap schoolgirls and treat them like objects, even going as far as using them as suicide bombers. The Uganda government has the same attitude towards gays: they encourage systemic violence and even murder and rape.

To say nothing of all the oppressive fascist and communist regimes that exist and have ever existed. Is North Korea or was Nazi Germany more restrained than the villains of Fury Road towards the people they deem or deemed worthy of destruction?

What I'm saying is that celebrating a reaction of the oppressed against the oppressors seems a good idea to me. Even if it's very violent.

Sarkeesian also seems to think that violence is always tragic. I disagree. When someone chooses to be violent and oppressive and they die because other people don't want to be oppressed their death isn't a tragedy, it's the choice of free people not to be dominated and it can be celebrated as a fight for freedom.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Enail on Wed May 20, 2015 12:09 pm

I haven't seen it (yet!), so commenting more generally, I'm generally on board with action movies as potentially, if not feminist (which I find a kind of weird way of thinking about movies), feminist-friendly. I do agree that Sarkeesian's comments are quite gender essentialist, and suspect I will disagree with her on the movie when I see it.

But I still think it falls very much into the category of artistic criticism that can be discussed and debated. It's also framed as 'is this movie feminist;' a debate on what makes something feminist, not as 'is this movie bad because it is not feminist,' or even 'is this movie doing harm because it is not feminist.' And I therefore find it really troubling to pair it as an equal-but-opposite criticism to assertions - apparently based only on the fact that a female protagonist seems to be in a major, non-romantic, active role - that it's feminist propaganda ruining women, going to destroy action movies as anything other than vehicles for SJWism and contributing to the downfall of society by trying to destroy traditional gender roles.

Not all criticism is equal; not even all criticism that is wrong (by which I of course mean 'that I disagree with' Razz) is equal, and I think treating it as such is giving room at the mainstream table to some pretty extreme ideas. Balance doesn't always mean finding the middle point between the two loudest opposing views.
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Autumnflame on Wed May 20, 2015 1:14 pm

Sarkeesian is also notably pacifist, and many of the more legitimate criticisms of her previous Tropes work have been based on her reaction to things given her personal ethics surrounding violence and her pretty essentialist alignment of violence = masculine, nonviolence = feminine. It's her biggest weakness as a 101 instructor, I think. She's toned it down some for her Tropes vs. Women in Games stuff, but it seems weird that it surged to the forefront when reviewing an action movie (which, as a single example, is necessarily going to be more violent than games as a whole medium). Possibly it's just because the film has been hailed as a feminist action movie, so she came at it directly from that angle of "is this feminist?" with her bias that feminism cannot equal violence.

For that matter, I was sort of weirded out by the long, loving gaze of the camera on the women in sheer white wet dresses at first, too (literally my reaction was an internal eyeroll and an "oh, for fuck's sake"). But given what came after, I'm pretty sure that was an intentional set-up by Miller, and I definitely disagree that they were treated as objects (after that first shot). They received more characterization than any of the villains, even.


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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Andrew Corvero on Wed May 20, 2015 1:31 pm

Not all criticism is equal; not even all criticism that is wrong (by which I of course mean 'that I disagree with' Razz) is equal, and I think treating it as such is giving room at the mainstream table to some pretty extreme ideas. Balance doesn't always mean finding the middle point between the two loudest opposing views.

Oh, absolutely. I disagree with Sarkeesian on this movie but her criticism is much better articulated and more grounded than the MRAs' whining about "Evil feminists destroying action movies!".

Sarkeesian is also a noted pacifist, and many of the more legitimate criticisms of her previous Tropes work have been based on her reaction to things given her personal ethics surrounding violence and her pretty essentialist alignment of violence = masculine, nonviolence = feminine.

This is probably why I disagree with her. Not only I think that a gender essentialist view of violence is bullshit, but I'm also not a pacifist (at least not in all situations).

There are some situations where violence is pretty much the only option to stay alive, free and save yourself from horrific violence. In those situations violence is the moral choice, and people who resort to violence to save their life, freedom or bodily autonomy and integrity have nothing to feel ashamed of, or sorry about.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by Guest on Wed May 20, 2015 1:37 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:Not an article, but called it: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFZ0NMPWoAEkjw1.jpg

"lurid sensationalization of victimized women"(the camera caresses the brides' bodies)/"patriarchy paradigm perpetuated"(equal partners in a cinematic orgy of male violence).

Gonna have to join the "She's full of shit" train here.

Because I need the clarification, I agree that no film can strictly be called feminist. I'm retracting my earlier gleeful statement about that.

I took her statement to say that any film expressing violence is a masculine behavior and women engaging in masculine behavior is sexist. But by saying that violence is masculine, you're subscribing to the exact gender roles you claim to oppose. So she's straight up wrong.

She's right to say that the film isn't feminist because of the violence itself. Women fighting doesn't make things any more gender neutral than before.

But still, she's desperately trying to stir up controversy here, I think. She put her two cents in professionally, and I'm not gonna call her nasty things, but I disagree with her entirely. And the world keeps on spinning.

Let it also be known that I'm no expert on what is feminist and what isn't, so feel free to light my opinions on fire.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by PintsizeBro on Wed May 20, 2015 1:58 pm

I haven't seen Fury Road yet, but I am somewhat familiar with Sarkeesian's criticism style as I've heard/read critiques she's made of media I have consumed. This is pretty par for the course - I think she makes some fair points, but she does have a tendency to veer into a different kind of gender essentialism.

I agree with GJ's statement that it's a little unreasonable to complain about violence in an action movie.

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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by The Wisp on Wed May 20, 2015 2:40 pm

There's a long tradition of a gender essentialist brand of feminism. It's not a majority, at least not anymore, but it's still a force and I think it is fair to say Sarkeesian is one of those people. I don't think she's a hypocrite so much as somebody who ascribes to a very different sort of feminism that we all think is wrong.

ETA: I haven't seen the new Mad Max movie, but Sarkeesian's critique strikes me as yet another instance of why I never liked her criticism and never found it convincing (besides me just thinking her kind of feminism is wrong in many respects), even though there is a lot of legitimate sexism in media to pick apart. It is that she doesn't seem to actually engage with works on their own terms but rather imposes a sort of (radical?) feminist media critique 101 worldview onto works, which leads to uncharitable and specious critiques.
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Re: Mad Max Pissing Off MRAs

Post by eselle28 on Wed May 20, 2015 3:04 pm

The Wisp wrote:There's a long tradition of a gender essentialist brand of feminism. It's not a majority, at least not anymore, but it's still a force and I think it is fair to say Sarkeesian is one of those people. I don't think she's a hypocrite so much as somebody who ascribes to a very different sort of feminism that we all think is wrong.

ETA: I haven't seen the new Mad Max movie, but Sarkeesian's critique strikes me as yet another instance of why I never liked her criticism and never found it convincing (besides me just thinking her kind of feminism is wrong in many respects), even though there is a lot of legitimate sexism in media to pick apart. It is that she doesn't seem to actually engage with works on their own terms but rather imposes a sort of (radical?) feminist media critique 101 worldview onto works, which leads to uncharitable and specious critiques.

I think I'd find her critiques more useful if I had a better grasp on what she both likes and finds largely unproblematic. She's not really doing reviews per se, so we don't tend to see what works get positive reactions from her, but I sometimes find it difficult to evaluate people's objections to media if objections are the only things I see. I'd be curious whether she tends to dislike action movies, or is more accepting of ones where people try to survive natural disasters, or if there's some version of a story with action in it set in the Mad Max universe that she would like. Of course, she's not obliged to provide that information, but I think it would help in distinguishing whether the objection is to certain genres or subgenres that are inherently problematic to her or to the specific execution of particular works.
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