by Adesua Atamah
At first glance the Australian movie Mad Max: Fury Road by George Miller seems to be a stereotypical action movie; wild car chases, burning gasoline tanks, and deadly car crashes. But when you move your focus towards deeper meaning, the movie is clearly about women’s empowerment and feminism. Six women fighting for their freedom, against a cruel postapocalyptic regime. Six women are trying to escape their male predators in a world marked by a collapsed society, famine, droughts, male leadership, and natural catastrophes.
“Our babies will not be warlords.” “Who ruined the world? “We are not things.”
This is the powerful message left behind by five brave women who escaped dictator Joe. Imprisoned and used as “breeding machines”, their only purpose was to bear Joe more sons. Joe is the gruesome ruler, oppressing society by controlling the overall water supplies. Moreover, he especially oppresses women by taking away their freedom and sexually assaulting them. His character is a good example for many misogynistic men – men who are hostile towards women by believing they are more worthy and capable than women. Their message embodies what many women have felt for centuries. Even though the movie is set in the future the patriarchy still exists, moreover, it worsened. It is an act of rebellion when these five-woman escape with heroine Furiosa’s help. They actively emancipate themselves and risk their lives for independence. They rather die in a deadly car chase than submit to male torture and oppression.
Furiosa is the heroine of the story, and she embodies female empowerment and strength. She is the only female among the military ranks who serves in Joe as an imperator. When she was ordered to protect Joe’s wives, she forms a bond with the women and decides to escape with them, by hiding the women in the tank of her War rig, which she used to drive for Joe. She turned to a rebel overnight. She deceives Joe and catches him off guard. Her strength, commitment, and intelligence all contribute to their success in the end. She tricks Joe and escapes with his wives. Joe sees the women as his property and therefore gets angry when he noticed he was tricked. He responds with a violent hunt; however, he is defeated in the end. When the women return to Joe’s fortress they are cheered up and celebrated as heroes.
In the movie, men want to achieve singular glory. However, Furiosa and the other women work together as a team and their success is built by a collective power. In the end, they can improve the oppressive system of this post-apocalyptic society. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is a movie about feminism and the rebellion against the patriarchy. Women fight as a team against men who try to bring back old gender roles, and male authority. Therefore, the movie also tries to warn us by implying that fight for gender equality is not over yet. Misogyny is not only a problem of the past, but also a problem of the present, and future. Misogyny can just be defeated if women work together and not against each other.