Tag Archives: feminism

Mad World

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I know everyone is talking about mad Max: Fury Road, and there’s not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said. But I need to write something down because I honestly don’t remember the last time I was this blown away by a movie. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever been this blow away.

Fury Road is what the world would look like it there was an apocalypse and the only people who survived were the cast of Cirque du Soleil.  It’s two hours of car chases, explosions, gunfire and complete batshit insanity. On paper, it sounds like just another big dumb action movie. But it’s actually so much more than that.

This film is breathtakingly beautiful. Every shot is a work of art. The high speed battles play out like a dance across the desert, with incredible set pieces and spectacular choreography. The design is wonderful, from the spectacular cars to the grotesque villains. Seriously, there is a character whose sole purpose is to ride around on a massive truck made of amps and shred a guitar that shoots fireballs. Can you honestly say you’ve ever seen anything like that before?

But the thing that makes me the most excited about this film is the characters. Max might have his name in the title, but this is Furiosa’s film. She’s the one driving the narrative (and the truck, actually). Max just happens to be along for the ride. Charlize Theron is phenomenal; a perfect mix of power and vulnerability. She isn’t just a “strong female character”. She’s a strong character, period. Furiosa can proudly take her place in the movie heroine hall of fame next to the likes of Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor and Beatrix Kiddo.

Furiosa isn’t the only strong woman in the film either. Her cargo of slave brides are active participants in their own rescue every step of the way. They aren’t as skilled or as strong as other characters, but they fight just as hard for survival as everyone else. And the camera never leers at them. Not even once. No gratuitous boob shots, no lingering camera angles creeping up their thighs.  They don’t feel objectified at all. In fact, they are more human than any other human in the film.

Some men are calling for a boycott of Fury Road, claiming it has a “feminist agenda”. And they’re right, it does have a feminist agenda, and it’s fucking awesome! The women in this film are basically fighting to overthrow the patriarchy that has kept them beaten down. But that doesn’t mean this is a man-hating movie. Furiosa and Max are portrayed as equals in every way. And it’s only by working together as equals that they are able to overthrow the system and establish a new world order.

I’m just so excited about this movie. As soon as it was finished I wanted to watch it again. I’m even listening to the soundtrack as I type this. This is the sci-fi fantasy action movie we’ve been waiting for. What a lovely day!

 

Edit: As if I didn’t need another reason to love this movie, I just found out that there’s a orchestral cover of Radiohead’s Street Spirit at the end of the trailer.


Starkly Mistaken

Outbrain recently collated data to show the most popular Game of Thrones characters across the globe. It’s pretty cool to see how the favourites differ from country to country. Pretty disappointed in Australia though. Jon Snow bores me to death!

 

 

There’s one thing that every nation can agree on though: nobody likes Sansa Stark.

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In fact, people seem to downright hate her. There’s nothing wrong with hating a fictional character (god knows I rolled my eyes and groaned every time I got to another Jon chapter in the books), but its seems like most people hate Sansa just because she’s a feminine girl, and even worse, a feminine girl who makes mistakes (gasp!).

Every character in A Song of Ice and Fire is flawed. Pretty much everyone has made a mistake that resulted in either their own death or the death of someone else. Sansa is no exception here. She begins as a naive, bratty child who frequently fights with her sister and firmly believes in fairy-tale romance. She has been raised to be a lady, it’s all she’s ever known. When everything goes to shit for her family, she doesn’t get to run off into the woods like Arya. Instead, she is trapped right under the nose of her enemy.

But she survives. Her ability to behave like a lady, to walk the walk and talk the talk of the royal court, is precisely what keeps her head attached to her shoulders. She may be a frightened young girl, but  Sansa Stark is slowly  learning to play the game of thrones.

Yet despite how much she has grown, people still refuse to forgive her for mistakes she made when she was a bratty, naive child.

I think this ties into a wider issue that society has with women. Male characters (and female characters who act more masculine, such as Arya) are allowed to fuck up over and over without anyone resenting them for it the way they resent Sansa. Those mistakes are just accepted as part of their story arc. But when a feminine character fucks up, people demonize them for it. Like, don’t pretty girls know they’re supposed to be perfect creatures removed from humanity and put on a pedestal of unrealistic expectations?

It almost becomes a form of victim blaming. This young girl, ill-equipped to deal with the harsh realities of the world she’s been thrust into, is beaten, imprisoned and manipulated. But instead of being sympathetic to her plight, people get mad at her and say, “Well maybe if you tried harder to be less like a young girl none of this would have happened to you!”

I find this attitude so disheartening, both as a writer and as a woman. I want to write female characters who are complex and flawed, and it sickens me to think of someone reducing that character to a “dumb bitch” because she didn’t behave the way she was expected to. Who knows, maybe there’s a guy out there reading this right now and calling ME a “dumb bitch” or something similar simply for talking about this sort of thing.

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If you want to hate Sansa because you don’t find her story interesting, that’s totally fine. But if you hate her because she’s a flawed girl who’s made some mistakes, you should take a moment to consider exactly why you find that so abhorrent.