Mad Max: Fury Road Is Not Feminist Propaganda

If it was meant to be, they missed the mark. I know, some people wanted so desperately for it to be that they twisted the story to match up with their pre-conceived notions. You know, because that never happens.

It’s a fire-breathing action movie with a power babe* and an excellent entry into the Mad Max franchise. Seriously, go see it. It’s awesome. No man or woman will be ruined by seeing it. At least, none that aren’t ruined already.

Yes, there are going to be spoilers ahead. This is your warning. It will be COMPLETELY FULL OF SPOILERS!

Ready? Don’t read if you plan on seeing the movie. I mean it.

Let’s just go on and throw a trigger warning here too since I can’t keep up with what upsets people lately.

Fans of the originals already know Max is a broken man just trying to survive in a broken world with no hope of redemption. It’s made him hard. The world hasn’t gotten any better. Shortly after the story opens, Max is overtaken, captured, and turned into a living blood bank in the Citadel.

Imperator Furiosa is a desperate woman. She’s learned that to survive in this man’s world, she’s got to be smart, and she’s got to be deadly. And don’t think for a moment that the world of Fury Road is anything but a man’s world. We don’t know exactly how, but she has worked her way to a position of responsibility under Immortan Joe. Probably because she’s good with machines. (If I may be so bold as to read between the lines, I’m going to go ahead and assume the shaved head was an attempt by Furiosa to minimize her femininity in such a heavily male dominated world.)

She drives and maintains a War Rig. She’s also smuggling out Immortan Joe’s breeders under the guise of a fuel run. Yes, Immortal Joe keeps women in sexual slavery in an attempt to impregnate them with his sons. Nothing is mentioned of daughters. His elder sons drink mothers milk which comes from other women being kept as dairy cows. Feeling empowered, ladies?

Immortan Joe learns of the betrayal and rallies the war boys to follow him into battle to retrieve his property. Yes, he considers these women his property. He also admonishes them not to harm a single hair on their heads. Yep, they are just pretty things with wombs. Rah! Rah! Sisterhood!

Mad Max gets chained to a war boy so he can continue to bleed for him and strapped to battle vehicle. Epic battle ensues. Explosions, madness, chaos. Max is pissed that not only are they stealing his blood but they’ve got his car as well.

Somewhere in the midst of the first battle, we get a glimpse of the breeders. They are whining because they are uncomfortable. Nevermind that Furiosa is risking her life for them. They are uncomfortable.

More explosions and we reach the pause in the first battle. Max has gotten free of the battle vehicle, but he’s still chained to and bleeding into a war boy. He comes upon Furiosa and the breeders. Yep, they are pretty and scantily clad and playing in the hose. They have bolt cutters, but they are too weak to cut Max free from the war boy. In fact, even though Furiosa catches a few good openings, Max still beats her in hand to hand combat while chained and bleeding. The war boy, thinking he can now return in triumph with the wives, cuts Max free. Yes, it required a man to cut the chain. Max commandeers the War Rig.

Ah, but Furiosa is not so easily beaten. She’s smart enough that she saw it coming and had wired kill switches. She talks her way back into the truck and is soon telling Mad Max that she ‘needs’ him. They soon form a tenuous partnership and fight many more epic battles. Yep, she’s the better shot. No, she doesn’t take the rifle, he hands it to her because he knows he can’t make the shot. A man’s got to know his limitations.

And, believe me, they are epic. Flame throwing guitar and mad crazy drummer truck epic. Pay the extra for the 3D.

In the end, it’s still Mad Max that wins the day and finds his redemption. And in true hero fashion, wanders off into the sunset away from the glory.

Yes, the bad ass power babe couldn’t have done it without the man. Totally feminist.

*You know, like Ripley, or Sarah Connor, or Tank Girl, or…. Yeah, Imperator Furiosa is totally groundbreaking and will single-handedly suck the testosterone from society .

(Edited for typos)

Stay Vigilant

Miguel over at Gun Free Zone has some points we should consider in the aftermath of the failed terrorist attack in Texas.

Funny as hell, but also wise: We have several innings to go and they will come back to the plate. We cannot expect they will remain dumb all the time.

Their next target will be researched ahead of time, scouted to look for security and planned to create the biggest amount of killing.  If they happen to get a couple of lone wolf idjits with some brain matter, the only thing they have to do is research mass shooters to get ideas.

Go read the whole thing over there.

I agree that this will not be the last incident, and the next one could happen in your backyard. Or at least in your neighborhood or church. There is not a law on the planet that would have stopped these guys.

And before anyone says anything along the lines of, “It would never have happened if they hadn’t held that event,” don’t. Unless you also want to explain to me what horribly offensive picture these 21 Christians drew that deserved beheading them over. Was the event rude and insensitive? Damn straight. At least for now, we’re still free to be rude and insensitive. But do not be deceived, your very existence offends these people. Or at least mine as a Christian woman who dares speak out of turn does.

Terrorism of Ideas

I am heartbroken over the events in Paris this week and thankful that it appears the terrorists have been dealt with. As usual, the hiding and wringing on hands did nothing to stop the violence. Instead, it took a righteous application of violence to do so. I suspect the afterlife won’t be what they were expecting. Evil exists. It attacks without warning. The only defense against it is a willingness and ability to fight back. Sadly, the victims could not.

The pen may not be mightier than the sword, but I hope this week’s events do not stop anyone from using them. Free expression is important. Important enough to be protected with swords and guns and any other tool at your disposal. Nations have been formed and toppled because people took up arms in defense of ideas.

Their voices may have been silenced, but it is my sincere hope that new ones take their places. Terrorism must not win.

 

Meanwhile, Ferguson Burns

There was no good outcome possible from the grand jury decision. Had they indicted, the agitators would have rioted in supposed celebration. They were ready, waiting to start the fires, loot the businesses, and devolve the city into chaos. They were never interested in justice.

Eventually, the dust will settle. The agitators and their ilk will leave, and the people of Ferguson will attempt to get back to some semblance of a normal life. Business owners will have to make decisions on whether or not to rebuild. Many won’t, or at least they won’t rebuild there. And in the end, it’s the people that were caught in the middle that will pay.

No meaningful progress will be made in race relations with this. Quite the opposite, as I’ve already seen all over the internet. And truly, if your grievance is that the powers that be treat you like you are just thugs bent on crime and disorder, you aren’t bolstering your cause by proving them right. The person climbing out of the broken window on the front of the local electronics store carrying a brand new flat screen doesn’t exactly look like the victim here. It’s hard to argue that the police don’t need riot gear by staging a riot.

The world learned that there are real issues that needed to be addressed in Ferguson. I believe the events of this week will only set them back.

I agree with Peter, there are no winners here.

ETA: LawDog, as usual, has excellent thoughts on the matter.

 

Lord Help Me, I’m Weighing in on #Gamergate

Well hello there first time visitor that wandered over because I dared reference a controversial hashtag! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Please, stay a while. Peruse my archives. Get informed. Check out LabRat’s and Popehat’s posts on the subject. Or, you know, skip straight to the comment section and tell me how I’m wrong, dox me (heh*) since I’m a girl and a gamer with an opinion, or write me off as a “Social Justice Warrior**”. It’s really up to you.

Seriously, why is this still a thing? Yes, there is a real and needed conversation that needs to happen about ethics in game journalism. Hell, all journalism. Hanging this around a non-controversy about a positive review that never happened of a boring game that no one wants to play because the developer’s jilted ex wrote a screed about said game developer whoring herself out for a review that never happened is not exactly the place to start. While some well-meaning people are trying to have a rational conversation, this particular hashtag has brought out a subset of bonafide misogynists the likes of which have been quite rightly run out of the rest of polite society.

Don’t like Anita Sarkeesian? Great, me neither. I think the vast majority of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe, and most of the time she should be laughed off the stage. Which would be the rational response. Threatening her? Publishing her home address? Yeah, not cool. Seriously, we’re dealing with the kind of people that think a reasonable response to a woman complaining about sexism in gaming is to design a video game where the player gets to punch a woman in the face. Classy. You know what would have been a completely reasonable response to her asking for money to make feminist videos? Not give her any money. I sure as heck didn’t. Other people did. That’s how the free market works. No one is forcing you to support her.

Observant readers will have caught that I only said most of what comes out of her pie hole is whiny tripe. That’s because some of what she says is true. There is sexism in the gaming industry. But honestly, we’ve come a long way since Atari had a game about raping Native American women and Nintendo created a strong female character only to have her flaunt her pixelated body around in a bikini as a reward for finishing the game.

Also, Gamergate itself has shown the world that women are unjustly targeted, bullied, and harassed in gaming. Fine, so I’ll agree that Anita Sarkeesian intentionally stirs up the masses with her diatribes. And yes, I believe she has fabricated some of the threats she claims. But Felicia Day? She wrote one post (which has apparently been taken down) lamenting the ugliness surrounding the Gamergate controversy and was doxxed herself.

You know what, I like some of the tropes in gaming. I like the idea of teaching our sons that if they learn of a damsel in distress that they should battle demons to save her. I also want to show our daughters that there is no shame in being rescued. At the same time, I want our daughters to know that they are allowed to kick some bad guy(or girl) ass and save themselves too. Also, I like strong women portrayed as sexy. I don’t want to feel like I have to make a choice between being strong and capable or sexy and feminine.

Gaming is not being invaded by women. We’ve been here all along. Must I show you my Atari 2600? How about my Magic deck? Oh right, just tits. The perpetually offended social justice warriors will continue to be perpetually offended. It’s what they do. What aren’t going to be able to do is drive young white men out of gaming. Game developers will continue to make games that sell, and young white men are a good chunk of the market share. For everything wrong that Anita Sarkeesian says, she’s right that women are a good chunk as well, and we’d like to be marketed to. Really, people are mad that there are women saying, “Hey! I have money here that I’d like to throw at you if you’d just not kick so much sand in my face.”

Is it really too much to ask for women to be treated like people? Why that such an offensive to request to a subset of the gaming community is beyond my comprehension. What’s even more baffling is seeing otherwise mature, rational people defending the behavior of that subset. Or at the very least, affiliating themselves with them.

I point out: even 4chan has banned gamergate discussions. Why? Because those threads have extensive doxxing and coordinated harassment planning in them. Which is one of those few things 4chan doesn’t permit. When fucking 4chan has disavowed you because of your shitty tactics, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices and choice of allies in particular. –LabRat

It’s time to disavow gamergate. Give the hashtag over to the trolls and let it collapse in on itself. If we need to talk about the issues it has brought to light, fine. But really, I just want to go shoot zombies in the face.

*I’m not skeered of you.

**Does that come with armor and a big sword? Bet it shows lots of skin. Chainmaille bikinis are so 1998.

Elsewhere

If I’m going to be funny on the internet, I should really make with the funny here.

and

And a thought for my readers, now that Oklahoma has to recognize marriage licenses from New Jersey, how long until New Jersey has to recognize my carry permit? I mean, it’s not like civil rights should apply to everyone, everywhere. Particularly those rights actually mentioned in the Constitution.

Personally, I’m for consenting adults marrying who they want, smoking what they want, and having the right to protect themselves with an assault rifle if they so choose.

The Intersection of Sports and Politics

I grew up as a not-exactly-white girl in Oklahoma, so naturally it was always assumed I must be Native American. No seriously, I had to explain to my second grade teacher** that Filipino* is, in fact, not a tribe. Still, I was assigned to wear the feathers in the school plays. They were very authentic, you know. Dark hair, olive complexion, kinda slanted eyes, no nose bridge-totally pass for one of them Red Men that call this state home. *eye roll*

The only thing worse than terrible stereotypes is being incorrectly cast as a pawn for someone else’s terrible stereotype. Close enough, right? Terrible stereotypes aside, they were at least making some effort at paying respect to the culture. I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

Don’t feel sorry for me here. I got to be on stage***. I wasn’t feeling especially ‘discriminated against’ at the time. The attention! It’s Mine! Precious….

Where was I going again?

Oh right! I was meandering around to find a tie into LabRat’s excellent piece on the brouhaha over some sportball team and their lamentable name and mascot. (And I got an excuse to work ‘brouhaha’ into a blog post.) She’s absolutely right, and I agree with every word. You’re going to have to go over there to read them for yourself.

No, there is no ‘white guilt’ at play here. Just an expectation that although people should have every right to be assholes, more would choose not to be.

*Yes, I do have a very little Native American heritage mixed into my proudly mutt pedigree, but it is far less than my red-haired, pale-skinned hubby has in his.

**She gave me a packet for my parents to fill out so I could ‘get on the rolls’ . 

***I also once played a squirrel with a speaking part. I said, “Look! Here come the ducks!” I lacked shame from an early age.

Defensive Gun Use

I may have told this story before, but today’s entry over at Hell in a Handbasket got me thinking about it again. I think I might just have more words about it or at least some lessons learned. And hey! Content! I am ostensibly a blogger, after all.

James shares a story of his recent defensive gun use, and it has several things in common with the one and only time I have ever gone for my handgun for anything other than training or practice. Go read it.

Like his encounter, mine was with a dog and ultimately, no shots were fired. Unlike his story, mine does not include injury and medical treatment. Good for me, bad for James, but he’s going to be alright.

A couple of dogs had gotten loose in my neighborhood. I had successfully wrangled one of them and put it in the backyard and was very carefully attempting to corral the other. I’ve done this countless times with many different dogs without issue and assumed the chocolate lab would be no different. For those playing along at home, this is what we call the first mistake, and thankfully the only one. Unfamiliar animals have a tendency to act in unpredictable ways.

I held out my left hand in a non-threatening way and encouraged the dog to approach me, which she did very cautiously. (Left hand because I am right-handed and that allowed me easy access to the snub nosed revolver holstered on my hip that day. I may have been overly assuming, but I was not stupid or unprepared.) The dog sniffed my hand and visibly relaxed. She even allowed me to pet her head. This seemed like my opportunity to slowly crouch down to inspect her collar for identification.

It was at that point that her demeanor did a complete 180. She went from frightened but calm to a mass of teeth and snarls. I jumped back and shouted something forceful (I have no idea what I said). I made multiple observations, calculations, and decisions in that moment. I observed that there were no kids playing in the street that day. I decided that should she lunge at me, my choices would be to shoot her or be attacked. I pivoted on my left foot ever so slightly so as to have a solid backstop if it came to that (down into the yard). I raised my left arm so it was between the dog and my face. I’d far prefer to be bitten on the arm than the face and the corduroy jacket would have mitigated some injury . I swept my right hand back brushing aside my jacket and gaining a solid grip on my handgun. James noted about how time compresses, and I found that to be true. All of that happened in a matter of seconds.

And lunge she did. She raised up on her hind legs and just as I was beginning to draw, she dropped back down and ran away. It was over. I pushed the revolver back into the holster and made certain she was really gone before taking a deep breath and assessing the situation. I don’t know if she just sensed that my aggression was bigger than hers and decided to back down or if she heard her owner arrive home. Her behavior was more erratic than any dog I’ve dealt with before or since. All I knew is that thankfully, I didn’t have to shoot a dog in my own front yard that day.

A couple of points I want to highlight. It’s important to be aware of all threats, not just the two legged variety. And also that this didn’t happen in the ‘bad’ part of town. It happened in my front yard. My castle, if you will. The place I should be able to let my guard down. Yes, I carry at home. Finally, I’ve been carrying a firearm on my hip for over 5 years. I’ve been in several heated arguments in that time (one with the owner of said dog. Now I know where the erratic behavior comes from), plenty of road rage incidents, and had some crazy woman get in my face threatening to ‘kick my ass’ even, and yet, the one and only time I’ve reached for it was when there was a clear and present threat of severe bodily harm. From a dog. I know, I totally fail at the whole trigger happy gun nut thing.

And again, no shots fired so it will never count as an official defensive gun use. I didn’t even get fully drawn, so it’s not even brandishing territory.