Meaning That Matters: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road

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Mad Max: Fury Road is the best political film of 2015. The pleasure I take in saying that is more immense than I can explain coherently. My father raised me, cinematically speaking, on the masterpieces of the 1970s—All the President’s Men, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon—and if nothing else, what is apparent in those films is a steadfast political atmosphere. Today, for better or worse, the films we see on screen are politically noncommittal. One either has to dig for any political subtext, or it exists as middle ground between two more devoted extremes. George Miller, the veteran filmmaker (of the previous Mad Max films, as well as both Happy Feet—fun fact), directs Fury Road, whether he admits it or not, fully aware of the feminist charge that electrifies the entire film.

The film begins with the eponymous hero, Max (Tom Hardy). He provides us with expository detail, and as soon as we understand the post-apocalyptic context, he is appropriately done away with—captured, branded, and turned into a human blood bag, used to energize the War Boys, who do the bidding of the savage patriarch Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).…

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What Is Feminism?

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When writing a column about feminism the first thing I would like to do is be clear: What do I mean by feminism? In society and the media today, feminism is rarely given a clear definition. Feminists, however, are clearly implied to be ugly, single, man-hating lesbians. No one is sure what feminism really is or does; it’s just clear you shouldn’t want to be a part of it. Though I don’t deny that there are some man-hating, lesbian feminists, the theory of the movement is focused not on Men or Women, but gender.

Gender is the performance of either masculine or feminine characteristics. I say performance, not because gender is not real, but because it is public. Gender is how you publicly identify, either as man or woman. People do this in almost every way: clothing, hair, voice, ways of moving, how one sits, etc. And being a man or woman comes with a heap of responsibilities! Men are expected to be emotionally closed, always into sex with women, and career-driven so as to provide for their eventual families.…

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