Soon after the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, the internet was flooded with reviews that bashed George Miller for turning the beloved series into “feminist propaganda.” The film was also praised for a refreshing story told through brilliant imagery and cinematography. As Presidents of the Loomis Chaffee Feminism Club, Lula Gallipoli ’16 and I jumped on the chance to utilize this incredible feature film as a means for furthering the school-wide conversation on feminism. The Film Forum’s showing of Mad Max: Fury Road was my first time seeing the film, and while I was extremely refreshed by a storyline that wasn’t dominated by a white-male protagonist, I was shocked by the lack of “crazy feminism” and instead ideas of basic human rights.
The plot of Mad Max: Fury Road centers upon the freedom of Immortan Joe’s five wives, his women selected for breeding. The film was exciting and filled with extravagant explosions and fanfare, but lacked any feminist ideologies that shook my core and single-handedly dismantled the patriarchy. Yes, women do not want to be the property of gross old men who send their sons off to war; was this the idea that shocked and enraged Mad Max fans? Was this tale of basic human rights too much for the famed Mad Max series? Feminism is honestly the most innocent and freeing ideology in the world, and yet the word has become toxic. Movies that portray women as real, complex characters are “edgy” and boasting propaganda, while Beyonce makes a brave stand taking on the scary title of “feminist.” Even on campus, students shy away from the feminism club in an attempt to remove themselves from the toxicity that the cause has obtained. For many students, being a part of the feminism club is a joke, it’s embarrassing.
Yes, being a part of the feminism club is embarrassing. I’m embarrassed to cross names off of emails because students “were signed up as a joke.” I’m embarrassed to have my club members hide their participation from their friends. I’m embarrassed to face the brunt of angry emails, jokes, and be the poster child for feminism on campus. When you’re president of the feminism club, you can’t hide behind anyone and deny the fact that you believe in equality for both genders. Lula and I chose Mad Max in an attempt to normalize the subject and get the campus to start using the “F” word a little more.