Mad Max and Motherhood

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Title: Mad Max and Motherhood
Creator: penfairy
Date(s): August 9, 2015
Medium: online
Fandom: Mad Max: Fury Road
External Links: Mad Max and Motherhood, Archived version
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In Mad Max and Motherhood penfairy writes about the women in 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road with a particular focus on motherhood. This popular piece of meta has over 7,000 notes on Tumblr as of November 2018.


When Furiosa finds the Vuvalini, she announces herself with the following words: ‘I am one of the Vuvalini, of the many mothers. My initiate mother was Katie Concannon. I am the daughter of Mary Jo Bassa. My clan was Swaddle Dog.’

This tells us Furiosa came from a matriarchal culture where ‘initiate mothers’ and older female role models were considered just as important as real mothers. She was raised and taught by a whole host of mother figures, and she clings tightly to this part of her identity.

We also know that Furiosa was stolen to act as breeding stock, but when she failed to produce any children she was discarded as worthless and had to become ‘one of the boys.’ By her skill and determination, she worked her way up through the ranks of Immortan Joe’s war boys until she reached a position where she was able to escape.

And all this makes me realise how cathartic it must have been to meet the wives and form a relationship with them. Throughout the film we watch her care for them, protect them and teach them. We watch her pass on her skills and knowledge to this new generation of women. We watch her relate to these women as a woman herself. We watch as her attitude towards them becomes almost entirely protective and maternal. Her mention of having an ‘initiate mother’ is particularly striking, since it would appear that Furiosa became just such a mother to the wives.

The only part of motherhood Joe valued was the actual birthgiving - a sentiment gruesomely displayed by the crude caesarean forced on Angharad. But the Vuvalini had many different ways to be mothers, and Furiosa proves that the most important part of motherhood is not the production of children, but the act of teaching and protecting. This, alongside the wives’ assertion that ‘Our babies will not be warlords,’ the culture of toxic masculinity that surrounds the war boys from being separated from their mothers at birth and the fact that a new, peaceful generation is ushered in by the war pups lowering the lift and the Milking Mothers throwing off their chains to give water to Wretched, tells us that the true value of motherhood does not lie in the ability to bear children, but in a woman’s ability to teach, influence and shape future generations.