Wives, Warlords and Refugees: The People Economy of Mad Max

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Title: Wives, Warlords and Refugees: The People Economy of Mad Max
Creator: Kameron Hurley
Date(s): May 18, 2015
Medium: online
Fandom: Mad Max: Fury Road
External Links: Wives, Warlords and Refugees
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Kameron Hurley wrote Wives, Warlords and Refugees: The People Economy of Mad Max after seeing 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road. This piece of meta discusses the human cost of the dystopian society in which the film takes place with a specific focus on its condemnation of sexism. Hurley explores the characters of Max Rockatansky, Furiosa, and The Wives as being particularly noteworthy in the action genre.


And this is where this film gets all the violence-against-women stuff right, because it boldly and frankly positions it for what it is, stripping it of the male gaze, of sexuality, of uncontrollable male urges. There are no on screen rape threats, rape attempts, or rapes because they would detract from the entire point. You have to strip all that away to see it for what it is: Sexism is about power. Sexism is about controlling the means of production.

It occurs to me I have not touched much on Furiosa here, but what is there to say? She’s the hero of the show, the warrior queen, the one with the grit and fortitude to bust out five women from prison and go riding off into the desert in search of a hazy half-memory of a place. She is the one who must ultimately make the decision whether to ride across the desert or to turn back and fight Immortan Joe. All Max can do is suggest it. The entire agency of this entire film rests entirely in her hands.

Perhaps that’s the truly refreshing thing about this film, for me. It’s that instead of women playing a part in some guy’s story, in propping up some guy’s journey, we have, instead, Max stumbling into Furiosa’s story, and simply going along for the ride. He is, if anything, a Manic Pixie Dreamguy who stumbles in to suggest that she turn around and take the citadel herself. Then, after she has won the day and taken her rightful place as Queen Furiosa, he moves on to go and help justice prevail somewhere else.