We went out to see Mad Max: Fury Road over the weekend. It’s really quite good, and spectacularly choreographed. But while I had a fun time, I wasn’t as over-the-moon about it as a lot of people have been, despite the whole ‘hey look, I’m not being treated with contempt!’ factor. Perhaps my expectations were set a little too high by the time I got there. I certainly agree that it is the most metal movie ever made – that’s not even really debatable. It’s just a fact. And that aspect of it, I loved.
The single biggest thing I walked away with, though, was that the realisation that its philosophical assumption that women shouldn’t be sex slaves is what really caused the the misogynist/”manosphere”/return-of-kings crowd to explode. And I’m serious about that. I mean, if you read the most forwarded-around rant, they don’t even mention all the women being used as slaves. That’s apparently okay. They’re okay with the Mother’s Milk women, being harvested very much like cows. That’s fine too. That’s all suitably manly, it seems.
But the idea that a woman character should fall outside that category, and be a driving character? Unacceptable. That’s what constitutes “a feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick</a>.” That’s is what’s “ruining women for men” – being a woman while not being property and/or a sex-slave. Underneath that, the implicit declaration that you aren’t a man if you aren’t subjugating and raping women.
Pretty fuckin’ creepy, bro.
I mean, the degree of raw hatred for women that’s in all this sort of thing ought to be obvious. But a lot of people still gloss it over, and they shouldn’t, because it’s not just these jokers. They’re the Westboro Baptist Church we’re-not-like-them-we’re-okay misogyny, the version that’s easy to laugh at. They’re the sideshow clowns.
But versions of it show up other places, too, like in questions about why there are so many women are in a ‘man’s movie’ at places like Cannes. I mean, seriously, the reporter’s question boils down to, “Ick, women, why?” with the “Ick, women who aren’t sex toys for men, why?” kind of implied. (That specific codicil is somehow always okay – even when it’s Disney comedies with writers going around ranking underage actresses by “fuckability.” Ew.)
Thankfully, in this case, Tom Hardy treated the question with the kind of casual contempt it deserved. But that’s an anomaly. The idea was still sitting out there – “ick, women I don’t get to fuck, why?” Why should they even exist?
Which is the same hate – or at least, a contempt close enough to make no difference. It’s just socially modulated. Less explicit. Every so slightly less crude.
But still pretty fuckin’ creepy, bro. Even though you generally get to skate on it. Pretty. Fuckin’. Creepy.