Your assignment must be typed and double-spaced, and should be approximately 5 to 7 pages long. Please submit your assignment through Blackboard.
Evaluation will be based on how effectively you develop and support your argument about the film you have chosen. Make sure you incorporate relevant details about the film style/genre you are analyzing from the course materials and – if necessary – from secondary sources. The focus on your paper should be on YOUR analysis of the film. Explain your arguments and support them using evidence from the film. Make sure you document all sources – including the scenes from the film you analyze – using APA style in-text references and full references
Option 2: Reimagining the Action Film
In her discussion of female antagonism in Blaxploitation films (see unit 3, week 5), Melissa DeAnn Seifert observes that “[f]ilms featuring women as active agents … often create a divide between female characters and deny gender-based solidarity,” and argues that by dividing women and pitting them against one another, these films conveyed an “anti-sisterhood” message to women in the audience (2012, p.3).
Two recent action films – Mad Max: Fury Road and Spy (both released in 2015) -portray female central characters who work in alliance with other female characters. Choose one of these films (either Mad Max: Fury Road or Spy) and discuss how it re-imagines and re-presents the conventions of the action film. What message does this film send to women in the audience about female solidarity? Analyze at least three specific scenes from the film, drawing evidence from each scene to support your argument.
Make sure you address the significance of both the social, political and historical context in which the film was made and factors such as the character’s race, age, gender expression, sexuality, ability/disability in your discussion and analysis of the film.
Mad Max: Fury Road
For a long time, Hollywood directors have fallen into the societal trap of stereotyping women as lesser beings in society when compared to men. According to Cantor (2017), movie directors can change societal perceptions about any subject. However, most of them are using this power to reinforce societal stereotypes on their viewers. For instance, most societies believe that the female gender is jealous and often feels bad when another female succeeds. Movie producer shave helped reinforce this notion through pitting women against each other in the movies they direct.
The solution to this problem came from a rather unexpected source. George Miller, the director of a post-apocalyptic Movie Mad Max Furry, decided to use the action-packed movie to depict women in a different light from the normal misogynist perception of other Hollywood movie directors towards women. The Movie ironically titled Mad Max uses the name of the Max the male character in the movie, who in the actual sense plays the second role in the film. The main character Furiosa is a woman whose action exemplifies what women can achieve when united.
From the solidarity of women in the movie, the female audience can learn the following vital lessons; first, they should always let their actions speak louder than their words in each and everything they do. At the beginning of the movie, Furiosa is entrusted with a war rig to make regular oil run for the Immortan Joe, the villain in the film. In the process, she takes her war rig off the road. Others in the convoy ask her why she has done that, but she responds with silence. She only shared her plans with her trusted team of freed women. Though a simple scene, Furiosa’s action in the scene should speak to several women. According to Mair (2017), men who talk a lot are viewed as authoritative and outspoken enough to change societies. On the other hand, women who talk too much are looked down upon. Even though communication is a crucial aspect of most societies, Furiosa’s action proved that silence is much powerful.
Women are sentimental and like sharing their plans. This often makes their plans known by everybody including those who are out to destroy them. From the scene, the female audience should learn the art of when to talk and when to keep quiet about their plans. Keeping a plan to oneself might determine whether it succeeds or fails. Furiosa failed to respond to his convey because she did not trust them. They were people who worked hard to ensure the current patriarchal society continued to exist. Therefore, like Furiosa, they should always act more than they speak and if they speak, they should do it with those they trust.
Secondly, women should face their fears. In the movie, Furiosa and her team after escaping the citadel realize the green place where she dreamt of taking the ladies is a rundown place with nothing to survive on. She decides to take her team back to the citadel not as slaves by as equal partners. She is responsible for the safety of the women she freed from Immortan Joe’s harem. She decides to back knowing too well the opposition she would face in the process. This scene teaches vital lessons to women in society. According to Song (2016), for several years, women have continued to suffer in societies in silence because of the fear of the consequences that would befall them if they decide to act. For instance, female employees in an organization being looked down upon by their male counterparts especially the bosses. They silently continue to tolerate such actions instead of rising up, facing their fears and making the necessary changes.
In the scene, women are empowered to take action together to overcome all the problems bedeviling them. They are reminded of the power in numbers as a solution to the oppression they are facing in society. For instance, the number of women in several countries in the world surpasses those of men. According to StatisticsTimes.com (2019), females make 48.8% of the world’s population. Despite having an advantage in numbers, when female candidates vie for elective positions they still lose. This scene reminds women to support each other to achieve all their dreams. Furiosa and her team worked together to recapture the citadel and create a society where everyone was equal regardless of gender. Women should also emulate such actions and elect leaders who understand their plight and will make laws that safeguard and protect the interest of women in this patriarchal society.
Thirdly, in the movie Max a male character, fights alongside Furiosa and her team as they strive to recapture the citadel for its resources that support human existence. This scene teaches women that there are several men ready to support them in their struggles if they make an effort. According to Afshar (2016), women often look down upon their abilities. They do not believe that they have the right skills to achieve anything and therefore feel inferior to men. Additionally, they think all men are against their progress and therefore shy away from engaging those whose true interest is to assist them. In the film, Furiosa makes the decision to take the citadel to protect the lives of members of her team and guarantee their survival. She and her team believed in their abilities. Their self-belief roped in Max to help them achieve their objective.
Similarly, women in society should have such a belief in themselves. According to Afshar (2016), women should realize they wield more power in their hand to create a just and equitable society than they think. They need to jump into action and fight for their rights. Through doing this, their actions will inspire other people to join their cause, making them achieve their goals. For instance, if a company is constantly discriminating female applicants, the few females already hired in the organization should unite and fight for the rights of other females to get the jobs. In doing this, they will receive widespread support from various groups in the society which will ensure the employer respects the law and accords women the same opportunity in the society. The war against patriarchy cannot be won by sitting on the sidelines and watching (Armatta, 2018). Women need to take the initiative and fight against all evils directed towards them in an attempt to make them feel less superior to men in society. The solidarity between Furiosa and her team as they drove back to the citadel shows how much can be achieved if women worked together.
Apart from using a dystopia to depict the social and historical oppressions women have endured in various societies. Mad Max also uses the move to highlight how patriarchal political structures have oppressed women over the years. In the movie, Immortan Joe holds women as slaves and treats them like animals. The women are literally milked to feed the men in society. Additionally, they are stripped of their rights to their reproduction and are used to produce babies for the villain. They are also made to wear chastity belts. When women decide to act in solidarity, they manage to free each other from the shackles of oppression and topple the patriarchal structure that treated them like animals.
Furiosa decodes to fill her rig with the other women instead of fuel as she drives out. Her act saves the women from the oppression and demeaning life they were subjected to in the citadel. The decision of the women to act together enables them to overcome the challenges they are facing and establish a free and open society where all members are treated with respect regardless of their gender.
In conclusion, the film reimagines the potential women have if they decide to work together against their oppressors. The movie teaches women vital lessons such as letting their actions speak, taking the initiative to fight for their rights and to always face their fears. Putting these lessons into actions will enable women to triumph over all subjugations they have endured in various societies around the world. Politically, the movie highlights the ability of woman to also excel in leadership positions as exemplified by Furiosa. Socially, the movie highlights oppressions women endure from male chauvinists in the society and how they can overcome the challenges to create a just society where everyone is equal regardless of race, age and gender.
Afshar, H. (Ed.). (2016). Women and empowerment: Illustrations from the Third World. Springer.
Armatta, J. (2018). Ending sexual violence through transformative justice. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 5(1), 4-4.
Cantor, M. G. (2017). The Hollywood TV producer: His work and his audience. Routledge.
Mair, R. (2017). Going against the grain. Electrical Connection, (Autumn 2017), 48.
Song, H. (2016). Suffering in silence: the politics of shaping cultural memory in the context of narratives around Korean “comfort women” in South Korea.
StatisticsTimes.com. (2019). Countries by Sex Ratio 2018. Retrieved from http://statisticstimes.com/demographics/countries-by-sex-ratio.php