Mad Max: Fury Road may be named after one of the male characters, but the main character who deserves all the limelight is Imperator Furiosa. Not only is she a feminist icon in a male dominated action-film franchise, but all the male characters in the film treat her seriously as a warrior and survivor.
The War Boys on Furiosa’s War Rig are loyal to her even when she changes course from Gas Town to driving off-road to the Green Place. They only question her orders and retaliate when Immortan Joe starts to catch up to them, and they know that she has done something wrong.
Furiosa is also disabled; part of her left arm is missing. Even with this disability, she is high in Immortan Joe’s ranks, and a missing arm does not stop her from being the strongest character of the film. She is also one of the most moral of all the characters from the start; others change their views over the course of the film, but Furiosa is the first character to show compassion and stick to her moral sense throughout the film. There were many times where she could have killed Max when they were still going through their rough patch, but she doesn’t. Her goal was to protect The Wives and get them to the Green Place, and she doesn’t do anything to jeopardize that—even if it meant having to trust Max and risking her life over the course of their journey.
Within Immortan Joe’s Citadel, all the females we see are either his concubines, “Mother’s Milk” providers, or one of the impoverished citizens. With the exception of Furiosa, all of these women are seen as, what The Wives referred to as not being, “things”. They wear next to nothing, the “Mother’s Milk” women are literally hooked up to pumps for their breast milk, and The Wives are used as sex slaves for Joe. The Wives are also forced to wear “belts” that could only be used to keep other men from having sex with them. All of these women are highly sexualized. Even the Vuvalini used sexualization, though for other reasons; one of them was completely naked and screaming when they were first introduced. Even though The Wives are only seen as a source of children to Joe, Furiosa sees how strong they are, and they prove that strength throughout the film by not going insane while fleeing and helping to defend the War Rig.
Furiosa, The Wives, and the Vuvalini are all different ways one can show feminism in not only films, but life as well. Furiosa and the Vuvalini are all extremely strong characters who are warriors, but are also soft and caring. The Wives know nothing about fighting, but are quick to learn when they need to. They are gentle, but strong-willed. They show that you don’t have to be a warrior to be strong. The women in Mad Max: Fury Road are all strong, caring, feministic females.
Is this film an interpretation of how women are still sometimes viewed in society today, not just in the world as a whole, but in our own country as well?