Study Guide

Mad Max: Fury Road Women and Femininity

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Women and Femininity

MISS GIDDY: They are not your property.


MISS GIDDY: You cannot own a human being. Sooner or later, someone pushes back!

IMMORTAN JOE: Where is she taking them?

MISS GIDDY: She didn't take them. They begged her to go!

IMMORTAN JOE: Where is she taking them?

MISS GIDDY: A long way from you.

You tell him, Miss Giddy. Left behind by the women, Miss Giddy defies Immortan Joe to his face when he arrives to check on his wives. That takes some serious guts, right? Immortan Joe is not a man you stand up to lightly. She's taking a big risk here.

WAR BOY: Furiosa! She took a lot of stuff from Immortan Joe.

NUX: What stuff?

WAR BOY: Breeders. His prized breeders. He wants them back.

"Stuff." Oof.

ANGHARAD: We're not going back.

This quick little line packs a big punch. Angharad's refusal to go back tells us that even though out in the wasteland "everything hurts," it's preferable to being treated like property, with no freedom or agency of your own. She'd rather risk her life in an endless desert than live for one more day under Immortan Joe's thumb.

ANGHARAD: We're going to the Green Place. We're going to the Green Place of Many Mothers.

"The Green Place of Many Mothers" as a phrase connects two very important themes in Fury Road into one concept: ecofeminism. Environmental survival (in other words, green-ness) is correlated with motherhood as a value. Basically, in this world, women in power might mean more green for everyone. Men in power means more Immortan Joes.

TOAST THE KNOWING: Of all the legs you had to shoot, that one was attached to his favorite.

Toast's flippant comment to Max in passing shows just how ingrained the idea of women-as-property is ingrained in this culture. Even Toast—a smart young woman seeking agency and liberation—describes Angharad's leg injury as if it's a dent in Immortan's favorite Cadillac.

TOAST THE KNOWING: Don't damage the goods.

Here's another example of Toast's world-building snark. She's in danger from Max here, and she refers to herself—her own body—as goods. She sees herself as a commodity because that's how the world treats her. But based on her sarcastic tone, we know she knows she's more.

IMMORTAN JOE: Splendid! That's my child! My property!

Not only are the women property—their offspring are too. We never hear about whether or not these women have borne Immortan Joe other children (perhaps girls, who can't be heir to his Citadel throne?), but we can imagine that any children these women have will not be given a chance to be loved by their mothers. And their mothers will have no say in their children's future.

CHEEDO: We were his treasures!

CAPABLE: Cheedo!

CHEEDO: We were protected! He gave us the high life! What's wrong with that?

CAPABLE: We are not things.

You tell her, Capable. What's so sad about this moment is that it illustrates the small compromises these women must make in order to survive. In this moment, Cheedo thinks, hey, we had it pretty good back there. After all, they weren't like the wretched. They were fed and clothed and educated. But at the end of the day, they were still slaves. And for Capable, that's all that matters.

ORGANIC MECHANIC: Another month, could have been your viable human.

IMMORTAN JOE: Was it a male?

ORGANIC MECHANIC: Your A-1 Alpha prime.

We can't help but notice that it sounds an awful lot like the Organic Mechanic is describing Angharad's stillborn baby like he would a steak. So it looks like Immortan Joe's commodification of the human body extends to men, too. Or male babies in this case.

FURIOSA: I am one of the Vuvalini. Of the Many Mothers. My Initiate Mother was K.T. Concannon. I am the daughter of Mary Jabassa. My clan was Swaddle Dog.

Based on a few context clues, we can guess that the Green Place was home to a matriarchal society, where women handed down their names and their power.

THE KEEPER OF THE SEEDS: You having a baby?

THE DAG: Warlord Junior. Gonna be so ugly.

THE KEEPER OF THE SEEDS: Could be a girl.

Oh snap. Here, it seems having a girl is a blessing rather than a curse. Now that the Dag has escaped the clutches of Immortan Joe, if she has a girl that girl can grow up to be something other than a breeder. Something more free.

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