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I grew up watching the original Mad Max films, and my desire to see Mad Max: Fury Road was driven as much by nostalgia as the promise of a strong female lead. 

I'm not the person I was back then, so having re-watched the films recently, and seen women used primarily as victims in their roles as MaidenMother  and Crone, I went in expecting to see a lot of Max, and a little bit of Furiosa. 

The only thing that led to be to wonder if this film might be different was the amount of noise it had been generating amongst the Men's Right Activists, but nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for what I saw.

I'll skip to my conclusion, and say that I left the cinema wondering how long it could be until I bought a copy to add to the collection of films I want my daughters to watch, because I was floored, absolutely FLOORED by Charlese Theron in - lets be honest here - the starring role.

This was not Max's story, this was hers.

And unlike Mayim Balik, I do rate her leading action hero amongst those of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley and Linda Hamilton's Connor, in fact, I rate it above both of them because while all three women are thrust from going about their daily lives into a position of kicking ass, Furiosa wears that mantle with a quiet determination, and crippling empathy.

Why do I say that? 


Her eyes. Oh man those eyes, haunting with the weight of untold and endless suffering. 

Hers is a face that has suffered, and she oozes compassion, and a sense that no more will be suffered on her watch. This is a woman who has played the long game, rising to the top of her profession, and literally giving no fucks about doing whatever she has to do to save the Five Wives.

But there is where my joy ended, because this film is a perfect reflection of every flawed conversation I have with my daughters.

Look at Furiosa, but see how she has been made more masculine, in order to be a creditable leader.

Look at the The Vuvalini of Many Mothers, but see how they are old and bitter, and pander to every cliché of feminism that says men must be violently and completely rejected.

Look at The Wives - women kept as favourites for their breeding potential - and see how none of them have an ounce of body fat, stretch marks, or sagging skin between them.

Look at the women kept as sources of Mother's Milk and see how they are used, and their most precious resource is taken, traded, and how little they benefit.

Look at all of these things, my daughters, and know that in the world today, you will be faced with dichotomies like this, every single day of your lives.

Mad Max: Fury Road isn't a perfect feminist film, because there is no perfect feminism.

What is so powerful about this film, is that I could recognise each and every one of the women who appeared in it - I am some of those women - and while it gives us no answers, it gives us a stage.

That's progress Hollywood, and I'll take it.

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