Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mad Max: Furiosa-ly Spinning a Narrative's Wheels

A few weeks ago, the 'man-o-sphere' (a collective name for various men's rights and tangentially-related movement's websites and adversarial boogeyman to its it equally-silly-named counterpart, the fempire) erupted in a chaotic backlash after seeing Mad Max: Fury Road, saying that it was all a big distraction to preach feminism at hapless, unsuspecting men, and that MRAs everywhere were boycotting the film.

At least, that's you'd think if you looked at initial headlines from trusted and totally-not-biased source The Mary Sue.

Now, I haven't seen the movie. I'm honestly not sure if I will, unless I catch it streaming somewhere at some point. I don't often go to the cinema; these days, it takes a major ticket to get me to go. Make it a Rifftrax Live or a Marvel film, and I'm there. But I've seen maybe one Mad Max film and I honestly wasn't that impressed. So I'll pass, but not because my man-jimmies are rustled, but because I'm still fresh off of Age of Ultron and waiting for Ant-Man. I'll probably pass on Jurassic World for now, even if it is 70s-era sexist (what's up, Joss?).

The original article that started this whole mess was posted on Return of Kings, which according to the linked “About” page is less 'men's rights' and more 'Al Bundy's NO MA'AM' by way of the 'He-Man Women-Hater's club.' I get a serious Poe's Law vibe off of Return of Kings and would doubt its very veracity were it not for being familiar with too many things on the opposite/nearest end of the gender-political horseshoe. Even according to its own published work, they are fervently anti-MRA. But the three little letters, “MRA” are, as I stated earlier, an adversarial boogeyman to sites like The Mary Sue, who will conflate everyone from GamerGate to the GOP with that boogeyman in an attempt to discredit opposing – or even unrelated – viewpoints.
So The Mary Sue published their article, and then everyone from The Verge to The Daily Beast (seriously, who keeps giving Arthur Chu work?) to CNN picked it up and ran with it, not even bothering to do their own research. So that one guy on a fringe gender activist website, who hadn't even seen the movie, turned into millions of angry misogynist MRAs angrily boycotting a movie they hadn't seen... whilst simultaneously lauding a film full of half naked women getting beaten up and run over as a feminist triumph because the author of The Vagina Monologues (which, I'll have you recall, included a 'good rape' in reference to a child being molested) was brought in as a consultant. Another clear case of why TMS wins my vaunted “Intellectual Dishonesty Award.”

But, as they often do, the narrative is once again shifting. Feminist Frequency gave the movie a sound trouncing. Other sources are saying it didn't do so well on the fem-front. Jezebel published the most incomprehensible attempt at satire I've seen in my entire life.

I'm just sitting here shaking my head, shrugging my shoulders, and going 'Meh.” If you like Max, I hope you managed to enjoy the movie amidst the nonsense gender-politics war surrounding it. What is even journalism anymore? My head hurts. 

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