Privilege, like power, is a heady thing.
People who are privileged, who have a lot of power, rarely want to give it up. Maybe you recall the article from Deadline that suggested casting for the 2015-2016 pilot season discriminated against white actors in favor of ethnic actors in the wake of the success of Empire, blackish, Fresh of the Boat and How to Get Away with Murder.
They may as well have run the headline: White people, it’s all over! After running the entertainment industry since it’s inception, holding the overwhelming majority of positions of power and populating the face of television shows, four shows with minority actors have turned it all around. Aargh!!
Still, though the suggestion is insulting and laughable, so what? What if it were true? What if this pilot season, shows placed an emphasis on casting ethnic actors? Wouldn’t it be time that the entertainment we watch actually represent the world we live and work in?
Privilege is nifty, even when you aren’t consciously aware that you’re benefitting from it.
Which is why some men lost their shit after seeing the latest Mad Max installment, Mad Max: Fury Road. They were promised Mad Max chasing down apocalyptic rebels, crashing cars, and restoring order where it’s lacking. Instead, they were tricked, duped and bamboozled into watching feminist propaganda. How dare they have to watch a story about women, where a woman is kicking ass and taking names? And what makes it worse, it’s Charlize Theron… and she’s not even showing off her silky blonde hair or her tits! It’s another effort by Hollywood to “kowtow to feminism.”
(My sarcasm soaks that entire paragraph as those duped men’s tears soaked their popcorn.)
Those of us who are writers have heard about the Hero’s Journey so often that it invokes the gag reflex. But it’s such a part of story structure. Call to Adventure, Resisting the Return, the Dark Night of the Soul… *shudders* And the copious examples using Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings. Even a movie podcast I frequently listen to questioned Mad Max’s director and creator, George Miller, about his choice of Max being a passive character in the first act of the movie!
Like a lot of men, my husband was excited to see the latest Mad Max movie and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about… and, you know, bring down the man. I am a feminist after all, and it’s my duty as a feminist to see and support all feminist propaganda.
So, will this movie become required viewing in college women’s studies departments? Were penises sliced off left and right as women strove to exert their femininity?
Short answer: No. It’s a great movie and I really enjoyed it. It’s visually stunning, so interesting to watch, which is a plus since it’s a two hour movie.
And what about Mad Max? After all, the movie franchise is named after him. He is still front and center. But he’s a man who’s been haunted by spending too much time alone; self-isolation for mistakes he’s made. When he is drawn into helping Theron’s character save five women, he begins to find redemption and a reason to live, rather than just exist. Tom Hardy was sexy brawn, but Theron was the star. She was kickass dedication full of heart and grace. She was driven, determined, maternal—a woman’s action hero.
If you’re threatened by that and so small minded that you couldn’t appreciate and validate experiences other than your own, then stay away.
We wouldn’t want to accidentally get any propaganda on you.
Tracey Livesay’s second novel, Pretending With The Playboy (Book #2 in the In Love With A Tycoon series), is available now from Entangled Publishing. She blogs here on the third Monday of every month. If you like the flavor she’s bringing, you can check out her blog, Mimosas at Midnight or Like her Facebook page.