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This academic review is about a theme of matriarchy in Mad Max. This theme becomes popular in modern cinematography because of the representation of a woman as a dominant power. In particular, by considering patriarchal norms, women cannot take a key position in society because of established practices. However, patriarchal society changes while women get more rights in comparison to past tendencies. In this way, this academic review provides new views on the role of a woman in the cinematography by using the example of female characters in the Mad Max franchise and focusing on a heroine, Imperator Furiosa.

Introduction of Academic Review

Traditionally, society has been under the control of men. However, society is never static because there are a few exceptions in which the patriarchal tradition has been replaced by matriarchy. “Who run the world? Girls” is a popular slogan that feminists. Women want to prove that, in a male-dominated world, women are also capable of leading. Additionally, like most films produced in America and globally, male characters take the roles of heroes who save the day and rule over women and children. The movie presents a matriarchy system where women emerge as heroines at the end of the day. In this academic review, the term “matriarchy” refer to a geocentric form of society and family structure in which the female plays the leading role in politics, moral authority, social privilege, and control at the specific exclusion of males.

Matriarchy in Mad Max

mad max

The first movie “Mad Max” directed by George Miller in 1979 is obvious in its Neanderthal gender roles. In a post-apocalypse world that looks almost identical to the present times, Max or Mel Gibson is stuck in a nightmare. In particular, evil thugs protected by the law terrorize and threaten the fabric of civil society. As for Max, he is a policeman, but it is only as long as his wife Jessie or Joanne Samuel is at home taking care of the baby and performing other housewife duties for her man (Miller, 1979). His wife also plays the sole purpose of providing him a revenge motive. Therefore, the real energy and theme of this particular film is patriarchy where men go out of their way to protect women from the barbaric actions of other men.

Male Archetype

In the second movie, the director tries to shuffle the male archetypes a bit but fail to challenge them completely. Miller directed the second movie “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” in 1981. For example, Max is a shaggy loner cowboy who wants to die, defending the people from the enemy’s deadly gunfire and engines (Miller, 1981). In this case, women and children see him as he swings his guns and leads them out of the desert solo. Thus, people accept such character because of the male archetype of a brutal hero.

Female Archetype

The real attempt to represent women as a dominant power was implemented in the third movie “Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome” directed by Miller and Oglvie in 1985. In turn, the character of Aunt Entity or Tina Turner in the movie is the first attempt at introducing powerful female-led society in the film. Entity is the boss of Baretown, a community of thugs and thieves (Miller & Oglvie, 1985). Although she is a villain, her intentions seem admirable all the same. She intends to build a functional community from scratch and preserve civilization. She is not exactly a hero in the movie. However, she paves the way for Furiosa or Charlize Theron. She collapses the evil patriarch in order to build a better, functional female-led society in the next movie.

Academic Review on Patriarchy

The movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” directed by Miller in 2015 puts a woman at the center of the story. The theme of matriarchy is evident when that woman gets to overthrow the evil patriarchy. In this case, the character of Max or Tom Hardy does not have a key value in the movie. The post-apocalyptic world in the movie is a patriarchal one, and people do not learn the mistakes of the apocalypse (Miller, 2015). This society is unable to learn from its mistakes. In turn, they are attempting to create a new civilization upon another destructive path that leads toward a new apocalypse. Self-appointed leader, Immortan Joe, controls people and justifies his actions from his citadel where he is untouchable.

Gender Inequality

Capitalism and religious extremism exist, and young boys serve and die for Immortan Joe. In the middle of this scene, women are submissive and passive. For instance, women are used as cattle where they are tied and milked to provide Joe with the mother’s milk (Miller, 2015). This product is sold to maintain his wealth at the expense of these women. Besides, Joe also keeps other women locked up in a room for him to have fun whoever he wants.

Academic Review of Imperator Furiosa

Academic Review

Matriarchy is presented in the movie through the central character, Imperator Furiosa. She rose through ranks to become a trusted warrior. In particular, Furiosa has to adopt all protocols and mannerism of being male to adopt power while maintaining a secret dream of escaping and freeing the other women from Joe’s Citadel. On the other side, she had a dream of returning to the Green Place where women could have human rights. Even her name is different, Furiosa invokes the common saying “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” (Miller, 2015). In this case, Furiosa’s appearance is different from all other women in the series. Therefore, she follows characteristics with other male warriors, such as her shaved head and greasy face.


The matriarchal system is also evident in the Green Place, the location of Furiosa’s origin. As a child, Furiosa is kidnapped from her home in the Green Place of the Many Mothers, which is clearly a matriarchal society (Miller, 2015). In this case, the Vuvalini or Many Mothers displayed a broken matriarchal system. Therefore, the system banished all male children to the outer parts of the Green Place where they would be visited once in a while by the Many Mothers for women fertilization and other rituals. As a result, they rode motorcycles in the desert suspicious of any male activities and even admitted to killing some men they came across to stay on the safe side.

The Green Place

At the Green Place, women do not have information on what a female can or cannot do in the patriarchal system. They were capable of providing for themselves, feeling safe and showing no fragility in their fight against Joe’s patriarchal system. The women dominated the social, political, and moral settings of the community. Women were in charge where the banished men would learn how to survive by fishing for crows in the muddy mangroves between the desert and the Green Place (Miller, 2015). The Many Mothers wanted to make their land productive again to grow crops. Moreover, they wanted to establish a civilized society away from men who were the cause of the apocalypse in the first place.

Female Authority in Academic Review

During a mission to trade mother’s milk in a neighboring patriarchal town, Furiosa instead frees Joe’s wives and promises to take them to The Green Place where they would be in control of their bodies. As expected, Joe goes after them as this aspect is considered treason and theft of his wives, using her female authority. The five wives looked beautiful and frail and meek. They were ready to fight for what they knew while it was their rights (Miller, 2015). She leads the five wives safely through the desert to the Green Place for the ultimate battle against the patriarchal system.

Female Heroine

Furiosa is the heroine in the film, and she is designed for the women to associate with her. Her character is emulating the modern day career women who are brought up in a world. In this case, they have no choices but must follow the rules of the patriarchal system in order to get power for themselves because that is the only form of power that exists (Miller, 2015). On the other side, Furiosa gains personal power for herself. She embodies the other women to achieve their freedom by leading them to the Green Place.

New Life

Her character is loved because she provides solutions to the modern day career women who are forced to be inferior to her male counterparts. Furiosa urges women to fight for their rights and help each other. The movie ends when the tyrannical patriarchy is destroyed. The women who went to war return to new lives, coming of a new age where females occupy the apex of dominance (Miller, 2015). Furthermore, this aspect sends a message that a valid route to a futuristic future is to join the patriarchy. Hence, the aim of doing so is to change it from the inside.

Conclusion on Academic Review

Hence, this academic review of Mad Max is a formal term for video review and approval as it concentrates on the analysis and interpretation of the video content. The characters of Imperator Furiosa, the Vuvalini, and the five wive represent the main features of matriarchy in the movie “Mad Max.” In the first movie, patriarchy is a dominant power in society with no mention of powerful female figures. Then, in the second and third films, people can see powerful female characters like Aunty Entity. However, Furiosa is a heroine who fights for redemption without looking frail. The tribe of the Many Mothers wants Earth to be fertile again. In this case, the five wives look weak and submissive. However, they are ready to do whatever it takes to reach the Green Place. Thus, this academic review demonstrates that matriarchy is indeed one of the most outstanding themes in the films.


Miller, G. (1979). Mad Max. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079501/

Miller, G. (1981). Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082694/

Miller, G., & Oglvie, G. (1985). Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089530/

Miller, G. (2015). Mad Max: Fury Road. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392190/

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