I Came For The Strong Leather-Bound Men

The internet is on fire with the imminent release of Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that on its face promises to be an action packed thrillride of nonstop explosions, outrageous car chases, and unspeakable violence. It’s precisely the sort of movie that we think we’ve been waiting for, and by we, I obviously mean men, because this is a man’s movie for men. Here, just look at the trailer:

Mad Max: Fury Road – Official Main Trailer [HD]

And as you can see, the movie is nothing that we were promised. So much greatness crumbles upon closer inspection. It appears that this is a movie which has the audacity to prominently feature not only women but a closely shorn Charlize Theron too. And before you ask me, yes, I haven’t actually seen the film, but what more does one need to see when one has seen a trailer such as that? That trailer is 2:32 of Hollywood misandry at its worst and I, for one, am outraged.

If you’re wondering why it is exactly that the presence of women so threatens to entirely undermine this proudly masculine franchise, please read this excellent recap of the truly brilliant arguments being made against this…well, abomination is the only word that comes immediately to mind. I cannot possibly do enough justice to the good words being spoken by the erudite men who find themselves so reasonably and righteously offended about the desecration of the decades old legend of Mad Max. I will not try to outspeak the intellectual titans who rightly understand that the presence of any women in any action movie will ruin that movie, for what can I say that could be said any better? These champions of canon have staked out a position so well-thought out and perfectly reasoned that little more can (or even should) be added. But I have noticed one shortcoming in their arguments, one position that they’re not giving enough attention, one bit of kindling that should be tossed onto the righteous bonfire of their aggrieved indignity, and that is simply this: when I watch any action movie, but especially a Mad Max film, I’ve come for the strong leather-bound men.

Don’t let me be misunderstood. When I say that I’ve come for the strong leather-bound men, I mean that I’m there in that theater to see men with the sort of raw, sinewy, taut physiques that result from the hellscape of a post-apocalyptic world wherein strength – raw, passionate, desperate strength – trumps all. We can know of the sort of hell that these men endure by the sort of roughcut leather that they’re forced to wear, outfits that barely conceal, outfits we’d only ever wear in our wildest fantasies. And those masks show us a world of power and terror and domination. I don’t want my enjoyment of any of this interrupted by the presence of women.

They’re distracting me from the time I’ve intended to spend with the chisel-jawed Tom Hardy, the impish Nicholas Haut, and the hard-bodied Josh Helman. I can’t believe that some Hollywood screenwriter and then some Hollywood producer and then some Hollywood director would think that I would have any interest in my post-apocalyptic fantasies ruined by the presence of women. As if I can possibly focus on the story’s hot, sweating energy if a woman is at all involved.

In summation, I want to emphasize that Mad Max: Fury Road features too many women that we haven’t come for and too few men that we have come for.

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56 thoughts on “I Came For The Strong Leather-Bound Men

  1. Jumping sporking Jehoshaphat!! Those comments you linked to are a horror show. I hope this silly unnecessary reboot is wildly successful just to make those dudes cry.

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  2. Tina Turner was a bad ass in MM Beyond Thunderdome. She looked pretty stylish in a chain mail outfit and heels. And that music video they cut with the great sax solo was good too.

    I’ll probably wait to see this, but if it’s got Theron, perhaps she’ll be in some skimpy leather outfit. That’d be worth the price of a cheap matinee ticket.

    And I’m sure most guys can make the distinction between kick ass women in moves and real life women. That’s one of the REASONS we go see movies…to see stuff we don’t see in real life.

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    • You may be onto something. This is not a movie I am likely to watch, and even less likely to pay to see in a theater. Partly this is because Mad Max is not a movie that demands a remake. (Or is this a reboot, or a sequel? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t really matter.) There are some movies with tons of potential that, for whatever reason, didn’t quite pan out. For these, a remake/reboot/sequel can be a good idea. This one looks suspiciously like the perceived missed potential was not enough explosions.

      I saw both reboot Star Trek films in the theater, as well as the three Star Wars prequels. I will likely see Episode VII in the theater. This is out of generational cultural imperative. Star Trek and Star Wars were the lodestars of my youth. So even knowing as I do that I will almost certainly be disappointed, I make the pilgrimage to the movie theater. (My main memory of, for example, the second J.J. Abrams Star Trek film is that it was very loud, and stuff happened. Now get off my lawn!)

      Mad Max? I liked those films, but they weren’t lodestars. In the normal course of events, I might catch this one on Netflix, but probably not. We are in the golden age of television for adults. Time is my limiting factor, not material.

      But finding that this crowd is against the film almost–though not quite–makes me want to go see it.

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  3. Return of Kings is , for lack of a better term, a toll site. It mostly exists to say outrageous things that will get hate-linked and Tweeted around the internet. The basic idea is that if you say enough outrageous things and reach a wide enough audience, the underlying message will with some number of the people who hear the echo.

    This appears to be a successful strategy.

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    • Isn’t Return of Kings a reactionary site that kind of argues for monarchy of the non-constitutional type and aristocracy as viable political systems? Nerds say they hate the humanities but a lot of them see themselves as philosopher-kings. These are the type of people that think what was wrong with Fascism or Communism was that they weren’t running the show.

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      • No, Rerturn of Kings is pretty much a straight manosphere/redpill site. There is some cross-over between the manosphere and the neo-reactionaty crowd, but they are different. And on some issues, they directly conflict.

        And most of these guys don’t really self-identify as nerds.

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        • — I know they don’t self-identify as nerds, but I very much wonder if that is not a kind of false consciousness. Which is to say, people often hate most in others what they see in themselves, and I view the Redpill as mostly the PUA-gone-wrong, which in turn I view as mostly lonely men trying very hard to be something they are not.

          The point is, these men seem deeply insecure, and that insecurity probably does not rest on true confidence in their successful masculinity. Instead, it is probably a false front to cover up their sense of inadequacy over a failed masculinity.

          I wonder how many of them would actually be happier on estrogen? I bet it’s more than most people would guess.

          But anyway.

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          • There is no one narrative that you can impose on the group of people in question. What you say may be right on for some significant subset, but for others, they are fine in their masculinity.

            One of my problems with the contemporary incarnation of feminism is the claim that masculinity is toxic and that all men need some corrective dose of feminism. I don’t buy it. Some men experience an inordinate amount of trouble in trying to fit into traditional conceptions of masculinity and some inhabit those traditional conceptions just fine. The key is to allow individuals the freedom to find the space that suits them best. Likewise, this is my main problem with the manosphere, as well.

            The world is large. It contains multitudes. There’s more than enough room for different narratives.

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            • — There are two ways masculinity can go wrong. One is that some men have poor time expressing traditional masculine values, because they’re scrawny or nerdy or autistic-as-fuck or whatever. These men really get crushed.

              For these men, there is a way that feminist gender theory might help, in that it can give them tools to deconstruct what is happening to them and to find gender structures that work better.

              Which, in case it is not obvious, contemporary feminism does a terrible job of communicating with these men. Part of that is because these men are often really messed up in how they relate to women. Which basically sums up everything you see on Jezebel about “nice guys” and about gamergate and so on. It’s a mess. (Sites like Jezebel are particularly terrible on this topic, obviously.)

              In any case, if we ever get an effective “gender theory for nerdy men,” it will probably be consistent with feminism, at least (for example) Julia Serano’s version of feminism, not so much the Dworkin flavors. But anyway, if we ever get nerd-boy-gender-stuff, it will be different from feminism in that is focuses on their issues and needs. By them, for them.

              The Redpill is an attempt at this, I suppose. I think it has failed rather terribly to be anything worthwhile.

              The second sort of guy is the hyper-masculine sexist pig. And this is a thing that arises out of sexism, the idea that masculinity and femininity should be seen as duals of each other — “men are strong thus women are weak” — and that masculinity is the stronger-better-dominant side. Needless to say this is nonsense and the men who think this way are jerks.

              By the way, this latter kind of masculinity is what we see in that video in the other thread.

              And then there is the way that the first type of man, those who failed at masculinity, often foolishly idolizes the latter kind, which is why you get sadsack nerdboys who want to play big strong military guys in their first-person-shooters.

              Not that there is anything wrong with being big and strong.

              Which, since I’m on the topic, hey everyone! Lift weights! Be strong, be bold, be amazing! Fortify!

              (This includes women, by the way.)

              But anyway, back on topic. When nerdboys try to “play at” masculinity, which does not come naturally to them, they seem to overshoot the mark. They become “try-hards.” I mean, you see this all over the place. And yeah, it’s insecurity all the way down.

              From this soil grows the Redpill.

              And yeah, there will be many variations on these themes. Each story is in some ways unique. But we can still see important patterns by which people can understand their lives.

              #####

              In case it needs to be said, most men are neither of these types. Most men seem to do well enough while they muddle through their gendered lives. They “man up” as much as they need to, without turning into complete bros. They also figure out women well enough to get along. At least, they figure out the women in their lives, which is what really matters.

              They’re still “sexist,” but in the sense we live in a matrix of sexism. This is just the same as “everyone is a little bit racist.” Yep. We are.

              And feminism also wants to talk about this casual, social sexism, but that’s a different kind of topic from the Redpill creeps.

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              • You are on fire. Keep writing. I’m loving this.

                As an aside, I think strength, the emotional kind, is valuable in life for everyone, full stop. Big muscles are a proxy for it, a visible representation, a will-o-the-wisp that men chase, because they don’t understand the kind of strength that they really need. Of course, I should not have said “men” in that last sentence, because I’ve watched women get the fever and chase it, too.

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          • I guess the problem is that there isn’t really a definition of nerd that is universally accepted. You can make a good faith argument either way depending on what definition of nerd you use. If you think that geeky hobbies and a disinterest in athletics or other traditional masculine activities are an important part of the male nerd than many of the denizens of the manosphere are not nerds because they don’t have particularly geeky hobbies. If the geeky hobby aspect is optional than they might be nerds based on social awkwardness.

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      • “Nerds say they hate the humanities…”

        This is not my experience. Even if we limit the discussion to techno-nerds, I know many that are into history as well. Some are quite serious about it. Perhaps I run with a better sort of nerds than do you.

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          • — I’m a nerd. Have you heard me say that?

            Nerds often hunger for things that can be made precise. Likewise, there is a tendency to think legalistically, in a way that seems rules-bound rather than flexible [1]. But there is a corresponding attraction to big thoughts, and contemporary nerds tend to be sufficiently familiar with the map-territory distinction that they can address the useful parts of post modernism. In any event, the idea that nerds are all-math or all-science is probably wrong.

            Where nerds get it seriously wrong is arrogance, and often a lack of much real life experience, which can temper their “know-it-all” tendencies.

            1. For example, a nerd might argue, “If I spread pieces of this file around on different servers and use crypto algorithms on the contents, then I cannot be sued for intellectual property violations, cuz no single server has the actual content.” Needless to say, judges are not that stupid.

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            • I didn’t say all nerds say this but I have been acquainted with several that looked down upon historians, literature professors, philosophers, and other students of the humanities as fraudsters and not real scholars. Like many accusations, there is a kernel of truth in this. Some humanities scholarship is just as shoddy and flim-flame as they say. A lot of it is genuine even if of marginal use to the wider society.

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              • Hey, some I’m my best friends are nerds. It’s not like I’m a nerdist or anything.

                And when I’m talking about nerds, I’m not talking about the ones that aren’t quite so nerdy like you. I’m talking about the ones that are *really* nerd-like, because those nerds need to be put in their place. I mean, you call each other nerds, so you know what I mean.

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              • It is a type. I know some guys like that, who think economists are all stupid, and psychology is bunk, which doesn’t apply to them. There is a non-zero overlap between these people and people with autistic spectrum disorders.

                Nevertheless, all the usual cautions about employing broad stereotypes are in force. We nerds are a varied breed, and we don’t like being pigeonholed any more than anybody else.

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  4. Dear Hollywood.

    Thank you for giving me a speech that I can give Maribou that will get her to see this with me instead of some Jane Austen flick.

    “Baby, don’t you think it’s important that we, as a society, support movies that pass the Bechdel Test?”

    Big Ups,

    Jaybird

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  5. 1. The remake of Mad Max is more evidence that creativity is either dying or dead. Original ideas only get turned into movies if it is an award bait. Otherwise, its all about money.

    2. Do not people wear plant-based textiles in the apocalyptic future? I hate leather clothing except shoes and belts.

    3. A certain segment of the manosphere call themselves red-pillers after the Matrix. They seem to think that adopting terminology from a science fiction movie to explain their misogynistic worldview is clever. I think it is strong evidence that they aren’t that bright. These people need to grow up.

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  6. Sam, do you like gladiator movies?

    Rotten Tomatoes has MM:FR it at 99% which is really really high. In contrast the Reese Witherspoon/ Sophia Vergara movie that just came out is at 6% which is really low. So I’m glad that Mad Max has some qualities, because otherwise we’d be hearing the reverse – that Hollywood and the viewing public is full of unreconstructed frat bros that don’t appreciate women in movies.

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