While we aren't shocked that the new Mad Max: Fury Road movie starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron has countless explosions and epic action sequences, we are surprised to hear that Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler played an integral off-screen role as a consultant.

In the film, Max and Furiosa team up and race across the desert with five former female captives who are vital to the continued wellbeing of the human race. These five women, decked out in filthy and skimpy rags, are victims of sexual violence. Model-turned-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays Splendid, a woman who is pregnant because she was raped by her captor. The other women boast equally harrowing backstories. Instead of giving the actresses free reign to come up with their own characters' histories, or simply doing it himself, director George Miller flew Ensler in to help out.

ADVERTISEMENT

In an interview with Esquire, Huntington-Whiteley talked about Ensler’s participation in the film. “We were able to pick her brain for a week. She told us the most tragic stories I’ve ever heard in my life, which gave us so much background to our characters,” said Huntington-Whiteley. “It was a privilege to have her around to make these characters something more than five beautiful girls.” 

New Fall Issue d217c

While it’s admirable that a big-budget Hollywood action movie would make the effort to bring on a well-respected feminist activist to help develop these backstories, we’re still stuck on something that Huntington-Whiteley said: These captives are all “beautiful girls.” Their sexual appeal is definitely at the forefront—even their “rags” are fashioned to accentuate the girls’ best assets. Who takes the time to make sure that the tattered sheet you’re wearing is strapless or shows off your flat abs? It’s a classic Hollywood move—making female victims, no matter how hard their lives may have been, seem sexually appealing, because apparently that’s what really matters.

Despite this unfortunate reality, it’s refreshing to see that a male Hollywood director did not try tell his actresses what it’s like to be a woefully mistreated female. Instead he got a credible, awesome woman to do the job. Let’s hope more male directors chose to do this in the future. 

Image via: The AV Club

Support Feminist Media!
During these troubling political times, independent feminist media is more vital than ever. If our bold, uncensored reporting on women’s issues is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford, to protect and sustain BUST.com.
Thanks so much—we can’t spell BUST without U.

 DONATE NOW