Mad Max, Hunger Games, Dragons: From Domination to Partnership
Mad Max, Hunger Games, and How to Train Your Dragon are all movies I watched this year.
They all celebrate a move from domination to partnership.
Most of human history has been one of domination: Rich over poor, men over women, white over black and brown…
Yet prehistory held partnership cultures. To which we may return.
Much suggests that we are in transition toward partnership, including protest of the lily-white, male-heavy film industry and Oscars. And the trend toward partnership is meeting backlash from the likes of ISIL, right wing extremists, MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists), and more…
Still, films increasingly reflect the transition. Like these:
How to Train Your Dragon
I have a special affinity for dragons because in European culture they were the last remnant of the goddess — and the veneration of women and women’s empowerment.
Prehistoric societies were marked by both warrior, god-worshipping cultures and by more peaceful plant-based, goddess-worshiping societies.
Plant-based societies were more peaceful because they had enough. So no need to attack their neighbors in order to survive and flourish. Fertility and life — bestowed by the goddess who gave birth to us all — were celebrated.
Warrior societies lacked a dependable supply of food and goods and attacked their neighbors. Death, destruction and domination were valued because that’s how folks got their stuff. Men are typically bigger, stronger and more expendable (not giving birth) so they were the warriors. So men — and warrior traits of violence and dominance — were valued.
When warrior/dominance “god cultures” overtook more peaceful “goddess societies” a number of things happened to the defeated deity:
- Best case: the head god marries the goddess, and he holds slightly more power (Odin and Frejya).
- Worse case: the head god marries the goddess and holds a lot more power. And gods rape goddesses (Zeus/Antiope, Hades/Persephone…).
- Worst case: the head god slays the goddess — who takes on the form of an evil dragon (Marduk and Tiamat).
Whenever you see a dragon in myth you can trace its origins back to a creator goddess, who was overtaken by a warrior god.
How to Train Your Dragon takes place in a Viking age. Physical strength, violence and domination are valued.
But our hero, Hiccup, embodies none of this, and cannot bring himself to kill a dragon when he gets the chance.
And so he makes friends, instead.
Hiccup and the dragon train each other in how to get along. Soon, he’s teaching the Vikings the strength of empathy, nonviolence and partnership.
Everyone is better off!
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road portrays a male-dominated post-apocalyptic world in which only the powerful have enough. And the misery of the disempowered — whether women or the poorest — simply doesn’t matter.
Eventually, the evil King’s wives escape and meet up with a small all-female society that distrusts men. But they learn that some men are actually a-okay. These women and men return, overthrow the patriarchy, and bring peace and prosperity — well, as much as that’s possible post-apocalypse.
Any wonder this film faced backlash from MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists)?
Hunger Games, Mockingjay (II)
The Hunger Games’ “Katniss” expresses a strong mix of both feminine and masculine qualities, with both valued.
She’s been described as both:
- personal and communal
- strong and soft
- hunter and nurturer
- tough and teary
- fighter and lover
- stoic and sentimental
Embodying this mix, Katniss helps put an end to a world where the wealthy dominate everyone else.
And, this female-driven, gender mashup is hugely popular!
Times, they are a changin’…