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Brave New Girls: Smashing The Dystopian Patriarchy Through Pop Culture

Rachael Brennan Published On: 05-02-2018
Brave New Girls: Smashing The Dystopian Patriarchy Through Pop Culture

The past few years have seen amazing gains for women across the globe. From Malala Yousafzai's notable Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 to Hillary Clinton's historic run for president in 2016, women have shown no signs of stopping their fight against the patriarchy. Not to be outdone, in 2017 goth queen Rose McGowan and actress-turned-activist Ashley Judd were just two of the many voices that helped bring the #MeToo movement into the mainstream. 

With every day that passes, women around the world are finding their voices and taking their power back from the men who have wielded it for so long. From the Women's March to the #MeToo movement, women are fighting hard to show they are done allowing themselves to be oppressed by powerful men.

If you're looking for inspiration in your fight for the greater good against a world that seems dismally corrupt and destined for disaster, look no further than Netflix or your local library. Whether you're watching Godless or reading The Mockingjay, powerful women raging against the degenerates of the world is sure to steel your resolve. 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Brave New Girls: Smashing the Dystopian Patriarchy Through Pop Culture


In the most popular dystopian story in the last few years, Katniss Everdeen leads an uprising against a terrifying, authoritarian government with nothing more than a bow and arrow and unbridled defiance. Faced with a world where extreme inequality means the many are forced to live in squalor while the few are lavished with wealth, an act of love and an unyielding sense of right and wrong make Katniss the face of a revolution.

If you are looking for a heroine to help you stay strong in the face of adversity, you could find no better inspiration than Katniss Everdeen. 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Brave New Girls: Smashing the Dystopian Patriarchy Through Pop Culture: Handmaids Tale


In a bleak vision of the future of humanity, all but those women on the highest rung of the socioeconomic ladder are removed of their identities and treated as chattel, their value dependent upon the contents of their uterus. No longer allowed to have so much as a name of their own, women in the hyper-religious society of Gilead have no rights, not even the right to bodily autonomy.

In a frightening political atmosphere, women all across America have turned to the iconic red robes and white bonnets used to identify the handmaids in the Hulu miniseries as a form of protest against the attempted regulation of women's reproductive rights.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

Smashing the Dystopian Patriarchy Through Pop Culture: Stepford Wives


The idyllic suburbs of Connecticut are less than ideal for the fiercely feminist Joanna Eberhart as she sees the women around her turned from intelligent, independent women into docile robots.  

The Stepford Wives is just as poignant today as it was more than 40 years ago. In a time when Gamer Gate was a thing and MRAs have taken over the darkest corners of the internet, the thought that women should be subservient housewives and nothing more is something that hasn't gone away. If you are looking for a biting satire of toxic masculinity, you need look no further than The Stepford Wives.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Feminist Dystopian Characters: Mad Max Fury Road

Warner Bros.

For as long as there have been stories told, whether on the screen, on the stage, or simply through the written word, women and their narratives have been overlooked. The perspectives presented, from writers to directors to actors, are almost always masculine in nature. Even this story was written, directed, and produced by men and men alone. Despite the overwhelming number of men involved in the movie's production, it represents a huge step forward for on-screen feminism because the story centers around a strong, capable woman who is in every sense a road warrior. The film even goes so far as to indicate that men destroyed society and the only real solution is to establish a matriarchy instead.

A story of survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Mad Max: Fury Road brilliantly brings the concept of feminist revolt to the screen. While Imperator Furiosa is more leather jackets and shaved heads than pink kitty hats and protest signs, the similarities between the determination of the characters in the film and the millions of women and men who have been marching in protest across the country is unmistakable. 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Parable of The Sower

Andrew Findlay Writes

Set in the very near future, Parable of the Sower shows a bleak view of the world. Massive destruction caused by climate change, extreme economic inequality, and rampant corporate greed have left the country in poverty and chaos. From this mess an empathetic young girl forms a new religion, heading north with her followers in an attempt to escape the horrors of the society around them. Also, just in case this isn't feeling prophetic enough, the sequel involves a politician who promises to Make America Great Again (no, seriously, that is his campaign slogan) inciting violence and riots from religious zealots who support him.

Lauren, the protagonist, is unquestionably the authority in the story. Unlike Katniss, who leads a revolution that has been planned by others, or Offred, who is only able to attempt to save herself, Lauren is the boss and everyone knows and respects it. Not only that, but she has an instinctive understanding of what will improve society and the drive and ambition to make it happen.

Did we miss any dystopian works of note? Let us know in the comments!

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