girls and engineering

What’s really incredible about Mad Max: Fury Road is that our titular, brooding White Male Lead in an Action Movie™ is given no opportunities to appear badass or heroic unless he’s working as a team or directly helping the women.

We see Max alone in the desert, all brooding and action-hero-y, clearly haunted by a tragic past… and he’s immediately captured, chained, humiliated and spends the next half hour tied up and useless while Furiosa is off getting shit done.

Then he gets free and he comes in waving a gun around and embarrassing himself. It’s not until Furiosa calms him down, wins him over, and he starts following her orders that he’s allowed to appear properly badass - in an action sequence that begins with him handing her a gun, and which progresses with the two of them working as the ultimate team while the girls help him as much as he defends them.

Then they’re in the Night Bog. Max fails to hit the Bullet Farmer and instead becomes a prop to steady Furiosa’s shot. Then he runs off on a solo mission and it doesn’t even merit screen time. Some dude lone wolfing it to kill a scary bad guy? Who cares. Let’s watch Nux running in front of the rig and the girls cooling down the engines instead.

Then comes the final chase. Max is undeniably awesome, but he is only allowed to be awesome because all of his efforts are dedicated to helping and protecting his weird new family. And the instant he hears Furiosa is hurt, all of his badass moments are pivoted around reaching her. He fights a hundred war boys, jumps over trucks, swings off poles, sets of explosions, beats someone with a flamethrower guitar, just so he can be there to catch Furiosa once she has killed the big bad Immortan Joe.

And, of course, his biggest heroic moment in the film isn’t even a cool action sequence or taking out a villain - it’s saving someone’s life. It’s being selfless and compassionate. It’s expressing love and humanity. It’s acting as a nurse and donating his blood. Max’s triumph is fixing something that’s broken.

Then, at the end, instead of being rewarded with a sexy girl and something else cool like most action heroes, Max gets nothing. He gives everything to Furiosa - his love, his loyalty, his fighting skills, his blood, his name - and he takes nothing in return, nor does he feel he is owed anything. He is content simply to help her, and thanks to this love and selflessness he was able to achieve some kind of redemption. 

In Fury Road, a man’s heroism is not determined by how strong or tough he is - it is defined by how willing he is to love, help, support and protect others, particularly women, while demanding nothing in return. 

An all-girls science club from San Fernando Senior High School near Los Angeles has designed a solar-powered tent meant to help homeless and displaced people around the world.

The tent — designed by a group of 12 high schoolers with the help of an organization called DIYgirls — uses solar power to charge electronic devices, provide light and sanitize itself via a system of antibacterial UV lights. And it folds into a backpack for easy travel.

The electronics cost about $40. The tent itself is made out of highly durable and water-resistant material. The idea for the tent came after some members of the team saw increased homelessness in their neighborhood.

“These girls saw a problem in their community,” Evelyn Gomez, an engineer and the executive director of DIYgirls, tells NPR’s Morning Edition. The group aims to get young girls from under-resourced areas interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math.

All-Girls Teen Engineering Team Creates A Solar-Powered Tent For Homeless People

Photo: Courtesy of DIYgirls

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Where do you get inspiration for those types of [emotional] moments?

“I’m kind of sadly obsessed with Fitz. I get so emotional thinking about him and thinking about FitzSimmons and their relationship. And I think I’m just so invested in it at this point that it honestly doesn’t take much.”

Mary Jackson

(1921–2005) Mathematician and engineer

Mary Jackson was a human computer at Langley Research Center, as part of the West Area Computers. She then became the first black woman engineer at NASA at its founding in 1958. After 34 years at NASA, she asked for a demotion in order to serve as a Federal Equal Opportunity Specialist with NASA. She was also a Girl Scout leader for more than thirty years. She retired in 1985.

Number 182 in an ongoing series celebrating remarkable women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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71/365 days of fitzsimmons