What's the deal with Mad Max?

(This post is not about the Mad Max movies. It is about Stranger Things. It contains a couple of minor SPOILERS so back off if you hate knowing anything about a show.)

A post shared by Sadie Sink (@sadiesink_) on

I FINALLY finished watching Stranger Things 2. (This is what happens when a show comes out in the middle of your partner's two-month TV fast and you are trying to be supportive instead of just watching everything on your own.)

Because I came to this one a bit late, there were already a plethora of articles out there analyzing the series. I didn't read them (spoilers!) but saw a lot of blurbs out there about Nancy and how she kicks so much butt and is a feminist hero because she can use a shot gun and "has sex with whoever she wants", a statement that might be more meaningful if it didn't happen once with one guy who she's clearly been into for ages, but whatever.

So YAY! SO MUCH FEMALE EMPOWERMENT!

Except... can we talk about Max for a minute?

Max, aka Maxine, aka Mad Max, is the new character who takes Eleven's place (temporarily) as the girl in the group. Max is awesome. I love Max. Here's my issue with Max:

1) She is the "cool girl."

It feels distinctly like they couldn't let a girl into the group unless she had crazy superpowers like Eleven, or is super "cool". She skateboards and plays video games better than the boys, gives her brother the finger, and isn't feminine in any classic sense except that she's really pretty under those boxy t-shirts. I wouldn't be surprised if season 3 featured a scene where she eats a ton of steak and makes fun of girls who eat salads.

She is definitely more of a tomboy than a classic "cool girl", but I seriously wonder if these boys could be friends with or respect a person who has any classically feminine traits. How fast would they have turned their backs on her if she had applied lip gloss even once?

2) MORE IMPORTANTLY: Why does everyone have to be so mean to her???

She cannot catch a break. First Mike is a total jerk to her, for understandable but overblown reasons. Then Mike convinces all of them to exclude her, but still keep her hanging on at the periphery. Then Dustin turns from being super doting to a mansplainy jerk as soon as it's obvious she's not interested in him romantically.

Then, due only to the fact that they must band together and fight a bunch of demigorgen dogs (they call them demidogs, but that's wrong, they are doggygorgens), she seems more-or-less integrated into the group, until Eleven shows up and won't give her the time of day because girls can't be friends and obviously she has to be jealous of her and re-assert her status as "the girl" in the group.

Will seems nice, but maybe that's because his mom keeps drugging him to keep the monster living inside him quiet.


Maybe I'm reading into things. After all, the show creators clearly value her character SO MUCH that her billing on the IMDB page is below the two random cops who are in a couple of episodes and I could find ONE gif on the show's official Giphy channel that includes her: the scene where she dances with Lucas.


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