Megan Kate Nelson, historian and maestro of the Historista blog, has a fun new article about prosthetics, disability, and women. She focuses on the recent number of films – Grindhouse, The Lone Ranger, and this year’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Mad Max: Fury Road – that have featured strong female characters with prosthetic limbs. Of these four films, Kingsman and Fury Road include female characters – Gazelle and Furiosa, respectively – that are the least sexualized. Furiosa, who has a prosthetic arm, and Gazelle, who has prosthetic legs equipped with sword blades, are the equals of their films’ male characters. Moreover, the women’s injuries are not shown; their disabilities are frankly not disabilities, but rather challenges that they have incorporated into their lives and surpassed. Arguably, Kingsman and Fury Road are two of the most feminist action films in recent years, but Nelson is correct that all four of these movies represent a step forward in cinematic portrayals of handicapped women.
Nelson also touches briefly on the post-Civil War industry of prosthetics, which tried to help injured veterans adjust to civilian life again. In reality, weapons were not built into the false limbs.
The original post unfortunately lacks a “Reblog” option, so the full piece can be read here: