Home Categories Movies 3D Printing of Furiosa’s Arm Shows the Impact of Representing Disabilities Through Strength
3D Printing of Furiosa’s Arm Shows the Impact of Representing Disabilities Through Strength
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3D Printing of Furiosa’s Arm Shows the Impact of Representing Disabilities Through Strength

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*Light Spoilers Ahead*

I read a very powerful blog post from L. J. Vaughn, about her reaction to Mad Max Fury Road’s Furiosa character. Laura is a fetal amputee and has been missing her left arm since birth. She discusses why and how this movie represented and showed the strength of someone with a disability without ever mentioning or looking deeper into the disability itself. To me the most important take away from this article was her seriousness in saying ‘NO. ONE. EVER. FEELS. SORRY. FOR. HER. BECAUSE. OF. HER. DISABILITY.’

Furiosa amputee arm
Here is Laura cosplaying Furiosa just a few weeks after seeing the movie. Killer.

That stuck with me. It’s still stuck. I am not disabled and have never gone any length of time in a cast or crutches until recently with a broken collar bone. I will never view Mad Max: Fury Road in the way that Laura did, but I can listen to what made it so powerful for her and hope to learn from that. We talk a lot about race equality, gender equality, sexual equality but I don’t often hear about representation for those with disabilities. Really think about it, through all the war, apocalyptic, killing movies you don’t see anyone with a disability triumph and live and succeed in their on screen lives. Is it due to fear of this subject? Is it because people can’t find it ‘believable’ that someone with a disability can be as bad ass as anyone else? I don’t have those answers but I will say at one point Furiosa beats Max with her nub when the prosthetic is off and never once in my head was I thinking ‘oh that doesn’t look like it hurts so much because she doesn’t have an arm’ or ‘oh she’d never be able to do that without an arm’; I was really thinking ‘fucking YEA nothing can stop this BAMF’, and I’m fairly certain I started hitting my fiance in the chair next to me from all of the excitement.

After going viral, and of course crushing the cosplay of Furiosa in basically no time at all, Laura was connected with a prop designer who had been looking to build a prosthetic for a real amputee. Msleeper blogged about this experience. While initially the plan had been to design the T-800 Endo Arm from T2, after being connected with Laura it became obvious that the path had already lead them to making Furiosa’s arm instead. In 2 weeks, yea that is 14 days, the prosthetic has been built using a 3D printer, and here it is (though this is before paint).

furiosa prosthetic

The whole arm has been painted and finished now, it has all the gears/springs/wrenches it needs to be as close to the original as possible. This is pretty fucking cool, and I definitely wouldn’t question anyone wearing it. I’m glad that Laura’s blog went viral, I’m glad the conversation is being had about representation for those with disabilities, and that as a whole people aren’t looking for sympathy. Furiosa never once was, and I never expected her to so why is there an expectation for sympathy in the real world? Sensitivity to a subject and feeling sympathy about a situation are very different things, hopefully this will bring to light the need have more realistic representation in films, and that people won’t shy away from it because it’s considered a less ‘glamorous’ issue.

Here are some pics of the final work:

arm_complete

laura_furiosa_cosplay

laura_furiosa_cosplay_2

laura_furiosa_cosplay_3

Maddie Ferguson Growing up right outside of Princeton NJ, she spent much of her time with pals in make believe comic book worlds or out in her backyard looking for Totoro. Her greatest goal as a child was to grow up and become blue, thanks to night crawler, mystique and Dr Manhattan (just a few of her favorite blues!). While she has a love for any solid Disney/Pixar children's film, gotta love those feels!, she is an openly admitted horror addict. We know she has a problem but heck if she'll ever change! She enjoys filling her movie time looking for the next great scare, with amazingly hard to watch gore, and of course setting aside time for the occasional zombie + sushi movie nights with just about any face chewing zombie flick. Pandemic? Apocalypse? Zombeavers? She's got more than a few weapons in her liquor cabinet so bring it on!
  • I read her blog before finishing yours. And the first thing that struck me about the whole thing, is I never even gave Furiosa’s missing limb a second thought while watching the movie. Seriously, this realization just blew my mind as I was reading your article. I was already impressed by what an unlikely Hollywood did with Fury Road: They gave the world its first REAL female protagonist. We weren’t dealing with a “damsel in distress”, or an “overcompensating for her gender murderfreak”. We got a tough, embattled, compassionate, able woman. Her gender was only ever a topic of discussion because of the pissy-pants MRAs that came out of the woodwork after the film was released. I myself was cheering throughout, because I was so happy to see a real female hero on screen. But I’ll be damned if I ever gave her impediment a second thought. Laura’s blog was incredible, and so was yours, and thank you for blowing my mind tonight. 🙂 P.S. That prosthetic is better than my real arms. Jealous as fuck.

    • I think it’s a little unfair to say world’s first REAL female protagonist… I mean off the top of my head there’s Ripley, Clarice, and Beatrix just to name 3… everything else I totally agree with.

      • Doug L.

        Lets not forget Sarah Connor…

        • Yeah…read above. Brain fart must have caused critical damage on my part, lol.

      • Okay, yeah. Not gonna lie, for some reason, my brain just let me forget that those movies existed. I agree with every character you just mentioned. I’d like to re-state my comment as this: this is the first time I’ve seen a female lead in an action movie where one of my first thoughts wasn’t, “dude, this chick kicks ass!” I suppose it took me reaching 30 years of age to become indifferent to gender. I just know that truth has never been more pronounced than when I watched Fury Road.

    • Doug L.

      Agreed she kicked ass , regardless of the artificial limb.