I am interested in thinking about how women have been represented in recent Hollywood/American science-based fiction cinema and whether we have really moved beyond relying on stereotypes, sex, and spectacle. Female scientists are increasing in frequency in Hollywood, but they are not being given adequate representation – they are often secondary to their male partners.
Check out all of the posts from our Ladies of the 1980s Week here.
It is science fiction fact however, that Ellen Ripley should not have been “Ellen Ripley” at all. Dan O’Bannon’s original script for ‘Alien’ stated: “The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men and women.” … In ‘Aliens,’ both Ripley and the alien are further solidified as female. …We come to an implied understanding that is wholly complicit in their both being mothers, adding a subliminal layer that would not have been present had either Ripley or the alien been male.
But where Victor utilizes the Monster to reject society’s expectations of him (including a traditional, heterosexual union with his adopted sister, Elizabeth), ‘High Tension’s Marie creates le tueur because her desires do not fit within the normative world of the film.
Whedon and director Jeunet thus systematically demolish Ridley Scott’s original metaphor by consistently representing Ripley’s experience of forced maternity as akin to both chosen motherhood and loss of self, and essentially different from the forced impregnation and reproductive coercion of the male characters.
The idea of “coulda, shoulda, woulda, didn’t” in regard to the source of most body horror films is very reminiscent of the way we as a society deal with victims/survivors of rape. Why is it that people immediately feel bad for MacReady and the boys when they’re attacked by The Thing without ever telling them they were “asking for it” by playing with a stray animal, but at the same time we’re still seeing news reporters and politicians try and discredit rape victims and assume it was the victim’s fault? Body horror is very closely related to rape culture because it puts a mask on the violence of rape by putting it in the context of an “other worldly invasion” and makes it permissible to revel in the other person’s destruction.
If only she could scream louder! It might defeat Ro-Man In the 1953 B-movie, Robot Monster, protagonists Alice (Claudia Barret) and Roy (George Nader) attempt to engage in post-apocalyptic frolicking and fornicating. This is all while being pursued by a gorilla-suited socialism-spewing space man (John Brown). This space man, or as he calls himself, Ro-Man, […]
Women in Science Fiction Week: Ellen Ripley, a Feminist Film Icon, Battles Horrifying Aliens … and Patriarchy
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Aliens This post written by staff writer Megan Kearns originally appeared at Bitch Flicks on October 28, 2011. When I was 10 years old, the scariest movie I ever saw was Aliens. I remember the first time I saw it like it was yesterday. Late one night, plagued […]
Guest post written by Rhea Daniel. Cross-posted from her blog Short Stories with permission. Warning: Some images NSFW and links below lead to some NSFW images. Long after I had seen and re-seen the Alien movie series, I was shocked to learn that they possess intense anti-feminist themes, articulated in the brilliant essay by Michael […]
Noomi Rapace as Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus Guest post written by Rachel Redfern originally published at Not Another Wave. Cross-posted with permission. The prequel and spinoff for the classic film Alien has as much feminist food as its precursor did, albeit slightly less groundbreaking, though we can’t fault it for that: Alien did give […]
Stephanie‘s Picks: Christina Hendricks Talks Joan, Feminism, and Bitches in The Hollywood Reporter by Kelsey Wallace for Bitch Magazine Is There a Male Equivalent to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl? by Elisabeth Rappe for Film Emma Cowing: The Brave New World of Movie Feminism for Scotsman ‘Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding’: Finally, a Film Gets New […]
Sleepaway Camp by Carrie Nelson The shock of Sleepaway Camp’s ending relies on the cissexist assumption that one’s biological sex and gender presentation must always match. A person with a mismatched sex and gender presentation is someone to be distrusted and feared. Though the audience has identified with Peter throughout the movie, we are meant […]