Feminism in Aliens

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Timothy Vita
Lisa Cecere
CINE 120
1 December 2010
Feminism in Aliens
Having carried their gender as a burden for years, woman have now grown to have a massive and essential influence in worldwide cinema. Feminist film theory challenges audiences to understand the source of gender inequality. Predominantly a masculine industry, early film have been said to contain the "male gaze," where the audience is placed in the shoes of a heterosexual male and woman are a merely objects to be viewed or damsels to be saved. The science fiction and horror genres are no stranger to this technique often putting women in a helpless situation against monstrous forces until the big hero comes. Aliens, written and directed by Oscar winning James Cameron, turns this gaze around presenting its strong female heroine, Ripley. In Lynda Bundtzen's article, "Monstrous Mothers," she states the film as being "a profoundly disturbing allegory about contemporary feminism... woman's culture vs. her culture making aspirations," (Bundtzen 11) Aliens expresses its major analysis of both genders, but emphasizes female empowerment making it a driving force for feminism in film.

It is undeniable that one of the many themes presented in Aliens is that the female gender is far from inferior. In writing the dialogue, Cameron expresses the behavior of a male brute, yet showing their inevitable downfall. During Act I of Cameron's script, our protagonist, Ripley, is wrongfully thought to be hysterically crazy when warning a room full of men about the dangers of the alien species. The male soldiers share this same flaw undermining the female and expressing their dominance. During the drop of the LV-426 ship, Hudson boasts, "I'm ready, man, check it out. I am the ultimate badass! State of the badass art! You do not wanna fuck with me. Check it out! Hey Ripley, don't worry. Me and my squad of ultimate badasses will protect you! Check it out! Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. Vwap!...
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