With rumors swirling about a potential Alien prequel TV series, expect the original franchise to remain in the limelight for the perceivable future. While 1979’s Alien has volumes of analysis, James Cameron’s Aliens is only recently catching up in terms of serious study given to it. Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) has always been considered a paradigm of female empowerment in cinema, and with feminism rising in prominence, retrospectives of Aliens are timely.
We’ve featured the video essays of Rob Ager before. The YouTuber recently composed an amazing examination of Aliens through a feminist lens. Not surprisingly, the film still holds weight as a progressive and poignant study of gender dynamics. Give 10 reasons Jim Cameron’s ALIENS is the best feminism movie ever made a spin below and let us know what you think in the Comments section.
If you can’t stream, the 10 points Ager discusses are listed and briefly summarized below the video. Enjoy!
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1. Ripley leads men by being a positive example; while others find it difficult to comprehend the reality of their situation, Ripley offers concrete options for survival; she never loses her “can do” attitude.
2. Ripley accomplishes her objectives with believable attributes; though utilizing weapons and technology when essential, she doesn’t have any unrealistic abilities or super-powers; Ripley comes up with innovative solutions that aren’t immediately obvious to viewers and characters in the film.
3. Ripley is aware of masculinity and acknowledges its importance; she mocks Hudson’s lack of masculinity while adopting useful traits she observes in Hicks and others.
4. Though human in her expression of emotions, Ripley never plays the victim; she also never blames her mistreatment on her gender; in fact, none of the female characters allow themselves to be victimized; sexual harassment, groping, and condensation are completely absent from Aliens.
5. Ripley looks natural; though not unattractive, her femininity is never emphasized, highlighted, or exaggerated. She’s never given credit for being exceptionally alluring, intelligent, or strong yet proves these attributes can exist below the surface, no matter what a person’s gender.
6. Ripley dresses practically and there is no costuming to emphasize her femininity.
7. Ripley is tough as nails but also embraces motherhood; in fact, it’s one of her most primitive instincts, but this fact never detracts from her position of leadership or diminishes the perceptions of her strength. Good parenting abilities should be something both genders aspire to.
8. Ripley doesn’t hate men. She relies on her entire squad and, while it’s rightfully understated, she clearly develops tender feelings for Hicks.
9. While never afraid to call people out for bullshit, Ripley never lectures her squad or presents herself as morally superior (her confrontation with Burke being the sole, appropriate exception). In other words, she walks the walk. It’s also worth noting that she never expects (or really receives) praise for her accomplishments.
10. Ripley is opposed to corruption and danger, not men or masculinity.