Mothers, Sexuality, and Capitalism in Alien
As kind of a â€œsci-fi junkieâ€?, I think I am safe to say that Alien was a ground breaking film. By having a female protagonist, who is the sole survivor of an alien attack, Ridley Scottâ€™s film was able to bust through the male â€“ dominant norms of the time. Ridley Scottâ€™s introduction to Ripley presents a working woman who is struggling to assert authority in an implicitly male regimen and environment. However, by the end of the film, she proves herself smarter, more logical, and more determined to survive than her pathetic crewmates.
I believe that Ripley is representative of an â€˜In-Charge Motherâ€™ we discussed in lecture. When Dallas is out of the ship or dead, she is actually the one in charge of the crew. Ripley is also very knowledgeable of the spaceshipâ€™s very confusing interior, computer programming system, and crew members.
Ripley gives advice, and whether the crew members follow that advice is up to them, but if they donâ€™t they end up dead. While Ripley is very dedicated to getting the crew out alive, after being set up TWICE for an inevitable death by â€œMotherâ€? (who I think is another â€˜Archaic Motherâ€™ in the film); she is also very concerned with getting herself out alive. Ripley practically detaches herself from the situation and is therefore able to keep a controlled demeanor about her, which I believe attributed to her sole survival.
It has been theorized that the character of Lambert, is supposed to represent how the audience should be feeling during the film: completely emotional, almost helpless, and terrified. However, after Lambert dies, the audience is able to breathe easy again when they see Ripley in her undergarments. And according to Barbara Creed, â€œcompared to the horrific sight of the alienâ€¦Ripleyâ€™s body is pleasurable and reassuring to look atâ€? (pg. 23). I thought that it was interesting that the only time when Ripley was directly threatened by the alien was when she was being sexualized.
I think that Ridley Scott was taking a stab at capitalism with the film Alien. In the film, the government is willing to kill six people and one android in the name of â€œscienceâ€? (actually warfare). The government is able to do this, by creating a spaceship (â€œMotherâ€?) that the crew depends on and trusts. Itâ€™s sickening that the government is willing to not only kill people for a weapon, but also to do it under a faÃ§ade that is usually so loving and caring.