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The Power of the Enlightened Individual: Perpetuations of Capitalist Logic in Alien

Barbara Creed's piece, The Monstrous-Feminine is a problematic text, as it narrows the scope of analysis by priviledging sexual difference and gender roles to the point of exclusion. By understanding Ripley only in relation to her gendered depiction and reception, and the gendered entities of the archaic mother, she fails to locate Ripley's position in regards to the rest of her crew, most of whom she is superior to, and to the larger societal scope, in which she stands as a white, powerful, seemingly educated and high-ranking female.

The film Alien, far from being some kind of “assault� or “critique� of capitalism, enhances a theoretical basis for individualistic responses and the power of an individual to solve the crisis capitalism presents. In the film, the protagonist who significantly is white, seemingly highly educated and towards the head of the hierarchy in terms of divisions of labor is positioned to "take on capitalist greed" (and if we understand the Company as standing in for capitalist greed in other situations- the scope becomes larger) There are very specific divisions of labor between the captain, the science and technical help, and those who perform the labor on board. All levels are recognized and compensated differently.


As collective responses continuously fail, it is shown that only through the enlightened individual does the true challenge to the workings of capitalism/tyranny/oppression occur. This resembles greatly, liberal critiques of capitalism which understand the elite's/college educated as the major forces of change and progression in history and sees the working class and collective movements as extraneous, though noble, much as the film Alien presents similar depictions of collective action.

The entire narrative plot revolves around the need for individuals to think only in terms of their best interest. From wages, to making sure that crew mates who are exposed be left behind, to the logic of not stopping for SOS signals (which of course are later shown to be a warning) seemingly nothing in this film can be solved by a group effort, everything should be considered in terms of self preservation and the capitalist logic of individualism.