Masculinity In The Alien Movies

The Alien movies have enjoyed immense success, no doubt due to the clearly feminist Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). However, the portrayal of masculinity in the Alien movies is a subject less discussed. This includes the manner in which masculinity and general masculine behavior interacts with the Aliens, and more precisely fails to overcome them.

Masculinity in Alien

The masculinity in the first Alien movie is in the form of the male crew members, with their industrial and scientific masculine leanings. All of them attempt various methods of dealing with the alien, from trying to analyze and understand it to trying to kill it with a flamethrower. However, all of these methods fail against the alien whereas Ellen Ripley succeeds.

Masculinity in Aliens

Masculinity in the second movie of the series takes the form of the marines, who intend to defeat the alien using militaristic tactics. The Aliens in this movie take on an even more obvious feminine property, with the head of the Aliens essentially being a Queen. The idea here is that Ripley has a commonality with the Aliens because she is female as well as in a mothering roll with the little girl ‘Newt’. As a result, she is able to effectively combat the Aliens because she is able to understand the manner in which the Alien queen operates, both being in the role of maternal figures. In other words, the Alien queen and Ripley are both alike in that they are willing to kill each other’s families to protect their own. This basically culminates in a show down between Ripley and the alien queen, with the queen trying to protect herself and by proxy her family and Ripley trying to protect Newt.

Masculinity in Alien 3

In Alien 3, the masculine figures are the convicts stuck within the penal colony. This can be seen in a number of ways, as the alien basically goes about killing one after the other. Interestingly, at the end of the film Ripley sacrifices herself in order to destroy the alien. This is a strange twist, as Ripley basically kills all the feminine entities in the colony in order for it to be rid of this ‘feminine’ threat.

Masculinity in Alien Resurrection

The fourth film in the series has a mixture of masculine figures, such as scientists and the crew of a fairly rough ship, that all follow the formulas established in previous films. What makes Alien Resurrection particularly interesting is that the Hybrid alien is clearly a masculine entity, which destroys the alien queen that birthed it. What makes this particularly interesting is the manner in which Ripley, while somewhat attached to the hybrid as its partial mother, inevitably kills it. Thus, even a masculine alien fails against the feminine Ellen Ripley.

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