Gender Roles In Aliens

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James Cameron’s 1986 film Aliens can be considered a tweener being made up of many genres including a maternal melodrama, woman’s film, war film, body genre, horror, and a science fiction film. Aliens manages to successfully change the classic horror and sci-fi movie to create a story that explores the place of women in these genres and challenges the roles they normally play. This is done by structuring a horror film to play upon the male fears of female reproduction and sexuality as core themes in the film so as to unnerve its dominant men. As a result, a woman’s film is created by placing its female character as the leading role. Aliens takes its central character Ripley, and places her into a position as the gender monster. Ripley is neither totally feminine nor is she totally masculine resulting in a motherly figure that is a true warrior. Even from her first appearance she is in command and a force to be reckoned with. In Aliens the roles of gender are clearly reversed, as Ripley is the strong female character who makes active judgements and survives what is trying to kill her. The male characters are largely submissive, most die quickly, others wait for her command. Ripley stands out as being a well-developed female hero who avoids the standard portrayal of women in horror films as passive, secondary characters, creating a woman that is in charge and motherly at the same time, thus producing a woman’s film.
From the start Ripley can be seen as the central character,
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