Aliens is a science fiction, action film by dir. Cameron, starring Sigourney Weaver also known as Ellen Ripley – the female protagonist. The movie “Aliens” released in 1986, is recognized for challenging gender roles, notably including genre of action and phantasy (Yunis, Susan). While Ripley kept a balance between masculinity and femininity, her actions break stereotypical gender roles in the film. Despite the masculine impact on Ripley, Aliens depicts her as a feminine protagonist as her main concern is motherhood. Motherhood becomes the central genre of the book as it shows Ripley’s adventure and fight, as she takes on a new journey of becoming the caretaker of an orphan child. Thus, motherhood also becomes the central theme and focus of this essay. The themes of destruction and motherhood throughout Aliens are prominent and quite opposite with Ripley on one hand, shown as the positive mother while on the other is depicted as a fierce role. Aliens portrays Ripley as a heroic icon who suddenly changes her character role because of “overstressed” femininity as she fights her rival (Ellen,” Xenopedia) – the alien queen. Simultaneously, Ripley conveys a sense of nurturing emotions towards her surrogate child – Newt in the film. Cameron portrays Ripley as a mother to show how female roles in movies can break stereotypes and highlight themselves with mixed roles, proving the hidden violence as well as caring personality that Ripley has to offer. Gender distinctions are exposed when two contrasting characteristics of motherhood are highlighted; fierce and nurturing, which are then resolved at the end of the film.
Ripley embraces herself as a powerful and fierce mother in this film. Not only does she break gender stereotypes but undertakes new challenges and faces male-dominant structures. She is locked in a battle, fighting against powerful figures and holds onto her role as a fierce mother. “Cameron depicts Ripley as a dominant mother to put forth a strong statement of support in favor of female versus male inequality that is so common in the present mainstream culture” (Bundtzen, Lynda K). Cameron does this by demonstrating the main fight between the alien queen and Ripley showing mutual aspects such as; the nurturing role they have each developed for their own species. Ripley and the alien queen fight to protect their own children and show the role of fearless mothers in the movie. Ripley’s physical appearance portrays and evaluates an image of her powerful trait as a mother.
Ripley allows herself to establish her character and becomes the surrogate and caretaker of an orphan child. She balances her role as a mother as she takes care of secondary characters whilst her battle with aliens. Aliens portrays a contradiction in ideas as Ripley takes on the new venture of a surrogate mother. Ripley is displayed as caring, supporting and defensive towards the orphaned Newt whilst the alien queen symbolizes destructive nature. This relates back to the climax of the film, as Ripley’s role shifts towards motherhood and protecting her child from any circumstances. Ripley intuitively deals with Newt, performing all mother like chores such as; putting her to sleep, consoling her, and securing her in a safety belt to throw light upon the supporting parts of any female hero in films (Murphy, Kathleen). In Aliens, we discover that Ripley returns home to a little girl who has died at the time Ripley was in her time of hyper rest. At the point when Ripley finds this news, and is upset, she is sitting in a passage with a fake projection of the woods, which shows exactly how far off from Earth she is. But Ripley, keeps up with nature as a supportive mother for Newt later in the film. This is done to show how Ripley, portrayed as a strong character, still has emotions and feelings towards secondary characters, which proves to any audience type that female roles aren’t of any stereotypes and can have more than one role.
Aliens resolves these two contradictions as Ripley hails the battle and flies off with the child, leaving no harmful elements of her heroic nature behind. This is shown in the film’s climax, when Ripley fights the alien queen. At last, Ripley emerges victorious: she saves Newt, fights the Queen, murdering every one of the alien queen’s eggs and destroying the entire planet. This scene sums up the two powerful characteristics of Ripley. Aliens finishes of by emphasizing the fact that Ripley overcomes the stereotypical elements of a female protagonist rather than succumbing to them. She adapts to two features of motherhood (fierce and nurture) and diminishes any outside irrelevance.
In general, Ripley’s character breaks the gender barriers and stereotypes of feminist elements in plays. She is not just depicted as the ordinary caring mother but fights against “masculine monsters” to protect her child. With Newt, Ripley’s parental instincts develop and turs out to be more powerful which results in Ripley successful rise, in her battle against the Queen. Aliens portrays Ripley as a protagonist adapting to two roles as a mother. These two aspects as shown within the oppositions identified in the film. The contradictions are then resolved during the final scenes of the play as she wins the battle and flies away with the child, leaving everything behind. Aliens suggests mise-en-scene emphasis on technical factors with the presentation of obvious equipment (Alien Anthology). This gives the characters in the film a touch of masculinity to have a tough fight against the monstrous aliens. Ripley is highlighted as a victorious protagonist through various scenes in the film, to allow judgment and open-mindedness of a female role. She has executed her characteristics quite well to show the audience that women, too can have powerful and dominant roles.