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100 Sci Fi women #5: Ellen Ripley

Before I get to our featured woman for the day, I just wanted to draw attention to an Entertainment Weekly list: Shrieking Violets: 25 Butt Kicking Babes. While I applaud EW for its focus on women, I think the title of the story gives away the fact that this isn’t as girl-power a list as it might be. I mean, in the four areas covered for each character, one of them is “male admirers”. And “shrieking” and “babes”. Good to see the gender stereotypes being upheld, and women being defined by their admiration from men… A better list can be found at Woman.ca with their Top 10 Superheroines.

Ellen Ripley

Alien-ripley-gun-smallI love Ripley the most in Aliens, which is (arguably of course) the best of the Alien films. And I am kind of not counting Resurrection here, though I guess Ripley is still essentially Ripley.  However, in Ripley we see another tough woman who is willing to mow down aliens with the best of them, but she is not a woman without fear and vulnerability. She is wary but not unwilling to overcome this, as with her relationship with Bishop the android in Aliens. While much is said about her mother-instincts (and the one part of the extended version of Aliens I hate is the extended life story she tells Newt), I don’t think it is about being a mother as much as it is about being a human with empathy for others. Ripley isn’t willing to let other dies for herself if she can help it, but is willing to sacrifice herself to save others, and to save herself the horror she knows is coming. And let’s face it, the fight with the alien queen while in the cargo loader suits is one of the all-time great science fiction fights.

Get away from her, you bitch!

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3 responses to “100 Sci Fi women #5: Ellen Ripley

  1. Cyn

    I agree.
    Ripley was my first true heroine.
    She was all that you say, truly noble.

  2. In space, nobody can hear you shriek! I was too scared to watch to the end of Alien without fast-forwarding so I never got around to Aliens. I just can’t stand stalking scenes, I think I’m going to have a heart attack just thinking about that movie. The idea of women sacrificing themselves for others is interesting because on the one hand, women are portrayed in media as passive and in need of protection yet in the big bad world out there, women often sacrifice themselves for others, being the main caregiver of children demands a high level of self sacrifice but there is also a willingness for self sacrifice that goes along with low self esteem.

  3. Tea Drinker ⋅

    Love Ripley!

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