Sexual Social Norms In Alien And Under The Skin

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Women in modern day society are expected to follow a certain criteria. The most common representation of women is that they are passive and tend to avoid conflicts in any situation. However, the tides are changing, women in society are progressively breaking down the social barriers in which they have been confined to their specific roles. This essay aims to analyse the films Alien and Under the Skin to show the other side to females which could be deemed nontraditional, as these two films shed light on how women are rebelling against the sexual social norms and their shift from playing passive roles to more active and aggressive roles. Furthermore, the essay will examine how the characters are depicted and how they differ from one another…show more content…
In Alien, he deals with the issue of gender in one of the most transparent ways which is by having a strong lead female character. Ellen Ripley, the protagonist of the film, still in modern day cinema stands out as a top action hero as her character refrains from falling under the cliched portrayal of women in horror film. Quite often most Hollywood films align female actress with secondary, weak and passive characters, who are often killed by the antagonist or rescued by the typical strong masculine lead. There are several tropes about female characters within Classical Hollywood horror film but the two recurring common tropes within the specified genre are ; they die as punishment and are often killed by the male antagonist or marriage to the masculine male protagonist as salvation.However, in Alien the roles have been reversed the character who makes active, wise choices and decisions and survives the attack of the monster is a female, whereas, the male characters are the ones who are passive, first to die and subordinates who await for orders from Ripley. The Captain in the film who is the “leader” fails to protect his crew and due to his unwise decision is killed, however, it is…show more content…
Laura Mulvey asserts that scopophilia is a primary instinct according to freud, which in essence is sexual. She appropriates the idea of psychoanalysis as a political weapon in order to reveal the patriarchal unconscious which structures the form of a film and how we view it. (Mulvey, 1975) Mulvey (1975) describes scopophilia as a desire to look at something or someone as a sexual object. The male gaze and voyeurism play an integral element in this notion. Voyeurism is defined as “deriving sexual gratification from observing others in secret. Often the object of voyeurism is undressed or engaged in some kind of sexual activity. The key factor in voyeurism is that the voyeur does not interact personally with the person being observed.” (Johnson, 2013) Whereas, the male gaze is described by Mulvey (1975) as an instrument of male spectatorship, it is where the camera puts the audience into the shoes of a heterosexual male where women on the screen reflect male sexual fantasies. She even stated that the camera is coded as

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