Quote from: SiL on Aug 09, 2022, 01:52:35 AM
QuoteAlien may have established itself by raping a man, but it's explicitly a monster related to female fears.It was written by two dudes about what they thought would be scary to happen to them. The rape aspect was taken from certain wasps and how they reproduce.
Ripley's sex is completely irrelevant in Alien and that's one of its enduring strengths.
Contemporary reports said the women in the audience had less trouble with the chest bursting than the guys did.
Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina, does that have no connection to women and their lives?
The gender of the authors has nothing to do with the overall impact of the art. If it's true, it's true. Stories sit at the intersection between thought and feeling, more so than any art form. Film conveys this through imagery. Alien is a hyper-sexualised phallic image that hits on fears deeply connected to what women actually experience - in other words, what Ripley as a woman will experience. Men can appreciate and enjoy these stories, and find elements of them scary, but it's different for women. Ripley, by nature of being a woman, and what is unique to women and their experience of life, has a relationship with this space rapist more than a man can. The creature is an externalisation of a horror within her soul as a woman.
Ripley's sex isn't just relevant to Alien, it's essential. And that is its enduring strength.
If you change her out for a man this is all lost from the movies. Motherhood issues are lost from Aliens. Rape and abortion don't hit the same in Alien 3.
QuoteWomen are rarely the victims in the movies and the audience is largely male.
The protagonist of the story is a woman. Her relationship with the villain is the one that matters.
The audience being male has to do with it being sci-fi.
QuotePrey absolutely lampoons Toxic masculinity - by confronting it with a woman that the super macho don't take seriously, because she's not a super macho man. It's perfectly thematically in line with the franchise.
The difference is it doesn't have a manly man beat the manly Predator and maintain the manly status quo at the end. It actually strips the whole thing bare and upends it completely by the end, and can only achieve this level of depth by going against the grain.
This is a misreading of the film. Predator isn't about maintaining the manly status quo. It's about the exact opposite of that.
At the start Dutch is arriving in the helicopter as a manly cigar-smoking caricature, dominating people in arm wrestles, insulting their masculinity for having desk jobs, and being referred to as "the best" (at killing people). The message is clear: this is the most macho tough guy around. The king of the hill who has ascended to the top through violence and strength.
But where does it get him?
The Predator is better at killing. Better armed. Stronger. And more macho than him in every way. All Dutch's men (who have a similarly cartoony masculinity to him) get slaughtered, and the creature beats him in every conceivable way. Beats him in cat n mouse. It even beats him in hand-to-hand combat.
How does Dutch win then? Through his manly status? No, through intelligence, presence of mind, and dumb luck.
The creature is the logical end point of everything Dutch is conveyed as at the start of the film - a hyper-macho tough guy whose dominance is derived from its killing ability. Hell, its entire sense of worth/identity seems to be derived from its ability to dominate men in combat.
The film is saying that if you behave this way... you are a monster. And therefore this kind of masculinity is monstrous and undesirable. Dutch is looking in the mirror, and it ain't pretty (what the hell are you... what the hell are you?).
McTiernan is shitting all over the kind of dumb, simple-minded masculinity that was rampant in the 80s, and that YouTube and Alt-right idiots praise Predator for showcasing. The joke is on them.
It's no coincidence that the final shot of Dutch is the exact opposite of the one he's introduced in. The visual storytelling couldn't be more clear. He's beaten, battered, destroyed. His identity/idea of a man has been shown for what it is (monstrous). It's not unrealistic to infer this man is no longer the kind of guy who'll continue to go around dominating his buddies in arm wrestles. He's clearly no longer the best... so what is he?
The film is rightly saying that men must think beyond masculine stereotypes and use their brains instead. Because as long as we don't, we will be monsters. This underlying relationship between the Predator and masculinity is one of the reasons the film resonates where the others don't.
Dutch's gender is completely relevant in Predator and that's one of its enduring strengths.
The sequels missed this. Harrigan beats up the Predator in a macho fight. Brody beats up the Predator in a macho fight. They missed the point completely. It's just a dick-measuring contest for men with fragile masculinity.
Prey doesn't hit on this either. There's no relationship between the Predator's masculinity and the masculinity of the hero. He's just another character who underestimates her and oppresses her. She outright tells this audience this. Which is fine, and works for the film. But again, something is lost.
QuoteYou're putting the cart before the horse, starting with the notion that the creatures are more effective at terrorising one sex or the other thematically and working backwards. Just because it works well thematically one way doesn't mean it can't work well thematically the other.
No, not at all. I'm starting with the themes inherent to the creatures and their initial impression and working from there. Predator is in a film that creates an impression of toxic masculinity and its antidote. Alien is in a film that creates an impression of female sexual fears brought to life.
I also never said it can't work the other way. It can. For the last time, Predators can fight women. Aliens can fight men. It works both ways... it just doesn't think it works as well for either when you do.
The fears/sins of the protagonist should be connected to the nature of the monster. Certainly when those elements are related to the character's sex and/or gender.