Women in Sci Fi movies

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lizzybob

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Hi.
I'm a media student and for one of my units i am concentrating on the representation of women in science fiction, fantasy movies especially Alien and The Matrix trilogy and i was wondering if you could help me with any views you have on that subject?
Your help would be very much appriciated. Thanks
Lizzybob
 

The Master™

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Firstly, welcome to the board... :D

Secondly, there has been an increase in the number of principal female characters in Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies... Though, you have to remember that film-makers are essentially men and writers are men and so there will always be a tendancy to write from a male perspective with male leading characters... Or there can be female lead characters who seem to have more testosterone than the men!!! (Ripley is a prime example...Though some would say that she is showing "girl power")

Principal female characters include: Ripley (Aliens/Alien3/Alien Resurrection), Janeway (ST:Voyager), The Charmed Ones (Charmed), Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), George/Milly (Dead Like Me), Tru (Tru Calling), Buffy (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Pezzini (Witchblade), Electra (Electra)... Can't remember any more, but there are one or two...

Maybe the market doesn't show that Female driven series/movies can be that successful - though Buffy and Voyager were VERY successful...

Women almost always are portrayed as either the love interest or the damsel in distress or the evil witch...

The market seems to be driven by young lads, young men, adolescents (male and female) who want to see strong male leads... As a role model or fantasy!!!
 

Amber

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As a sixteen year old female, I can definitly give this from personal experience lol. While as Master said it is true they are being more represented, there is still a woeful shortage of good heroines out there.

Most of the 'heroines' we're given tend to be scantily dressed young women, who rely on men to pull them out of difficulties. Witness Daredevil. The girl seemed perfectly handy with those skewers of hers until the lead turns up at which point she becomes wilting female. There are major exceptions- for example the woman in Terminator, and of course Ripley.

Even Trinity who though she's a great all purpose heroine, has to dress in tight black leather. I'm not saying heroines shouldn't have sexuality, but I am saying that shouldn't be their focus point.

But don't get me started on women in sci fi/ fantasy. I'd be here all night
 

ne)(us

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ripley is attractive in a strange way. Tis true though there aren't that many kickass women in sci fi. The women in blade runner are portrayed in a strange way. You have Pris who is teenage like but very kickass. Zhora is a stripper and she also nearly kills Deckard. In both instances the women are better fighters and deckard has to fire on unarmed opponants. Rachel is strange because at first she is angry towards Deckard and saves his life but then she takes a submissive role. I think this is to show she can be human even though she is a replicant but still once again sets a certain womans role. I suppose in most sci fi women are gonna be portrayed in a certain way because its mainly written by men which is a shame really.
 

Amber

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I wouldn't describe myself as a wilting flower lol.

But it makes me mad to see heroines acting like they are no more than eye candy. It degrades woman, is what I think. I make a point of being self reliant and yet feminine at the same time (well hopefully.) I'm not masculine- not tall, and yet I would expect to hold my own in a fight fairly well. Why can't women in films do the same?

In Van Helsing, we have someone who is consistently outwitted by her male friend, and a Dracula with three brides whose only purpose seems to be to entertain him. Hmmmm

Such good role models you know.
 

The Master™

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What about the woman in Blade 2??? From what little I saw, she seemed a feisty one...

And then there is the Vampire/Werewolf clash movie... With the female lead... She kicked bottom...
 

Amber

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They are the exception rather than the rule though. I would rather they were the rule, and that woman didn't have to rely on good cleavage to get big parts in movies
 

ne)(us

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Amber said:
They are the exception rather than the rule though. I would rather they were the rule, and that woman didn't have to rely on good cleavage to get big parts in movies
lol can you put cleavage on your CV as a qualifcation
 

The Master™

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Down with the cleavage???

I think that there are more of those particular roles appearing... But men like to feel protective - all that hunter/gatherer crap... And if there are more female writers/producers/directors then more movies like that will be made in all the genres... Not just Sci-Fi/Fantasy!!!

Films like Ellen Brockovic (sp?) show that a woman can be a successful person on so many levels (worker/mother)... And again, this movie is a rarity...
 

ne)(us

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The Master™ said:
Down with the cleavage???

I think that there are more of those particular roles appearing... But men like to feel protective - all that hunter/gatherer crap... And if there are more female writers/producers/directors then more movies like that will be made in all the genres... Not just Sci-Fi/Fantasy!!!

Films like Ellen Brockovic (sp?) show that a woman can be a successful person on so many levels (worker/mother)... And again, this movie is a rarity...
it would be cool to have a woman character like Ash from the evil dead.
 

The Master™

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One arm and the other is a chainsaw???

Or a complete screw-up who only wins by accident??? Nobody would ever believe a woman could be that stupid - Something to do with the double-X cromasone!!!
 

Foxbat

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I think you need to look much further back to see how things have changed. Take Flash Gordon (1936) and look at the role of Dale Arden within the serial: primarily tos cream, faint (and still look stunning) and be saved from Ming by a muscle rippling Flash.

Things have moved on but only as far as society allows - hence the more kickass role in newer movies but still containing that sexual element (tight leather etc.) Like everything else, woman's role in scifi/fantasy is only a reflection of womn's role in that society. As the female becomes more libiterated within society so shall her roles within movies. There you go, that's my tuppence worth:)
 

Vega

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Did you know that Ripley was originally going to be a man? Her sex changed in Alien, but her script did not.

Aliens has been praised by feminists for its strong female characters.
 

Drachir

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Three heroines that have not been mentioned and who definitely don't need any rescuing are Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in Tomb Raider, Sydney Fox (Tia Carrere) in Relic Hunter, and Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in Underworld. These three women have remarkable screen prescence and are definitely not females in distress.

Although the female in distress is still a popular film and television motif, more and more women are being depicted as strong and independent, even dominant characters. As for the sexual aspects how many of us would prefer any protagonist, male or female to be homely and overweight? :)
 

Vega

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Japanimation has always been filled with strong female protagonists, however I suppose any positive aspects of that become overshadowed by the amount of hentai material available.
 

The Master™

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Drachir said:
Three heroines that have not been mentioned and who definitely don't need any rescuing are Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in Tomb Raider, Sydney Fox (Tia Carrere) in Relic Hunter, and Selene (Kate Beckinsale) in Underworld.
Forgot to mention Lara Croft, but she was in my head... Relic Hunter isn't strictly Sci-Fi/Fantasy is it??? And I did mention the last one - though I couldn't remember the name of the character, actress or film - but called it the "Vampire/Werewolf clash movie"... :D

There is another series in the 1990's... I think it was called VR5 with another character called Sydney... Seemed to spend a lot of time in Virtual Reality!!! Crap series... Glad it got cancelled...
 

Princess Ivy

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i am very sorry, but angelina jolie's representation of lara croft in tomb raider was a joke. as for earlier 'role'models, red sonja, xena, bah! they have to be almost men to get some recognition. and lets not discuss the underlying hints of lesbienism that have to be present. This is the reson that ms maccafrey wrote restoree, to try to get some blanace to the genre. i don't know if you're concentrating on film and television only, but this book is an anti sexism book.
i'd also like to nominate the captain from pitch black, as a strong women in film. she manages to hold her own and retain an integral dignity without having to have a big strong man to back her up.
 

The Master™

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But doesn't the captain in Pitch Black die fairly early???

If you are talking books - Grass by Sheri S Tepper... There is a stong leading character who is a woman... An intelligent successful woman and mother...

Oh, and for a male oriented audience, you need to have a hint of lesbian interaction otherwise they'd switch over... :D
 

Vega

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Blatant sexuality in female heroes can be seen as taking away from their roles. But lets be honest, the action men and male leads almost ALWAYS get their shirts off at some point. "Women want them, men want to be them"

What's wrong with ladies doing the same?
 
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