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Sexual Politics in Three Science Fiction Films

Science fiction is not a matter of creating a future out of whole cloth. Rather, it is a method of projecting current interests and trends into the future to see what they would mean in a changed environment. Most science fiction thus speaks directly to the time in which it is written by using the device of the future or of some technological change as a means of exploring issues of interest in the here and now, which may also be interests that are considered universal and timeless. It is also possible to analyze science fiction, as any other genre, in terms of a specific issue to see how its creators may have addressed these issues and how they may reflect the time in which they live, however inadvertently. It is not clear that most writers of science fiction have an understanding of and ideas about the issue of sexual politics, for instance, but it is evident that these creators are as subject to the effects of sexual politics in their society as anyone else and that they will therefore reflect certain ideas and attitudes in the works they produce even if they have not intended to address those specific issues. Consider the attitudes reflected by the characters in three science fiction films--Star Wars (1977), Starman (1985), and Alien (1984). All three films were produced after the rise of the women's movement and after the filmmakers would have become well acquainted with a more varied view of women, women's roles, and the meaning of sexual politics in the society of their time. An examination of the films shows that the filmmakers did take into account in some fashion the new empowerment and wider opportunities open to women, often imposing this changed view of the role of women on material that traditionally involved a less liberated view of women.

Issues of concern to women have been in the forefront of national debate for more than two decades. The Civil Rights Movement of the fifties and sixties demonstrated what...

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Sexual Politics in Three Science Fiction Films. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:44, July 28, 2021, from