The Male Gaze In "Alien" Essay

985 words - 4 pages

The Gaze

The concept of Gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented.

For feminist theories it can be thought of in three different ways:

- How men look at women
- How women look at women
- How women look at themselves

Male Gaze

The writer Laura Mulvey, introduced the term “Male Gaze” in her essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” in 1975. In it, Mulvey states that in film women are typically the objects, rather than the owner/possessors of the gaze, because the control of the camera (and thus the gaze) comes from factors such as the heterosexual men as the default taget audience for most film genres. Also most (camera-)crew members ...view middle of the document...

In the background the viewer can see pictures of naked women stuck to the wall. The scene can be seen as a typical example for the objectification of women, not just in the way, Ash is treating Ripley. The pictures on the wall act as an reminder of the feministic theory, that men see women just as an sexual object and not as a full human.

This scene is later followed by the climatic showdown of the film in the space shuttle after Ripley was sure that she had left the Alien behind in “Nostromo”.


Ripley performs a sort of a tease in front of the audience by shedding the plain green jumpsuit that had masked her sexuality throughout the film.
The way Ripley gets rid of her clothes and the way, the camera is following her movements focused on her waist, reminds the viewer strongly of a soft porn.
The whole scene seems uncommon in relation to the rest of the film. A woman in panties is certainly not uncommon in the Horror genre. However, why did the creator put Ripley in these skinny pants and make the whole scene as sexual as possible to remind the viewer that the hero actually is a woman?
By inappropriately sexualizing Ripley for the first time, Scott wants the viewer to return to their standard sexual gaze in order to denounce it. As a surprise to the audience, the camera position of the objectified gaze is not detached but rests in the same position as the alien, who has secreted itself on board. By indulging in the objectification of Ripley, Scott aligns our viewing with that of the alien, which, in recalling Ash’s similar sexual gaze, shames the viewer. The scene is therefore a “standard” in the horror genre to place one female – even just for one scene – into the role of the sexual object for the audience.
The creators wanted to show her...

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