Silence of the lambs versus alien

Essay by winniecooper January 2005

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In both Silence of the Lambs and Aliens, gender and sex roles become muddled. Both films capture the indistinctness of the sexes. In a world that clearly defines the roles of men and women, it is a struggle to oppose one's place. Sterling and Ripley, the authoritative and adept females whom occupy male spheres, achieve victory in there fight for reverence and fairness. Gender assumptions create concrete attributes, deftness and demureness, which males and females, respectively, must possess. However, neither gender is content with their obligatory roles in society, hence members, such as Hannibal and Bill deviate from their sphere. The only creature unassigned a role, the alien itself, adopts qualities from both genders. Eerily, the alien and Bill both share a need to covet and capture those around them. Both beings assume roles that force them to kill in order to achieve their objective. Serial murders, which occur in both films, "happen regularly over time and each new one creates an expectation; they involve a plot, a consummate villain, they demand explanation; the demand that a pattern be forced onto what appears to be 'desperately random'" .

The executions take place in order to complete a goal; which in both films refers to a transmutation of one object be it male or embryo, into another. Each character challenges standard sex roles. Juxtaposing the unwavering discipline of the females with the male's adoption of feminine characteristics illustrates the continual blurring of gender identity.

Beginning in the early 1900s, carrying on through the 1950s, and continuing to the present day, women have fought for equality. Many women who have resisted categorization have uncovered sociological explanations for the habitual descent of women. Since the early 1900s women have been faced with obstacles, those that struggled to overcome their hindrances were labeled "feminists".