Screen Studies
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Alien Woman

Alien Woman: The Making of Lt. Ellen Ripley

by Ximena C. Gallardo

C. Jason Smith is Assistant Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and C. Jason Smith

A native of Chile, Ximena Gallardo-C. graduated with a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University. She lives in New York. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Continuum, 2004
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781501340598
  • ISBN:
    9781501340598 (online)

    9780826415707 (hardback)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
Alien Woman
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Alien Woman examines the construction of sex and gender in the four science-fiction films comprising the Alien saga (starring Sigourney Weaver). The Alien saga stands alone in presenting an enduring, self-reliant female protagonist, Ripley, who in the first film ends up as the sole survivor of the beleaguered starship Nostromo. Subsequent writers and directors in the 1980s and 1990s, left to grapple with this strong female protagonist, reenvision Ripley to for different social, political, and cultural imperatives for women. Alien Woman focuses on how these writers and directors have re-written Ripley and how each revision informs our understanding of women in science fiction. And by examining the films’ creation and commodification of the female hero, the books illustrates how changing attitudes toward women and the female body help us understand broader societal beliefs and relationships, and provides a useful lens with which to understand woman’s place in the late 20th century and early 21st century. Alien Woman will appeal to researchers and teachers in film, mass communication, women’s studies, gender studies and genre studies (particularly in science fiction and horror).