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Michael Foster: The Fear of Fruitfulness in Ridley Scott’s Alien

The following is reprinted with permission from Michael Foster of It’s Good to Be a Man

It’s hard to watch Alien and not pick up on the horrification of children, birth, and motherhood. As well as the general motif, there is also specific imagery that is very similar to the aftermath of an abortion.

The movie seems to have gotten this from the artwork of H.R. Giger.

Giger denied there was any connection, but consider the motivation behind Giger’s “Babies” painting. He explains:

What led me to paint these repulsive children’s heads which frighten all women? What scares me most is overpopulation, with all its horrifying side effects such as epidemics, mass hysteria, famine, and total environment destruction. For me, the greatest criminals against mankind are those who, with the help of religion, or false ethics, forbid the pill, prevent abortions, and hinder old people from dying. (Source – Warning, Graphic Imagery)

There is a fear and hatred of fruitfulness deeply embedded in our cultural consciousness. Alien, one of the most significant movies of the 20th century, reflects this sickness. It reflects our horror about the connection between sex and procreation. It is a kind of feminist fable. The crew awakens from cryosleep so that the feminists can present their own nightmare: “Hey boys, how do you like it? How does it feel when there’s a rapacious being out there that wants nothing more than to inject its seed into you, forcing you to carry its offspring until it consumes your very life? Not so good, right?”

It’s not a coincidence that the alien has a disgusting, toothed phallic “tongue.” Neither is it a coincidence that the protagonist is a woman—nor that she is one of the most celebrated characters in film.

Yet at the same time, it is impossible to tell a fable like this without the symbolism turning back on itself. If the fable is fundamentally absurd, because it is turning God’s good design into a nightmare, then the story flips, and what we see is no longer a symbolic depiction of reality—because the reality is beautiful and good—but rather a depiction of feminism itself.

Under this flipped interpretation, the feminist is a demonic force of evil. The visual connection between the alien and the Serpent is overt. And horrifying beings from the heavens that infect and consume mankind, and energize a twisted hatred of God’s order, aren’t exactly new to the human experience. Thus, it isn’t too hard to read the feminist zeitgeist onto the alien, inverting the fable. Who is really devouring mankind by dedicating their own offspring to otherworldly monsters?

Ironically, of course, to defeat the feminist symbol of masculinity in the fable, Ripley must become hyper-masculinized herself. Eventually she escapes the horror of the xenomorph by aborting it out of the womb of the ship. It is only then that she can rest easy, finally safe and alone.

But she is not lonely. She has a cat.

This is the sort of stuff we’ve been stewing in for decades.

We’re not suggesting that the average movie-goer picks up on this imagery and is persuaded by it. That isn’t the level stories operate at. It is far more subliminal than that; and far more ubiquitous. One story does not a culture change; but Alien is a particularly powerful example of the thousands of stories working together to change our thinking.

Media is power.

Stories are power.

Art is power.

Culture is power.

The left gets this, and that is one reason why they are winning.

Michael Foster is a serial-entrepreneur who has been in bi-vocational ministry the better part of his adult life. God has blessed him with a beautiful wife and seven children. He is the pastor of East River Church (CREC) in Batavia, just outside Cincinnati. You can find more of his work and sign up for the newsletter in which the article above first appeared at ItsGoodToBeAMan.com.

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