An expanded notion of empowerment along with three specific theories – Beauvoir’s concept of the Other, Speciesism, Cyborg Feminism – is used to analyze the female protagonists and antagonists in the following 1970’s and 1980’s science fiction and horror films: Fatal Attraction, Aliens, and The Stepford Wives. The female protagonists are allowed more access to power as human beings pitted against nonhuman antagonists, but these characters are ultimately not empowering for women because they reinforce rather than undermine the patriarchal structure. Implications for further research encourage a critique of female empowerment based on both gender and species.
Ruben, J. L. (2012). Illusionary Strength: An Analysis of Female Empowerment in Science Fiction and Horror Films in Fatal Attraction, Aliens, and The Stepford Wives (Master’s thesis). Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.