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March 10, 2014 AT 4:20 PM
Before she wielded high-powered assault rifles and flamethrowers like Arnold, and became the most iconic heroine in outer space, Ripley was a man. Early drafts of the Alien script—when the movie was called Star Beast—featured Ripley as your typical male action hero. Ridley Scott changed all that by giving Ripley a sex change and re-writing Alien so that it would not only be one of the most frightening horror movies of all time but also a critique on structured sexism and the monstrous nature of male inhibitions. Scott's clever gender reversal has Ripley start off the movie as if she were a supporting character in a man's world, performing secretarial duties on the spaceship Nostromo before, to our surprise, becoming the movie's hero. There's phallic and reproductive imagery galore in the movie but most telling are the sexualized attack's on Ripley, first from the cyborg Ash who tries to stuff a rolled up magazine down her throat and then the alien, which sneaks up on her when undressed and tries to thrust that erect tongue in her.