Good science fiction movies are hard to find, but good feminist science fiction movies are even more rare. At least they were until Ridley Scott's 1979 smash hit, Alien, was released. Years later, the legacy of the film's female heroine, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), is still felt in the sci-fi genre. And this is seen most obviously in the growing popularity of strong female heroines in science fiction movies, as seen in the 17 most feminist sci-fi movies ever. Each of these 17 science fiction movies feature strong female characters who fight their way out of male expectations and gender roles placed on them by the patriarchy. In other words: they're pretty awesome.
There's something about science fiction that seems to lend itself to strong female characters. As proven by massive franchises like Star Wars and The Hunger Games, there's something about dystopian future societies that just need a woman to topple them down. Of course, not all sci-fi movies are about crazy evil dictators. Sometimes the female protagonists of sci-fi movies just have an alien to defeat, or must survive the hostile environment of space, or subvert the limitations placed on them by men. No matter the challenge, feminist sci-fi heroes always rise up to meet it. So, if you're looking for some inspiration, look no further. Here are the 17 most feminist sci-fi movies, guaranteed to get you ready to take on the patriarchy.
In Alien, Ripley, the OG feminist sci-fi hero, fights off extra terrestrial evil, rebels against a corporation, and manages to survive in a hostile environment where all men fail.
Ex Machina explores how men control women, specifically how a powerful young genius creates female robots for his pleasure. But women, we know, can never be controlled.
Ripley returned to the big screen to kick some more alien butt in Aliens, the sequel to Alien. And, thank the movie gods she did.
A mother and daughter struggle to stay afloat in a futuristic world where youth and maleness are currency in Advantageous. Bonus feminist points: the film was written and directed by women.
Despite dealing with themes of motherhood, Arrival doesn't make its lead, Louise Banks, a stereotypical female character, obsessed with finding love and fitting into a box made for working women.
6'Mad Max: Fury Road'
You know we're still living in a time of sexism when an action movie with a female lead like Mad Max: Fury Road is cause for acclaim (and controversy).
Avatar might be about a man, but I think we can all agree that the resourceful Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) was the true hero.
8'The Hunger Games'
The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen inspired a generation of young feminists by standing up for what she believed in no matter the consequences.
For a majority of Gravity, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is the only character on screen, forcing all audience members to identify with her. It sounds simple, but male audiences are rarely asked to identify with women in film.
10'Edge Of Tomorrow'
It's not often that Tom Cruise is bested in the action genre, but in Edge of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt outdid the man himself.
Keeping in the Alien tradition, Prometheus featured a super feminist heroine, and made perhaps my favorite gender inequality statement in a movie ever when Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) tries to use a med pod to get the alien out of her body and is told that the machine is not meant to work on women. The future is bright.
12'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'
Two words: Sarah. Connor.
Even though she never physically appears onscreen, Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) is the most powerful character in Her, as she eclipses her male-dominated life as an operating system and becomes a full being.
14'10 Cloverfield Lane'
10 Cloverfield Lane celebrates the awesome power of women to survive. It's also a fantastically creepy movie that everyone should appreciate.
15'Under The Skin'
Under the Skin uses science fiction to explore themes of sexuality, female empowerment, and humanity.
16'The Stepford Wives'
The Stepford Wives is literally about a society where men rewire their wives to be the perfect housewife and obey their every whim. This is why we need feminism.
17'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Not only does Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set up a young woman as the savior of the galaxy far far away, it also gifted us with General Leia.
If these women can survive apocalypses, dictators, and alien invaders, then we can do anything.