I was once asked who I would be if I weren’t myself. Aside from the obvious answer (“Dude, I would just be myself again because I totally rule”) I always reply the same way.
“The chick from Aliens.”
To which some wise-ass always replies,
“I think you mean Sigourney Weaver.”
To which my response unhesitatingly is,
“No, I mean Vasquez. Obviously.”
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then my darling this blog post is not going to get any easier to understand. Sorry about that.
I bloody love Vasquez. I first saw Aliens at nine years old – which was, in the eighties, an entirely appropriate age to watch a film in which an android is split in half and dragged toward an airlock while vomiting gunk. My friend Danny and I would often ‘play’ Aliens in his local park using sticks for pulse rifles. He was always Hicks. I would tie a school tie around my head and strut about the place wisecracking to no-one in particular. I would encourage him to ask me over and over,
“Do you ever get mistaken for a man Vasquez?”
To which I would sneer, gleefully,
“No. Do you?”
This woman was amazing. She looked like Ralph Macchio pumped up on some unholy steroids, rocking a red bandanna which even Tupac would have balked at for being too ghetto. And SHE DID NOT GIVE A SHIT WHAT YOU THOUGHT. Remember that. I may mention it again.
She stood, dressed and walked like what she was – a fucking space marine made of steel and awesome – there was no need to put her in titty tops or pretty her up – she was a proper, gutsy character, and she wasn’t there for fun. If they remade Aliens now they’d probably cast fucking Rihanna in the role in some leather hotpants or something. And instead of mean lines delivered with a righteous glare she’d say;
“Look man I only need to know one thing. Where can I fix my hair?” and pout and drop a box of fucking tampax or something.
Vasquez wasn’t a woman in man’s clothes trying to fit into this environment made up almost exclusively of blood and testosterone – she was an angry broad who just happened to be able to handle herself just fine thanks and she DID NOT GIVE A SHIT WHAT YOU THOUGHT.
You don’t see many women’s roles like hers in films anymore – aggressive, brave, capable – and it shows. It patronises the viewer, usually male – “Here’s something pretty for you to look at until the violence starts, dumb ass” – and it sucks. Because we need more women’s roles like Vasquez (and also to some extent, Ripley) on screen and in real life. She didn’t need to do anything to get your attention or gain your respect except handle a pulse rifle and cane xenomorphs with the boys, not in spite of them.
God, I love her. And you know what else?
SHE DID NOT GIVE A SHIT WHAT YOU THOUGHT.