The end of the film seems to reveal that the alien was female before arriving on Earth, but this does not alter the problematics of gender that precede this revelation.


Sigmund Freud claims that “Anatomy is destiny” twice, first in 1912 and again in 1924. The first can be found in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 11, On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love (Contributions to the Psychology of Love) (1912), trans. and ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1957), 189. The second can be found in “The Dissolution of the Oedipus Complex” (1924), in On Sexuality, vol. 7, Penguin Freud Library, trans. James Strachey, ed. Angela Richards (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976), 313–22, on 320.


See Craig Owens, “The Medusa Effect,” in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, ed. Scott Bryson et al. (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), 191–200.


Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).


Jacques Lacan, “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience,” in Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), 75–81.


I couldn't help but think of Barbara Loden's forgotten Wanda (1970), which also chronicles the plight of a woman who suddenly stops behaving as programmed and goes on a journey of becoming, only to find that there is no place to hide from misogynist violence. In both films, the woman's refusal to maintain acceptable gender roles opens up affectless subjects to sensation.

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