Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sketched Discussion: Is Prometheus a metaphor for Abortion?

STAY WITH ME HERE.  Prometheus asks some big questions and has some interesting metaphors, but this might be the biggest one: Is Prometheus a really really good metaphor for abortion? This has to do with mostly one intense scene, so obviously only read this if you've already seen the movie. We are getting into major SPOILERS territory here.

Let me set up the scene.

Michael Fassbender's David has infected Charlie Holloway, who's romantically intwined with Elizabeth Shaw.  It's explaiend that Shaw isn't capable of having children, and then Holloway and Shaw have dirty off-screen sex.  Later the infection gets to Charlie, and he gets fired.  Shaw is examined to see if she was cantaminated, and lo and behold, she's preggers. Three months so, in fact, even though they jsut had sex the night before. Shaw is obviously horrified and wants the thing out of her as quickly as possible.  David on the other hand, doesn't want to take it out, citing that they don't have the medical equipment for that, and that the best course of action is to put her back in cryogenic sleep until they get back to Earth.

Since all this is his doing, and he brought the alien on the ship(think the "big things come in small packages" scene from the trailer), so he may have ulterior motives.  He sedates Shaw, but later she wakes up, escapes the other scienentists, and runs to Vicker's special future magic healing machine to give herself an abortion. Strangely, the machine is only capable of performing male surgeries(even though it's Vicker's, seriously she didn't think that would be a problem?), so she has to trick the machine into doing surgery.  She basically cuts out the alien sack herself with lasers, while still conscious, and as it wakes up and starts writhing around in the machine, she quickly gets out and hits the "decontaminate" button to kill it. Afterwards, she patches herself up, and no one talks about it at all. Not Vickers or the scientists told to take her to cryogenesis, only David makes a snarky comment at her expense.

Oh and no one thinks to clean up the machine, and we find out later that the alien wasn't dead, and inadvertently saves Shaw's by eating a bigger monster tryign to kill her. Yeah.

So let's talk about this. First there's the mentality of "it can't happen to me! Why bother with protection?" of Holoway and Shaw that I'm sure loads of young people go to. "Oh no, I'm careful, I'll pull out, my sperm count isn't that high, it can't happen..." Except, yes, yes it can. Especialy when there's alien STD's involved!  This whole thing could have been avoided if Holloway had just worn a damn space condom.

Actually the movie I want to see.
Then there's David.  David has some strange motives, and it's never really explaiend why he infects Holloway, whether it was to start life or because Holloway's a dick, and whether or not he figured on them having sex(scene of David turning on the mood lighting and playing Space Barry White outside their door).  I can gather that he thinks all life is sacred.  I think he resents humans for not considering him "alive", evne though they were clearly constructed by the engineers. But obviously he doesn't want the alien cut out of Shaw, and he may he may have wanted to get her pregnanat in the first place to start new life.  This directly mirrors the religious right wing, who thinks all life is sacred and only sees sex for the production of babies and nothign more. They don't think women should get abortions or have the right to choose becuase obviously they're crazy and hysterical and don't understand the grand scheme of life. That's right, the religious right are crazy androids!

And then there's the fact the machine is only configured for "male procedures".  This is pretty much the extreme of what the right wing want.  They don't want women havign abortions, and they certainly don't want to pay for them with their tax dollars, so in the future, OF COURSE they would build a machine and not bother to program it with baby bearing techniques. God didn't intend for machines to deliver and abort children, it's in the bible! But y'know, having it patch up your bones with lasers is ok.

And think, she had to do this all by herself.  Shaw has to take matters into her own hands and rip the thing out herself, with everyone was fighting her for it.  No one is there for her, not even the would-be alien father. Many women feel like they're alone in this.  It's their body that it happens to and not many people(myself included) would know or understand what it feels like except other women who've gone through it. But in the end, it's her decision, as it should be, because it's her body that's going to get torn apart by freaky aliens.  In real life, even the safest pregnancies can be fatal to the mother, and this particular alien pregnancy DEFINITELY would have killer her.

And then, finally, there's the aftermath.  The pain, physical and emotional she has to go through, the fact she has to keep herself together to keep doing what she loves doing. If she didn't rip that thing out of her, they'd have put her to sleep and she'd miss all the engineers!  And every ten minutes she gets intense pain in her stomach, and one jerk even hits her in the belly!  But most of all, it's the people. NO ONE talks about it.  No one even acknowledges it.  This may just be bad writing on the movie's part, but I really hope they're trying to say something bigger, because it fits perfectly. No one wants to acknowledge the event, they just treat her like nothing happened. There were four scientists that tried to sedate her, and it was Vicker's medical unit, so she had to know, so I can't beleive the whole crew didn't know what went on. At best, they tell her she should stay put becuase of her "condition".  At worse, she gets David, who makes a joke about the whole thing.  No one likes to talk about abortion, even if they do, they don't know what to say.

This is kind of a huge deal when even in this day and age we're constantly battling a "war on women". Though some of the movie doesn't add up as well, I think this part is kind of brilliant. Granted, I am no movie scholar, and this might just be me choosing to find something out of bad writing, but it's really telling when you think about it. What do you guys think? Do you agree that there's more to Prometheus or do you think it's just a very pretty load of afterbirth?  What other themes/metaphors have you guys found?

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