Most people are affected by at least one fictional character at some point in their lives. As silly as it might seem, for me that character has been cheerleader and demon killer Buffy Summers of the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Buffy was a strong and complex female character in a mass of one-dimensional leading ladies. She wasn’t some emotionally hardened warrior princess wearing a metal bikini. Sure, she was conventionally pretty and had more than her fair share of close-up shots, but she was also a girl who wanted to be accepted by her peers (and considering that most of her nights were spent in cemeteries battling the undead, fitting in wasn’t easy). Her wardrobe was an insight into her character. She dressed like an ordinary teenage girl, because that’s exactly who she wanted to be.
Since high school, I’ve realized that Buffy Summers is just one of the compelling female characters in the world of sci-fi — great women of action with wardrobes to match, whether she is a robot with implanted emotions or a warrant officer battling parasitic aliens.
In the 1979 film Alien, Officer Rigley transitions between a loose government-issued jumpsuit and a sporty white tank top, with little else. Her wardrobe is limited but effective in her pursuit to defeat alien intruders aboard her spacecraft.
In the campy ’60s flick Barbarella, Jane Fonda uses her physical appeal rather than her strength to save planet Earth. Throughout her journey, she wears a series of tight bodysuits, each new ensemble more revealing than the last. I wouldn’t exactly call Barbarella a feminist role model, but her daring wardobe of cut-out bodysuits is definitely worth replicating.
Rachael is a genetically engineered robot who believes herself to be human in the ’80s cult classic, Blade Runner. Though the story is set in the distant future (2019!), Rachael has been manufactured like a classic femme fatale of the past. She wears simple dark suits in bold silhouettes, reminiscent of Lauren Bacall during the 1940s.
Pris is a rebellious robot who escapes to LA in an attempt to extend her own life span. Her bold attitude is reflected in her New Wave punk-inspired look, from her sheer black clothing to her platinum hair.
As someone who became involved in the consumer co-op movement back in the 1970s, I see the DIY movement as something very similar; it's about self-sufficiency and helping each other succeed, and choosing your own work conditions and priorities. If many of us choose not to be involved in corporate culture, I see that more as a boycott than as a retreat. The conventional workplace isn't meeting our needs, so we're making our own way. Read more