Androgyny Image
Androgyny Image

The B sci-fi flick The Man from Planet X (top left) was released in 1951 and featured a cute, genderless and in the end, sinister spaceman. He foisted himself on his human caretakers as a superhero, promising to deliver a top secret material for a next-generation atomic bomb. Superhero turned quickly to supervillain as he attempted to enslave humans to help save his freezing planet. His lack of gender specificity may have aided him in acting benign upon his arrival on earth, however, this malevolent little interplanetarian found no sympathy as he switched into takeover mode.

In similar fashion, but clearly beyond B-movie mode, Nicolas Roeg's 1976 The Man Who Fell to Earth starring David Bowie, featured an alien who came to earth seeking help for his dying (drought stricken) planet. This time, however, the alien was genuine in his mission. He managed to disguise his lack of humanity (which in turn arose partly from his androgyny), wrapping himself in the clothing (including humanoid contact lenses) and the lifestyle of a human, calling himself Thomas Newton. In the end, the charade became all too real. Newton became hooked on alcohol, television and, in his role as millionaire playboy, philandering sex addict. Further, his humanoid contact lenses become permanently fused to his eyes when government agents arrested him and subjected him to medical testing to determine his interplanetary status. How fitting that his mission fails in the end as he becomes firmly ensconced in daily, earthly human drama. His superhuman powers die upon discovering his humanity, his lust for money, power and that all too gender specific activity, sex.


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Interplanetary Refugees

Androgyny Image David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth