In this video essay from Fandor Keyframe, Catherine Stratton explores the wayward sexual politics of sci-fi B-movies where women are in charge in worlds without men—until they totally lose their minds.
In these movies, all-female planets ruled by powerful women are at peace until male space explorers arrive. Stratton focuses on three films: Queen of Outer Space, Catwomen in Space, and Fire Maidens of Outer Space. In each, the women fall for the strapping men and lose control. Eventually, the men dismantle these societies and restore the patriarchy—and, of course, get their pick of the luscious babes. As Stratton puts it, “Lady Lands are not so thinly veiled fantasy stories for men, disguised by female empowerment.”