The Social Climate of the '70s
Limits to Growth
In 1972, a group of scholars utilized a computer simulation to understand the relation between economic and population growth, by using world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion as variables. It's conclusion was grim, as it declared growth was unsustainable and the world needed changes8. Initially, there wasn't much response to Limits To Growth, but with 1973 Oil Crisis, the report was quickly popular, as many misunderstood its message and thought its predictions were close to
Deindustrialization of America
The 1970s are known to the "stagflation", a period where both inflation and unemployment greatly rose. This would result in a shift from the earlier optimism of the previous decades to a sluggish cynicism. This would allow exporting Asian countries to grow further due to cheaper labor costs, leading to the deindustrialization of the US in the following decades.
The Feminist movement of the early 1970s was marked by the Second-Wave of the Feminism Movement that began on the 1960s and lasted until the beginnings of 1980s. This movement focused primarily in removing the social bias over women within the American Society, while addressing a whole other range of problems and inequalities. Throughout the Second Wave, many feminist and anti-feminist organizations sprang up to debate a whole array of issues; the Equal Right Amendment (ERA), abortion laws, rape and violence towards women, equal job conditions, divorce and any sort of discrimination1. Met with mixed results, the Movement had its successes and failures. Most notably, it managed to provide job equality through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1965), pass the Title IX of Higher Education Act (1972) that prohibits discrimination of on the basis of sex in educational institutions and the legalization of abortion during the ruling on Roe v. Wade (1973) 2.
More on the Autonomy of the Body, the 1970s was marked by the discussion of the liberty to be in charge of one's own body. Along these discussions, sexuality and abortion were the high focus within feminist circles3. As a result, a booklet called "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (previously named, "Women and Their Bodies") was published and was heavily sold mainly through word-of-mouth. Which affected the popular view of the Woman's Body Autonomy4. Consequently, Alien played with this new sense of self through Body Horror, where "Human Bodies are subject to torture, mutilation, mutation, decay, degeneration, and transformation" 5.
Computer-Based Entertainment (Home Computing, VHS, Arcades)
Alien was released in 1979. The Computer age had started and was in full swing. The 70's was a time of incredible progress and technological discovery. The decade witnessed the birth of video games, the integrated circuit board, and the C programming language. The 1970s also marked the beginnings of video home industry, where people were now able to record and watch different things in the comfort of their homes through VHS. It also included the growth of Amusement Arcades, where people would push quarters to play a great variety of games. The appearance of computing technology in the early 1980s revolutionized homes, business and learning. The United States was discovering a new way of life, bound to technology.
Rise of Corporations
A shift from the original growth of profits from both employee and employer, corporations began implementing new measures to reduce costs and raise profits that left employees on the losing end. With the new computing machines, less employees were needed; work that could be done through cheaper labor on the west replaced what US employees would do; and whatever was left, was replaced by US women and immigrants to reduce hire costs. Very few people managed to hold their own jobs, leaving a large sector unemployed and certainly unhappy with the changes.6
Cold War, Vietnam War and Watergate Scandal
In the United States, a distrust in government was growing. The Vietnam conflict had been ongoing since the 60's. Many people, especially students, opposed United States' involvement in the country. In 1970, there was only a 48% approval rating of the war. Despite Nixon's promises to end the war, the conflict continued until 1975. Nixon was also involved in the one of the largest political scandals ever, Watergate. Watergate was a career ending disaster for Nixon, and instilled a general suspicion of the government in the public. Throughout the entire Watergate scandal, the United States was locked in the Cold War with the USSR. The threat of communism continued to loom over the United States all throughout the 70's. The public distrusted the American government, and feared the USSR's.