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Why are aliens always green?
It is a persistent image, that of the “little green men” or other such green invaders, whether they be the three-eyed aliens from Disney’s Toy Story, the green almond-eyed alien image well known as an icon of aliens or the new alien in whatever new film is coming out featuring extra terrestrials. This image is so ingrained in public consciousness that when asked “what color is an alien” many people would blurt out “green” without a second thought, but where does this image come from?
One theory of the origin of green aliens is a story from around the 12 century. This story, named “Wolpit’s green children” has mysterious children showing up with green skin. This is the earliest reference to specifically green unknown creatures. This is not the only reference of course, there is also a story from Harold Lawlor which is the first recorded instance of the phrase “little green men”, though specifically, the title is “Small green men in Mayaya” An even later story “Martians, go home” by Fredric Brown also has small green aliens causing mischief.
These stories show that even in the past the idea of aliens being green was not an uncommon thought and worked its way into popular culture. Shows such as the Flintstones and other old cartoons featured aliens who were green and Disney’s Toy Story aliens have become an icon recognizable by many. Why humanity specifically grasped onto this portrayal of aliens despite other stories (and perhaps the most famous alien movie ever made, ET, having a small brown alien) is something of an unknown, but it seems the description is here to stay.
Personally, I like the idea of aliens being small, green and obviously different from ourselves. It paints a charming image of extra-terrestrial life. Perhaps in the future, we will be proven wrong (who knows, perhaps the image of small green aliens will turn out to be offensive?) but for now its a nice icon of a science fiction staple. Besides, in an infinite universe, anything that is possible must happen so perhaps there are little green men out in space somewhere right now wondering why they always portray aliens as blue.