Erin Landau named The Wolf of Wall Street this year’s most misogynistic blockbuster and after viewing it myself, I would have to agree. There were many points throughout the movie; so many that I lost count, where I felt my jaw drop at the high level of disrespect, misogyny, and oversexualization of women throughout the film. In The Wolf of Wall Street the majority of women who receive air time are hookers, strippers, helpless wives, or gold-digging girlfriends. Landau states in her article that this portrayal “raises interesting questions about how women are portrayed as accessories to their leading men.“
The portrayal of both men and women in this film is abysmal to me. Women are once again objectified and used as objects in this film, they are known for their sexual endeavors and are otherwise useless. In many scenes, where Belfort, Men are also portrayed negatively in this film- they are demoted to being animals whose only goals are to have sex, make money, and do drugs. In her article, Helen O’Hara states when discussing the men of the film, “They consider themselves alpha males, warriors, as their leader Belfort whips them into a frenzy of excitement for the latest opportunity to make money. But the truth is that they are weak, ridiculous, boys playing at being men… no reasonable audience member can look at them and think, ‘That. That’s what a real man looks like.’”
Ultimately, this is a film that I have seen many times before. These are not new depictions and unfortunately, I can bet that in the future, there will be many more versions of The Wolf of Wall Street. Below is a spoof trailer of The Women of Wall Street created to make a point about both the ridiculousness of sexualization of women and how if reversed, as seen with one of the men being covered in packets of money as in one scene from the film, many of the things women are subjected to are absurd. As well as giving an example of a film that we have not seen many times before, as a majority female cast with women in power is a rarity.
I think that struck me the most about this film, however, was not the film itself. What struck me was the fact that this was nominated for five Oscars. While I recognize that there are a lot of components that go into nominations and recognize that the acting and direction of the movie was well done, it still does not sit well with me that a movie that is so anti- women was still a runner for such prestigious awards. I feel that this only perpetuates rape culture and the dehumanization of both women and men.