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The Wolf of Wall Street: A Representational Slander

By: 25090003 and 24020012

Based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street hit the cinemas in 2014, making $392 million. The humor and the fun life of the rich were appealing to much of the audience, but a criticism it faced was of representation of women in the film. Sure, it was humorous, but this kind of sexist comedy can be considered as harmful media production. All the female characters in the film are highly sexualized. It put forward the idea that

men can be accepted in all shapes and sizes, but only a specific body type was accepted with women. Not only this, there was a lack of female employees in Jordan’s office, and those that were employed held lowly jobs and were shown to do anything for money. As in one scene, a female employee shaved her head to get cash for breast implants. Moreover, Jordan’s second (and as indicated by the film, much hotter) wife, Naomi, only

used Jordan for his wealth; she endured all his abuse and only left him when he got

broke. The film portrayed women abominably by putting forward the idea that women have all beauty and no brains. It was sexism at its finest, and as Gill (2011) said, this form of sexism keeps men privileged.

The film portrays the existence of a woman’s role as always being in relation to that of a man, while men in the film existed as independent identities for whom it was completely fine to engage in casual harassment. Stuart Hall regarded media to be a significant factor in the production of meaning in society, and these notions perpetuate a culture of masculine superiority and that of degrading females in society. For the people watching such movies, it becomes an ideal. It sets an idea that rich men can do what they want, and this is highly problematic.



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That’s a good analysis of a movie. Women are indeed represented in very specific roles in this movie. They are highly sexualized. For example, Naomi is objectified as a hot-young but gold digger girl. Similarly, there were scares amount of women in Jordan’s office and one of female employee wanted to have breast enlargement surgery just to look good.


However, I want to share few of my thoughts regarding the overall movie and draw few conclusions.


First, the movie was based on the life of Jordan Belfort, which means that whatever was shown in the movie was what actually happened. Naomi was actually younger, and she actually left Jordan when he became bankrupt. Similarly, the number of employees in the…


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I understand where you are coming from and I realize that representation of men in the movie is also quite appalling. But the reason why me and my partner focused particularly on women representation was because this movie is based on the life of Jordan Belfort, which means that how women are shown in the movie is the role they played in his life. We see men in the movie, although, as you rightly pointed out are shown to be drug addicts and womanizers, are still not shamed for these things. It doesn’t matter what they look like or what they’re doing or how many women they harass, they are still accepted as they are. On the other hand, there…

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It can be linked to the context of Pakistan where we always see women being portrayed as dependent, greedy and beautiful objects. It also reminded me of Laura Mulvey's idea of the "male gaze" that our cinema revolves around the sexual objectification of women for the entertainment of male audiences. But how do you think, we as a nation can come out of this mindset?

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I think Pakistan still has a long way to go before it can come anywhere near moving past this mindset. While education may be a significant factor in overcoming such derogatory narratives, it also heavily relies on cultural threads. For the most part, men who call themselves clerics have deeply imbedded Islam into every institution and bended its rules to allow what favors them, and all of this is further pushed forward by politicians looking for support-like Imran Khan blamed women for the rising rates of sexual violence. I think we as a nation cannot move forward without disintegrating all these ideas from society, and as I see it, for this to happen, we’ll have to back to the time…

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