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Gender And Sexuality In Hollywood Films

1968 words - 8 pages

The American black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Martin Scorsese was released December 25, 2013 and stars the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie. While on face value The Wolf of Wall Street looks like a film about excessive cocaine binges, long evenings filled with men with cigarettes, large portions of alcoholic consumption, having many sexual escapades with various women and even dwarf tossing from time to time, the film is deeply rooted in perception gender within the genre of The Wolf of Wall Street. The word ‘genre’ is rooted into a similar category as
‘gender’ which is a word defined as cultural codes and regulation of human sexuality. Genre is constructed through the use of gender codes. Essentially involving both how women and men are represented through specific genres and the diversity between other genres that gear more towards men or genres that are aimed to women. Ultimately, genre is used to try and define ‘proper’ gender (Giannetti & Leach, 2011,p. 53). The Wolf of Wall Street’s use of gender prescribes the narrative film to specific gender roles that are associated with the films close ties to drama, comedy and crime genres. As a black comedy film often takes a stab at making light of dark subject matters like sexism, rape, drug abuse, etc. The Wolf of Wall Street tells a tale of Jordan Belfort a successful stock broker building his empire on deceit and lies and his excessive use of drugs and exploration of women.
Noted in Yvonne Tasker’s Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema, Goldie Hawn says this about women's role in the film business “There are only thee ages for women in Hollywood: Babe, District Attorney and Driving Miss Daisy” (1998, p. 3). While Hawn’s quote might be taken in jest there is significant merit behind what she stated. Contemporary American filmmaking is obsessed stereotypes and controlling the image of women and subjecting them to the same tedious roles in front of the camera. Laura Mulvey’s concept of the ‘male gaze’ must be explored when analyzing gender in popular film. The gaze encompasses a spectator ident1rance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness (McGown, 2003, p. 31). According to O’Shaughnessy and Stadler code is defined as standardized formulas for communicating meaning. (2001, p. 134). In Classic Hollywood Cinema coding is important in defining how men and women look. Women are coded in aesthetic pleasurable items like clothing, jewels, shoes, etc., and how women place their hair and how they wear their makeup. This is directly linked to be being visually desired or not desired.
The Wolf of Wall Street is an acute example of how women have been subjected to gaze throughout the history of classic Hollywood cinema. The film launches into the lifestyles of women being hookers, strippers and gold diggers. While some females are displayed as being unable to rein in their husbands...

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