‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: Looks Spectacular, and Totally Indicative of Hollywood’s Lady Problem

Oh my goodness, did I swoon with the rest of the internet upon the release of the first Wolf of Wall Street trailer. DiCaprio being the actor I love! McConaughey being the comeback, rom-com-free McConaughey I love! Scorsese! That dancing, that monkey! Jokes, money flying, high drama, the inevitable crash you know has to come, etc. Please swoon with me if you haven’t already, or swoon again — you know you want to:

So here’s where I’m a downer about this: As soon as you come down off the sugar high of that kick-ass trailer, you realize that the only two women you see in this thing are objectified eye candy. Granted, you can tell that this reflects the sensibility of the world the film is depicting; you don’t come away thinking Scorsese is a massive misogynist as much as an unfortunately accurate chronicler of Wall Street. It’s the same problem Social Network had a few years ago, when one of its most shocking details was its lack of smart female characters, just as discussions about the lack of women in tech really took off.

And so I wonder: Is there a similarly rollicking, real-life story featuring mostly fascinating female characters that we’d like to see hit the big screen? Bling Ring seems like a start, of sorts — we don’t need the women to be admirable, since the men in these films (particularly Wolf of Wall Street) are hardly role models. Betsy Israel’s Bachelor Girl, about the history of single women, provides some prototypes. (I might even suggest the female writers of The Mary Tyler Moore Show featured in my book, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, if I wanted to be particularly bold.) I’m a fan of Jessica Mitford, a social activist and journalist in the ’40s and ’50s known as “the queen of the muckrakers.” I can’t believe there hasn’t been a huge, showy Dorothy Parker movie. But it’d be cool to see some more modern kick-ass women on the screen as well. Any ideas?

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3 comments

  1. I thought about this on Sunday after seeing Man of Steel. Lois Lane is so drippy. Again. Yes, they make her a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, but I don’t know any serious reporter who would let her hair flow around her face when reporting in the arctic. Man saves the day, blah blah blah.

    I’m going to go back and watch the Lois & Clark series because I remember Lois being so much cooler/kick ass/etc. But I as 13, and it’s been a while, so I might be remembering wrong.

      1. I know. It was father’s day, and my dad’s choice. He also watched the TV show with me when I was a kid. After the movie, he turned to me and said “that’s not our Lois & Clark,” so there’s that!

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