There is a scene in The Wolf of Wall Street where Jordan Belfort is hosting a lavish party in a seaside house. He and his coworkers are doing drugs of various different kinds when Jonah Hill sees an attractive woman. He is later seen by his wife masturbating, holding his penis in his hand.
After watching the film, my mom, brother and I talked about that scene while we ate Christmas dinner. (I know, I know.) We talked about how, in all likelihood, Jonah Hill was holding a prosthetic, not his actual penis. My mom and I were offended by that. There was no shortage of female nudity in the film. (Front, back, side, take your pick.) And yet, I did not see Leonardo DiCaprio’s genitalia once. They took great pains to make sure that he was never shown fully naked from the front.
This is not entirely Scorsese’s fault. There is a strange double standard in films in which women are expected to strip and men are never allowed to strip. I remember my boss discussing a film she saw with George Clooney. (I can’t remember the name.) She was very upset because the actress was naked for half the movie, and yet she never got to see George Clooney naked. Mind you, she wasn’t upset because of the sexism. She was upset because she felt her life was incomplete because she had not seen George Clooney naked. (She has my sympathy.) Still, there is a vast difference in the way Hollywood treats men’s bodies and women’s bodies.
This is ultimately a large part of why I am torn about The Wolf of Wall Street. It is ultimately hypocritical. Martin Scorsese presents this film as an indictment of the greed and sexism of Wall Street. This is a common indictment of Wall Street by Hollywood, and with good reason. The problem is that Hollywood is pointing at Wall Street saying, “Wall Street is greedy and misogynistic!” to which I say, “Right back at you, Hollywood.”
You’re right, Hollywood, Wall Street has a speck in its eye. Now go take the moat out of yours!
I do not own the picture of The Wolf of Wall Street poster, or the clip from the 2013 Oscars.