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The Wolf of Wall Street as a Self-Made Man

Autor:   •  June 28, 2019  •  Essay  •  1,338 Words (6 Pages)  •  59 Views

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The Wolf of Wall Street as a Self-Made Man

        For my film paper, I watched The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie about a young entrepreneur on Wall Street. I chose this movie for its apparent objectification of women and the ability to compare the main character, Jordan Belfort, to the idea of the Self-Made Man. The film itself portrays women as sexual objects, to be taken advantage of and to be looked at. Jordan Belfort holds qualities such as economic achievement, wealth, and no obligation to family or community. He derives his masculinity entirely from his activities in the public sphere, wealth and status, and social mobility.

        The Wolf of Wall Street is about a young man named Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who works on Wall Street. The year is 1990. The stock market crashes and he loses his job at the firm. In looking for new jobs, he stumbles upon a penny stock company, which in turn inspires him to start his own penny stock company, Stratton Oakmont. He gets a bunch of his imbecile friends together and teaches them how to sell stocks. His company becomes so successful and he makes millions. His leisure-time activities include doing drugs, getting drunk, and having sex, primarily with prostitutes (while married). Jordan Belfort exemplifies a very extreme version of the Self-Made Man, but all of the qualities used to describe the Self-Made Man are present.

        The Self-Made Man is the form of masculinity that arose by way of the Industrial Revolution. As America becomes less concerned with the ability to build and make your own craft, manhood is no longer defined by artisanship, but now it’s grounded in entrepreneurship, wealth, status, economic success, and social mobility, all of which Jordan Belfort holds. The


Self-Made Man is a successful businessman, placing an importance on individualism and wealth. Jordan Belfort starts his own company and becomes extremely successful, making him the perfect example of the Self-Made Man.

        In the beginning, Belfort’s involvement in the stock market was a way to make ends meet for him and his wife. His values were focused on family, and he had a strong sense of his morality. His boss at his first job made him realize that working on Wall Street was not a job in which your moral compass was followed all the time. Belfort took advantage of his clients because the more money they buy in stocks, the more money he gets because of his commission. His job was to solely make his clients spend more money, regardless of whether it was a good decision for them or not, which is telling of Wall Street in real life. This is where we see Belfort change his mindset from what was a genuine concern for making ends meet, to getting filthy rich. He became obsessed with the idea of being wealthy, becoming exactly what we define as a Self-Made Man.

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