“Showgirls” and Women representations

“Showgirls” is a movie that was produced in 1995 and contains many female representations based on a males’ frame. The movie is about a woman who moves to Las Vegas to start a new life, while she does not have any money to support herself she resorts to strip dancing as her income. She then moves up to a showgirl as a dancer at a hotel and competes against another female to be the star dancer. While she works at the strip club you start to see how men really treat or how they perceive women as, which is a “piece of meat.” Throughout the whole film it seems almost every guy is just interested in a woman’s beauty and what her body has to offer. It is pure sexual innuendo.

            The women in the film represent a man’s framework of what they call female entertainment and how they wish to see it. Girl’s with little to no clothing on is an apparent part of any female entertainment for men. Majority of this movie is seeing scenes of girls dancing topless for entertainment purposes. The men with power in this movie are even seen abusing and or using women for their own personal gain. A wealthy man using his status as a lure for women and even a struggling artist saying he’ll let them be in his show are perfect examples of how a man will do what it takes to get his prize.

            While many men frames are shown the female lead does show development through the stages of representation. At first when she is a strip dancer she is between non-recognition and ridicule. She is not recognized as a female rather an instrument for the idea of a sexual fantasy or being ridiculed by men demeaning her by treating her as a sex toy. Later in the movie she becomes a “Showgirl” for a famous hotel that performs a topless show for huge audiences. She then moves to regulation phase where people now do not ridicule her for being a topless dancer because the show is regarded as a classy performance that is considered art. And finally she gains respect from people when she becomes the star dancer of the show and is now in a spotlight of stardom.

            Overall the stereotype of women being used as a sexual idea to influence viewers who are mostly men is reinforced by this movie. Men are seen as the ones with power at each different place of entertainment. The women are more than less being used as tools to achieve a man’s goals in every aspect of this movie and correlates to the framing of how the media and entertainment business is representing women in an extreme fashion.



2 thoughts on ““Showgirls” and Women representations

  1. I remember when this movie first came out and some of the criticisms that were raised. It’s definitely a problem when the many movies with female leads fail to provide more complex portrayals. Do you think the portrayals have progressed since this movie came out (17 years ago)?

    • I definately think they have progressed with leads like Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Natalie Portman and many more. In reality though it is up to the producer who ultimately decide the roles available and what story they are trying to tell. I’m not positive on the statistic of the proportion of male to female producers but i can presume it is male dominated.

      -Trent Hardenburg Asu ID#1201770652

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