Objectification in Dr. Strangelove

While I totally oblivious to the comedic genius that is Dr. Strangelove the first time I watched it, the movie’s statement about a woman’s role during this time was clear. The film’s only female character, Miss Scott, is highly sexualized throughout the movie, and it has me wondering whether or not the movie is commenting on a woman’s role during war, or on a woman’s life purpose in general. Lack of women in the movie could simply mean that there is no place for them in a time of war, but I think the sexualization of her character leans more to suggesting women’s roles in general.

We only see Miss Scott twice in the movie, once in what seems to be Turgidson’s residence, and once again in the centerfold of Playboy when Reed is flipping through a copy in the cockpit of the plane. She is never fully clothed either time she appears on screen, which to me insinuates objectification of her body. She as woman, as an individual with thoughts and opinions, is lost. While she is portrayed as being well spoken, we don’t hear anything from her other than repeating phone messages Turgidson and implicitly asking him for sex as he is leaving for the meeting. Her sexual relationship with Turgidson also makes me wonder whether or not she is his secretary because they are together. And also, if she does actually have clerical duties, does she get paid for them?

While I don’t think any of the camera movements particularly play into how she is sexualized, her Playboy picture is shown from a high angle, and she is looked at lying on the bed from a high angle as well. High angles generally imply someone being looked down on, and since the only other characters in the movie are men, it could be a reflection of how they view her.

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