Dr. Strangelove Movie Review-The politics of Gender


It is plainly undeniable that there are films that feature women asrespected figures in the society, some with women presidents,government officials, among other reputable positions. Dr.Strangelove film, however, does not come any close to being sensitiveabout gender considerations as it portrays women as less equal tomen. The entire film is dominated by men who are featured performingtheir duties as if the female gender never existed, except for thesenior military, government officials and pilots who use women forpleasure. Male chauvinists display their masculinity by eitherspeaking disrespectfully about or to women as they see no more valuefor them besides recreation and procreation. The brief review willtrace the politics of gender as they are demonstrated in the Dr.Strangelove film, with close reference to the key characters in thefilm.

The first instance that indicate one sided politics of gender, ofcourse in favor of men, is the scene of Miss Scott. The lady is notdecently dressed as would be expected of a respectable woman, but isclad in a bikini basking outside. Similar cases are evidenced insongs where women are made to dance almost naked, as well as performsexual acts in the dances to entertain men. In essence, women areclosely associated with sex and pleasure more than anything else. Ina nut shell, the high heels and the bikini that Miss Scott waswearing are strongly suggestive of her purpose and position in thefilm. No wonder influential people look for beautiful secretaries towork in the offices as they also play the roles of mistresses. It isalso imperative to mention that, Miss Scott is the only women who isfeatured in the entire film.

General Turgadson is also seen making sexual advances to a woman hespoke to through the phone with an attractive offer of making her hiswife, regardless of her feelings. While such advances would becategorized as inappropriate behavior in the workplace today, thegeneral does not see anything wrong with his way of speaking to thepentagon lady over the phone. It is apparent that women are notrespected in the film, and the position that hey take in power andwar is extremely low and demeaning (Sheridan, 1995).

Furthermore, the pilot spend time looking at naked woman photos inthe playboy magazine. Even at crucial missions as destroying anentire nation, the pilot seems to taking some time off for pleasure(Sheridan, 1995). To these men, nothing better can come from a womanbesides sex or fantasies about the same. The competing masculinities,further, prove their total disregard for women. In fact, the Russianambassador is inclined to believe that women were not capable ofreasoning and logical view of situation or understanding (Sheridan,1995). The ambassador, however, talks of his premiere as being aman, and it is apparent that he is grateful and secure that presidentis not a woman (Sheridan, 1995). The implication of the ambassadorwas that the two leaders, US president and Russian Premiere, wouldcome to a quick understanding and probably seek the best course ofaction for the ensuing destruction.

Similarly, women are also mentioned as a contingency plan for theapparent nuclear destruction of the entire world. Accordingly, theplan was to hide the selected women and men in a mine shafts, whichwere the only safe haven from nuclear radiation to save mankind fromextermination (Sheridan, 1995). It is rather absurd to see how thepresident, among other characters see nothing wrong withdiscriminating women and viewing them as sexual or reproductiveobjects.

There are also prove of incidences where men are embarrassed toaddress issues that relate to women. Such incidences of embarrassmentare not experienced when talking about other issues like war orcasualties of the same. In a nut shell, everything in the film ismale related and most of the tasks that they perform requiremasculine input (Sheridan, 1995). For instance, jumping from theplane while sitting on a hydrogen bomb is both cool and daring.

Women are entirely relegated to the periphery away from seriousissues of national concern. The film ranks high in the list of genderinsensitive productions, which fail to consider gender balance. Themilitary, the pilots, the president, the Premiere and the ambassadorwere all men, powerful men capable of influencing decisions thatcould change the lives of millions (Sheridan, 1995). The film isinclined towards the suggestion that no woman is capable of, or canbe trusted with such high steak responsibilities. For people who aregender sensitive, it might not be the best film to watch. However,the film provides helpful insights on the possible effects of nuclearweapons, which have the capacity of turning the entire world intonothing more that flames and smoke.


Sheridan, C. (1995). All’s Fair In War And Sex: Dr. Strangelove,Communication And The Primal Male Urges. Retrieved fromhttp://www.chrissheridan.com/kubrick/strangelove.html