Study Guide

Chicago Sexuality and Sexual Identity

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

If Roxie Hart earned $1,000 a week in 1920, she would earn a little more than $12,000 a week today, accounting for inflation. We're not sure how much her monetary value as a vaudeville singer and dancer would change in almost a century, but one thing would most likely remain constant: her sex appeal.

Sex appeal is a currency in any industry, whether we want to admit it or not, and in no industry more than the entertainment industry. It's a business where you have to look good to succeed, and you have to succeed in order to afford to look that good. Chicago is a world of bribery and manipulation, and it shows us how important Roxie's sex appeal is to all these transactions.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. How do the women use their sexuality to their advantage before committing a crime? How does it compare to the ways they utilize their sexuality after landing in prison?
  2. All of the women—including Mama and the Hunyak—wear revealing outfits in Roxie's fantasy versions of them. Why are they sexualized too?
  3. In the fantasy sequence involving Billy Flynn, he removes his clothes. Is this sexual in nature? What is the intention of this pseudo-strip tease?

Chew on This

Like violence, sex is both condemned by and alluring to the public. The public and the press are drawn to its appeal.

While it may seem like Roxie is using sex appeal to her benefit (and in a way she is), she is still just a sex object.