Kara ----------
Mr. ------
Honors English IV
5 February 2024

M*A*S*H & Misogyny

The way women are treated in M*A*S*H is incredibly objectifying. Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan is often treated with disrespect by her inferiors, displaying the misogyny of those around her. The male characters consistently sexualize and mistreat the female characters and even the women villainize each other. Women in M*A*S*H are objectified and looked down upon.

Firstly, Margaret's nickname is already a red flag. Throughout the entire script, she is referred to solely as "Hot Lips," Her real name only being stated through dialogue. This nickname aligns with how the other characters view her, as well as potentially the writers of the show, people predominantly men. Despite being ranked above the others, they don't treat her as such and only ever seem to view her in a sexualized manner.

Hawkeye views Margaret in this way. When she tells him to stop thinking of her as a woman, as it's affecting how he treats her, he replies, "Don't stand in profile." Only moments after this, she reminds him of his rank below her, to which he says, "Only in my dreams." He plays down her rank to show that he doesn't see her as such and can only view her in this objectified way. As she works on changing a tire, showing no signs of struggling, Klinger and Hawkeye continue to crack jokes, making her out to be nothing more than a weak, fragile woman. Although she has proven herself to be strong and capable, they still can't seem to grasp this idea.

Trapper and Frank also only seem to see her as an object to be sexualized. Despite Hawkeye telling Trapper that he and Margaret did not sleep together, he doesn't believe him. "A man and a woman can have a constructive relationship built only on mutual respect," Hawkeye tells him. Trapper responds, "Of course... but how was it?" Frank asks Margaret similar questions when she returns, asking if Hawkeye exhilarated her after hours. He also treats her very strangely, telling her, "I was so jealous. I missed you so. I slept with one of your boots under my pillow."

The other women also treat Margaret poorly. In the episode The Nurses, an episode written and directed by women, they see her as rude and don't include her in their activities. It also appears that all the men call Margaret by her name, while the other women are the ones to call her "Hot Lips." After getting kicked out of her tent by some of the lower-ranking men and having to stay with the other women, she expresses to them that she just wants to be included, that she feels like she doesn't fit in with the men or women, that she'd be nice to them if they'd just be nice to her. After this interaction, the other women make sure to include her and she doesn't write them up for breaking rules.

M*A*S*H's treatment of women displays misogyny and objectification. Women in the show are consistently objectified by the men, no matter their rank. The men view the female characters as nothing more than objects of their attraction. The women view each other negatively. Even when the female characters show how they are capable, they are still seen as weak.