Can anyone tell me how sexism was present at the movie Casablanca?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It should be noted that I think one would find it a challenge to really make a substantive argument that the message of the film is one of sexism.  One can find elements that might contribute to sexism, but it is really challenging to assert that this is central to the film's overall message.  Obviously, those looking for sexism would point to Ilsa's line to Rick, "You will have to do the thinking for both of us."  While this might be seized upon as an example of sexism, I think an equally compelling case can be made for how it shows two people in the midst of a hopeless situation.  One of them feels agonizing pain and looks to the other for relief.  Captain Renault's use and discarding of women to satiate his own sexual appetite would be another example of sexism.  Part of this might be cultural, as women were seen in these manners at the time.  Yet, I think that this depiction of women might be seen in a larger sense in that everyone during the time period was being objectified.  Laszlo is objectified as a saint, Rick as hope, and the Nazis as pure evil.  Yet, if I were looking for sexist elements, I might point to these events as evidence.