The Society Pages:
Make no bones about it, this movie is all about reinforcing the notion that men are in control and men’s sexuality matters more. It baffles me that the filmmakers were so effective in conveying these themes in a movie about male strippers that a mostly female audience is eating up. Have we learned to devalue our own sexual pleasure so thoroughly that the scraps of het female sexual pleasure provided byMagic Mikefeel like a full meal?
Aside from the questionably-empowering viewer interaction with the film, the content ofMagic Mikeis old-school sexism wrapped in a new package. It reinforces prevailing notions of masculinity where white men are in control, both economically and sexually, and women are secondary characters to be exploited for money and passed around for male sexual pleasure.
Most of the women in the film are audience members portrayed as easily manipulated cash cows to be exploited for money. In one scene, the club boss, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) gets his dancers pumped up before a show by asking them, “Who’s got the cock? You do. They don’t.” Dallas has a running commentary that forcefully rejects the idea that female audience members are sexual subjects in the exchange.
Beyond the foundational theme of male control, many (but not all) of the simulated sex acts the dancers perform in their interactions with female audience members service the male stripper’s pleasure, not hers. Dancers shove women’s faces into their crotch to simulate fellatio, hump women’s faces, perform faux sex from behind without a nod to clitoral stimulation, etc. As a culture, we have deprioritized female sexual pleasure to such a great extent that these acts seem normal in a setting where they don’t make sense.
I saw Magic Mike (on opening day no less) and I find this review interesting. While I find the idea that we would expect a movie out of Hollywood to be free of critique, regardless of the content, its not like the point doesn’t still remain. While watching Channing Tatum try to twerk across the stage I couldn’t help but just thinking about the power dynamic of male strip shows.
It made enjoying the movie awkward - its not like I don’t watch problematic things, obviously I do, but like the article says its “sexism in a new package.” The movie gets “progressive points” from audiences because it is targeted to women and involves the non-conventional topic of male strippers. But after peeling back those layers I was just sitting there thinking about how this movie is talked about on CNN as great and Channing is awesome for his role and Go “Matthew Mcconaughey!” But the entire narrative goes from cute and provocative to perverse, pathological, and disgusting if it centered around anyone other than these famous white guys. Women strip? Sluts. Women of Color? OMG SUPER SLUTS. Men of color? Hypersexualized monsters. Channing Tatum? People were PROUD to watch this movie. Brought there parents and co-workers and shit.
and I’m just thinking all this while Channing is just shaking his crotch on screen. Mind fuck man.
Food for thought