Is Magic Mike XXL Sexist?

download (2)After work on Saturday, my wife asked me to go to the drive-in. I love the drive-in. Did I mention that?

Anyways, the new Terminator was playing and after that, Magic Mike 2. I figured ‘happy wife, happy life’, right? I can take a few hours of bad movie.

Now, I’m going to get this out of the way right from the beginning – I thought the movie was all kinds of mind numbing boring.  There was really no plot or story line; no real action and once you’d seen the first dance, you’d seen them all. Every dance resembled the one you’d seen before. The characters weren’t all that great. I was constantly annoyed by Mike’s need to always keep his ball cap on at a weird angle.

About a half hour in I started to develop a headache. To be fair, it wasn’t just because of the movie. I was tired and that was probably the main cause of the headache but Magic Mike 2 certainly wasn’t helping the situation any. I kept wondering when the story line was going to pick up. When was the movie going to start?

By about the middle of the movie, I started wandering off in my thoughts. I’d realized this was as good as the movie was going to get. It was a war of attrition and I was hell bent on winning.

But what I started to think about was this: if this were a movie about a bunch of female strippers, would it have been received the same way as this movie?

I think not.

If this movie featured females showing off near-impossible bodies, stripping for men and pretty much being their play-thing, I’m fairly certain it would be labeled sexist. After all, those men are just as objectified as any woman in a similar movie. Every time I read a feminist article, I can find out how men objectify women. Is this movie not the same thing but in reverse?

I mean, you can’t tell me the movie was big because it has a stellar story line.

So I did a google search and not much is being said about the objectification of the male body, with a few exceptions, such as this one:

I’ve read several pieces about how the objectification of male bodies in Magic Mike is often more funny and ridiculous–or cringe-worthy–than it is sexy; how the film purports to glorify female pleasure but is, in fact, simply traditional, male-dominated sexism in a new package (yes, “package”); how the fervor of female moviegoers surrounding this film (and, for that matter, the Fifty Shades book series) not only suggests that ladies haven’t been getting what they need in the bedroom, but also heralds the arrival of a new cultural era that acknowledges, and even caters to, female pleasure.

But discussion of the moral implications of drooling over the on-screen washboard abs has been strangely absent from the conversation.

I imagine Magic Mike and Magic Mike 2 are around for the same reason that films featuring over-sexed female cast members exist – sex sells. That’s what people want to see. As long as it sells, it will continue to be made.

But let’s not pretend like Magic Mike films aren’t just as sexist as some other movies. If you’re talking about putting undue pressure on women to look a certain way through popular media, Magic Mike does that to men in spades. It talks up how women aren’t getting what they need in the bedroom. It shows off male bodies that just aren’t realistic to most men. I could work out constantly and probably never achieve the type of body highlighted in Magic Mike. And it also showcases women basically throwing themselves at these guys (sexist to both males and females) because they look nice and muscular.

Sex and sexism are everywhere. That’s because they sell movie tickets and pack people into theaters. Hell, I just wish it didn’t have to be as mind-numbingly boring and predictable as Magic Mike 2.

Can someone pass me the remote, please?

*click*

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9 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen the first one and will not see the second one for the very reasons you state here. First of all, it’s just a bunch of sparsely dressed men with six-pack abs stripping down for women to ogle. I can’t imagine what the plot line might even be other than what you’ve mentioned here. I gathered just from the advert it takes a swipe at the male performance in the bedroom. Now, films like this have been made for eons about women, so I guess turn about’s fair play? It just doesn’t appeal to me for the same reasons that female movies of the same genre don’t.

    I am a feminist. That means I want equality. I want equal and fair positive treatment of all genders and races – not equal degradation, sexism, and racism. That misses the point entirely. But somehow I don’t think these films are intended to appeal to anyone’s moral or ethical principals.

    • The main ‘plot’ is that they’re going to take a last kick at the can and enter a dance competition, but their MC gets hurt so they have to find another one first.

      Really…no plot.

      I guess turn about is fair play. I think sex sells and no matter how much we wish it were otherwise, we will continue to pump movies like this (and female versions of it as well) because it’s what we as a society want to see. I just don’t like to see the hypocrisy play out when people scream about men objectifying women, while totally ignoring movies that do the same to men like Magic Mike and 50 Shades.

      Like you, I thought it was about equality. I applaud your stance and agree completely with your assessment.

  2. I had the same thoughts when I saw the previews for these movies. I mean sure I like to see sexy men dance around mostly naked. But at the same point I’m not one of those females that goes around screaming this is sexist and I feel violated. I think that if you are comfortable with yourself and this is the kind of entertainment you want to put out, then the ppl that like this should go watch. If you don’t like then don’t watch. But let’s not cry it’s sexist or explotive…the ppl in the movie knew full well what kind of movie it is. Just as women who prance around on screen mostly or completely nude. IDK to each their own. PPL in general should stop being offended.

  3. Hahaha, no lie, I tried to get some women together to see this… Would u believe it was not showing in a single damn theater within an hour drive??!! Hmmmm, Maybe the male theater owners didn’t want to feed into our sin of lust!! Lol

    I’m with Arian, I don’t scream sexism eithers. I enjoy looking at the female form as much as I like looking at the male form. If i dont like the message being sent, I don’t see it. I think women cry sexism because we are often bombarded with unrealistic images of what is “beautiful” and “sexy”. We should do a better job of putting forth the right message, it’s not that we don’t want the female form to be sexified (lol is that a word) but that only, 5’10” 110lbs is sexy. All shapes and all ages are sexy and i think it would be great to see that message out there more.

    I think movie producers and companies would be shocked at the positive feed back if they didn’t use body doubles, or didn’t photoshop , or just used normal looking people. Washboard abs are nice, but I kinda like that little extra to grab onto… And I’ve heard men say the same, they like that little extra lol

    BTW, if u don’t want to pay to see the movie, just YouTube the dance scenes… U get the benefits without paying for it or sitting through the boring dialogue!! Ha ha

  4. As a man who is not particularly attractive and absolutely not as ripped as the men in this film: I don’t care that women watch this movie and ogle over society’s definition of male attractiveness. Enjoy the film ladies.

    However, women would not want me enjoying a similar film starring very thin ladies with huge boobs and butts. Why is that? Do these feminists hate my sexuality? Do they hate that I’m attracted to society’s stereotype of female attractiveness? What exactly is it that they’re upset about?

    I really don’t know. Most men don’t care that the ladies enjoyed this film and it got their juices flowing. You make a movie directed at men with very thin, very hot women following the same story and plot as Magic Mike, and all of a sudden a sizeable amount of women would go ballistic! The internet would be full of blog posts pointing out the sexism. It may very likely even make national television news if it’s a slow news day.

    My question is, why? Why can’t men enjoy a female version of this movie?

  5. Just found this, and reading the comments, solidified what I have always felt about guys who go ON about six-pack abs and that polished rock hard body. yawn. For me that mentality is more about the guy himself than any impression he makes on a woman. In order to get to that stage you need to be almost totally obsessed with yourself, your workouts, your muscles. And once you get there, what do you DO with all that glory?
    Ive known guys like this, and most of them rank up there with the fella who spends most of his life in Mom’s basement, building his model railroad.

    And have you ever TOUCHED a guy with 6-pack abs? It’s like patting stone, lol. There is (at least from this perspective) nothing sexy about a man like that, and I would fear for my life at certain intimate moments with Hulk looming over me. No.

    It may be that some women are so unsure of their own sexuality or appearance that someone going on about hot women in movies makes them feel as if the convo just got personal.

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