This weekend I found myself in a really bizarre position.
My husband and I were sitting on our couch talking, and while I was droning on about something, he was mindlessly scrolling through his Facebook feed on his phone. In the middle of one of my sentences, he let out a big, dramatic sigh.
“My friend just posted on Facebook about how she’s going to see Magic Mike and is just so excited about it.”
“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to blog about Magic Mike,” I replied, “so I’ll probably go see it. You know, for research.”
“Do you really need to see it for research? I mean, you know what it’s about.”
“Yeah, but I want to form an educated opinion,” I offered.
“No, you just want to go see someone you wish I looked like.”
Whoa. Pump the brakes there, Dan. You’re not allowed to be insecure about your body. I have a patent on that. That’s my job and you have no right to feel that way. I can drool over hot dudes all day and you need to be comfortable enough in your own skin to let me do that.
By the way, to catch you up in the event that you’ve been living under a rock: Magic Mike is a film in which Channing Tatum plays a stripper. That’s all I know about it. I assume there is some semblance of a plot, but honestly, who cares? It’s Channing Tatum! Stripping! No redemptive quality (read: art) required!
Like Dan’s, my Facebook feed is also all a-flutter with my friends posting about staring at a mostly-naked Channing Tatum for 110 minutes. And I mean, who could blame them? That sounds like it can’t be a bad way to spend a Saturday night, especially if you fork over the big bucks to see his junk in 3D.
I guess I can’t fault them for wanting to spend time gawking at a scantily clad man (whose abs are, to quote Emma Stone from Crazy, Stupid, Love, “basically photoshopped!”). Except for the fact that if this were a movie about a female stripper, we’d all be up in arms over it.
Could you imagine what our Facebook/Twitter feeds would look like if it was Magic Melissa instead? Starring, oh I don’t know, Rachel McAdams or ScarJo? I can’t help but think that things would look just a tad bit different. I have a feeling that my girlfriends, the same ones publicly proclaiming their overactive salivary glands over Channing Tatum, would be disappointed that, yet, another film has come out that hyper-sexualizes and objectifies women. How dare you, Hollywood. How dare you.
So why is it okay when it’s Channing Tatum? Why is it that we can objectify men without blinking but get pissed off when a female celebrity expresses some sort of sexual prowess, whether it be in a magazine or movie or what have you? And what about when a dude cat-calls us on the street? Typically, when this happens, we scoff, then publicly scorn the “damned media” and “society” for reinforcing the idea that objectifying women is okay.
Now. I’m not saying you’re a horrible person for wanting to see Channing Tatum strip. Please don’t get me wrong. I’d be lying (and also implying that the blood in my veins runs ice cold) if I said I wasn’t somewhat interested in seeing the movie. But what I am saying is that we can’t be pissed off about our men ogling over women in the media and then turn around and do the exact same thing. Either we love it, or we hate it. Either it’s acceptable or it isn’t. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too.
(Considering the subject matter, that’s a really awkward phrase to use. I apologize.)
What do you think about Magic Mike?
15 thoughts on “double standards for objectification — thoughts on “magic mike”.”
Good read! My wife and I are little older, so we are a little “out of the loop” when it comes to seeing a movie that is just about bodies and “hot people”. Having the few and far between “date nights” because of parenthood, we think long and hard about the movies we go to. It’s usually based on a classification: romantic comedy, comedy, suspense, thriller, etc. Never has “hot bodies” or “steamy” or whatever, entered the equation. I can just watch a beer commercial for that. I’ve found it a little depressing that our friends in the 35 to 40 plus age group are flocking to these types of flicks. Just my opinion, but I will never shell out $7.50 and two hrs of my time just to watch one actor or actress (not sure if Channing Tatum fits the description of actor). I was hoping this phenomenon would end with the gawd awful Twilight movies. Keep up the good work, and yes, there’s a huge double standard!! Can’t wait for the Dax blogs!
As I heard a friend say the other day, “until the salary gap is gone, we can ogle all we want.” Not sure I agree with that statement 100%, but it’s a good enough reason for me to buy a ticket. 😉
btw I’m totally all over your point. I’m just choosing to ignore it for a few hours.
boo. boo to that. if men aren’t going to fight for equality, we can’t use that as an excuse to be complacent with the way things are. it’s our job to stand up for what’s right, not find loopholes to uphold the twisted status quo.
I don’t go to strip clubs, so why would i go watch a movie set in one? That and the fact that my husband had similar sentiments to yours.
I always love your posts and this one is no different. We rarely go to see a movie in the theater and if we do Eric has been all over pluggedin.com to find out what’s being said about it. That and the fact that we pretty much are only interested in scifi or super hero movies and we’ve yet to see Avengers! I didn’t need to know anything about the movie before I formed the opinion of “really, 2 hours of men stripping? why would I want to watch that?”. It may seem silly, but I’ve always thought that if I can’t feel comfortable watching something with my mother in the room it’s probably not something I need to be watching.
Just so you know, I personally know of 4 women who went to Magic Mike with their mothers.
Good article, BTW!
I’ll be seeing the movie soon with a female friend. But the thing that bothers me is the sexist double standards that it’s creepy for men to watch porn or female strippers while it’s ok and “fun” for women to watch men strip, and especially the false but common idea that this is something “new.” Nonsense. Objectification of men has gone on for a long time, even before shirtless Charlton Heston.
The Cinderella story told bot sexes they had to be beautiful to be loved, and it gave males the added burden of performance and status. I can’t ever remember a movie in which the men in the audience were screaming at women, but I can think of lots of movies in reverse (New Moon, Troy, White Squall, Brave Heart, etc.), not to mention little girls screaming over Mark Wahlberg removing his clothes,etc. Even if it’s more common for men to go to strip clubs and watch porn, it is also seen as more seedy and they are looked on as creepy, while for women this is not the case. For any woman to watch this while opposing her man going with other men to watch women strip it utter sexism.
It is also sexism to assume the effects of body objectification are not significant for males. Young men are taking steroids and suffering from male body dysmorphic disorder and bigorexia nervosa, and young straight men have about as much eating disorders as women and gay men. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/153277.php
And there is no difference between young men and women in self esteem problems. http://scienceblog.com/46286/no-difference-in-womens-and-mens-self-esteem-in-youth-and-early-adulthood/
I completely agree with you. I know I’m just a teenage girl, but I have a lot of experience with sexism in my family. It was okay with all of my relatives for my (male) cousin to lose his virginity at age twelve, while I am currently being scolded by anybody and everybody for even thinking it’s okay to get a boyfriend at age fifteen. I’ve been with my boyfriend for about seven months now, and if any of my family members see us holding hands, they are quick to tell me how inappropriate it is. Of course, they all openly discuss how wonderful it is that my cousin (the same one who lost his virginity at twelve) is “widening his horizons” in women before he gets married. I honestly don’t understand their logic and reasoning. Anywho. Directly relating to this post, I agree with every word you said. I think it’s horrible how women say that we are “oppressed,” or whatever word they choose, because we’re viewed at sex-symbols, yet anytime they see a man, all they can say is, “Damn, he’s sexy. I wish he’d take his shirt off.” I’m not saying that all women are this way while saying it’s wrong for men to watch strippers and whatnot. I’m just saying that I wish the hypocritical women that are out there would stop being so hypocritical.
I think this post did a wonderful job of discussing sexism while staying mature. Kudos to you(:
you are wise for such a young age! and don’t say you’re “just” a teenage girl. you’re a powerful woman in training! proud to hear from you. 🙂
Thanks for such kind words(: I love your blog!
The film for comparison is definitely Showgirls, in all its campy glory. (It’s HILARIOUSLY bad.) You might be interested in Sociological Image’s review of the film, since it touches some of the same points you do: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/07/05/magic-mike-old-sexism-in-a-new-package/
As a straight male, I have no desire to see this movie even if there is a weak underlying plot. Whether gay or straight, I completely understand what you are saying. Personally, I think part of this is the lack of involvement in the familial backbone that the country once had. I have zero judgment, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened years ago if this movie was even discussed in pre-pre-pre-production. At some point, parents need to step in, turn off the music videos that solely serve a purpose to objectify women, and discuss with children the importance of young men displaying chivalry and young girls having a moral compass. I had a discussion with some friends recently and they mentioned that in fact this double standard is nothing new. The same caliber of “stripper” film known as “Strip Tease” (at least I think that was the movie) that came out in the 1990’s did infact cause a stir among feminist groups nation wide. Sadly, this may be a case of an “eye for an eye” or maybe a “movie for a movie”. (P.S. Diet Pepsi all the way… ;))