Penis pumps, patriotic thongs, bare bums, and clit teases are just a small taste of what Steven Soderbergh provides to his almost all-female audience of Magic Mike. Starring mega-built men such as Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Channing Tatum, the film itself proves that it is in fact possible to have a body with absolutely 0% body fat. But perhaps most importantly, it supports my firm belief that a box office hit can include half-naked men rather than half-naked women.
And half-naked they are, legs shaved, asses waxed, glittered pecks, and banana hammocked cocks, a truly “stand up” cast, to say the least. If I can remember correctly, the last time I felt this anxiously riled up in a movie theater was when I saw the premiere of Project X, a film about a couple of teenage boys who more or less throw the most noteworthy party ever. Indisputably, both movies embrace nudity, sex, deep thrusts, drugs, alcohol and over the top behavior that I wish I could have taken part in. As a matter of fact, I did.
Two years back, I went with my lovely mother to see Thunder From Down Under live in Las Vegas. The all-male, all-Australian revue featured unbelievably jacked blokes horribly tanned. Needless to say, they lacked the refined and subtle sexiness as exhibited by the men in Magic Mike. Instead, the Aussies captured a somewhat sleazy quality one might stumble across in porn. While that may have been their objective to get the ladies off, I personally lacked a wetness down under. I don’t get turned on by oiled up, hairless, overly built, J.I Joe look-a-likes, and I certainly don’t see how other women can either.
But perhaps that’s what makes Magic Mike so successful – these men, although undeniably attractive, look more so like average men than their Aussie counterparts. Matt Bomer and Alex Pettyfer are normally built and have an adorable boyish quality that I would love to take home with me. It also certainly helps that the boys of the film were laid out on the cutting room floor, edited, Photoshopped, and placed back together in perfect unison. Oh, the magic of post-production.
The work of editors aside, these actors provide their spectators with something extra special: their naked bodies. It’s these bare figures that brought thousands upon thousands of women (mothers and wives included) to the theaters. Sitting in the audience, I only spotted one man who seemed to lower his head down into his seat with the passing of every pelvic thrust and removal of clothing. Quite honestly, I was happy to see his painful discontent because frankly, it’s about time that women get a taste of what men are customarily given in movies, TV, magazines and porn.
From a feminist perspective, Magic Mike allows women to inhabit the position of the male gaze, a location that is typically occupied by men in NSFW medium. Accordingly, the production of a multi-million dollar film that replaces the typically objectified female body with that of a male allows women to figuratively take back their power. It’s not so much a matter of objectifying men for the sake of retaliation as it is creating a more even playing field. In my belief, this field should include full frontals on both accounts where women and men are naked for the same amount of time doing the same deeds. I say, patriotic thongs, bare bums, and glittered chests for all – it’s what Uncle Sam would have wanted.
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