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Those 'imagine if Magic Mike was about women' arguments are unnecessary, here's why

Stop looking for a fight.

joe Source: Warner Bros

MAGIC MIKE XXL, the sequel to 2012’s Magic Mike opened in Irish cinemas yesterday.

If you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t read of DailyEdge.ie’s experience at the Irish premiere), it’s basically a film about a bunch of male strippers heading on a road trip to take part in an essential and important stripping convention. Sign us up!

It’s been well received, surprisingly well-reviewed, and of course has been the subject of arguments like this:

Can we just not? Just for once?…

Women have been objectified in film since film began

This doesn’t mean it’s tit for tat. It doesn’t mean that Magic Mike XXL is women ‘getting their own back’ or sticking it to the man, literally.

It’s just worth pointing out that because this film is now in our cinemas in front of our eyes, we don’t need to go out and make 15 films about female strippers (who will inevitably end up drugged/raped/killed or somehow punished for daring to be sexual) in order to restore some kind of objectification balance.

There’s no outrage over Magic Mike because there’s no need for outrage. There’s little basis for it. In fact, the only outrage is really the people calling for outrage.

Writing about her experience watching the first Magic Mike film, Lynne Enright of The Pool says:

The film objectified men in a way I had never seen men objectified and, for me, it was wildly empowering.


She says her mood was lifted, her confidence increased, there was a swagger in her step.

Is this what men feel like all the time, I wondered. Is this what living in a culture that objectifies the opposite sex will do to your self esteem? Amazing.

Is. This. What. Living. In. A. Culture. That. Objectifies. The. Opposite. Sex. Will. Do. To. Your. Self. Esteem?

That, ladies and gentlemen is a genuine question.

So now, three years after the first Magic Mike was released, can’t women be allowed to indulge in a sequel which boosts self esteem even more? Which does more to represent female desire on the big screen? Which, yes, objectifies men but does so in a positive light?

Your argument is boring and predictable

Tale as old as time.


Magic Mike XXL film which, for once, is all about female desire

How refreshing to see women enjoying and asking for sexual pleasure. Women of all ages and sizes. Magic Mike XXL is a film that cares about women; both the female characters and the women in the audience.

Roxanne Gay, writing for The Toast says:

This movie caters, at all times, to the female gaze. It is queer friendly. The movie embraces women of all sizes. The movie embraces consent and places and emphasis on women’s sexual pleasure.

Anne Helen Peterson, for Buzzfeed, says:

It’s a place in which consent is hot, erotics are fluid and nothing is as powerful as fulfilling a woman’s desires: physical and emotional.


And it cares about the men too

The male characters in Magic Mike XXL are caring, funny, sexy individuals. They have depth. You care about their friendships. They revel in pleasing the women they set out to please.

As Stacey May Fowles puts it in The Globe and Mail:

Magic Mike XXL conjures a very specific – and rare – kind of film fantasy, one where hard-bodied, heterosexual males enjoy a genuine intimacy with each other, admire women for their feelings and intellect and have a nice time at a raucous drag bar without breaking into a brawl.

Peterson points out:

Unlike the boys of Entourage, who sit as far apart as possible in their convertible, gazing out at possible conquests, the men of Magic Mike XXL squeeze in close, reveling in one another’s company. They don’t have big dick contests because everyone knows their dicks are big enough.


It doesn’t always have to be a fight

This isn’t a male versus female film. This isn’t a competition. Just because it’s a film about a type of sexual gratification, it doesn’t mean that one gender is getting one up on another.

The men in this film are likeable, strong, empowered characters. The women in this film are likeable, strong, empowered characters.

Stop looking for a fight.

23 honest thoughts we had at the Magic Mike XXL Irish premiere>

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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