Magic Mike And Feminism’s Double Standard


Ah, yes. Magic Mike. Two years ago on this day, Magic Mike was deemed the greatest thing since sliced bread. Deemed “The Cinematic Event of the Year” by the oh-so-trustworthy Jezebel, it was all my girlfriend would talk about for weeks on end. Thus, being the chivalrous man I am, I brought her to the opening.

Needless to say, the second the lights in the theatre dimmed and a very nude Channing Tatum popped onto the screen, the almost entirely female (save for the three dudes with their girlfriends who looked like they just wanted to be playing Starcraft) audience went wild. There was catcalling, jeering, and cheering alike. I was astounded by how the men on screen were being treated. Since when was openly objectifying someone politically correct? Is this whole harrumph about gender discrimination only pertaining to females?

If you asked most people, they’d probably get pissed off and go on a rant about how women are constantly objectified and some gobbledygook about male supremacy, and if you say otherwise you are a sexist, misogynistic pig who lives in his parent’s basement.

But let’s say this summer; a new movie comes out called Magic Mikayla. It’s a movie about female strippers, starring Megan Fox and Emily Ratajkowski. In the weeks prior to its release, all the men start planning viewing parties, much like the multitude of Girl’s Nights Out for Magic Mike. In no uncertain terms, we talk endlessly about how pumped we are to see this movie. We cancel our dates so we can see this movie together and ogle Megan’s boobs for 110 minutes. You know how this scenario turns out, right? Our girlfriends will be annoyed that we’re going to see this with our gross, leering friends. They’ll wonder how we could watch this filth and beg us to stop talking about this dumb movie that objectifies women.

Double standard, much?

Playboy. Girls Gone Wild. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Rap videos. Bill Clinton. Robin Thicke. Miley Cyrus. I hear you: We haven’t exactly made it easy on ourselves. It’s been a bro pornucopia for decades. No, centuries. No wait, millenia. No wait, an eternity. And now we’re seeing a tidal wave of self-realized women owning their sexuality, using power in numbers to bolster self-esteem and pride, feeding the collective nananana boo-boo we like guys that aren’t you. Of course, if and when Magic Mikayla hits the big screen, there won’t be any of that from us. Thanks to thousands of years of abusing our privilege combined with modern day’s politically correct landscape, we aren’t allowed to. Put simply, we’ve got to live with the hypocrisy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I fully support females, but is it fair that saying a word against women is considered “anti-feminist”, while movies like Magic Mike are being celebrated for the characters’ “assless chaps and butts that look like two glorious scoops of butter pecan ice cream.”? No, that wasn’t me over exaggerating; that came from a Thought Catalog article by Chelsea Fagan. Just imagine all the feminists who would blow up about the bigot who dares disrespect women if a man were to write about Scarlett Johanssen’s breasts in her latest movie.

So, why can women get away with treating men like AAA steaks, or rather, why can’t men do the same?

More and more, women are being encouraged to be strong and independent, and companies who discourage these ideas with anything relating to women and cooking are basically the feminist equivalent of Satan. Kudos to these women for having a newfound self-confidence, but this comes at the expense of men. When was the last time you saw an ad featuring a man without rugged Brad Pitt looks and washboard abs? Meanwhile, ads targeting women such as Dove or Tampax constantly celebrate “normal” women because that’s what women want to see nowadays. But what about what men want? Do the needs of the Average Joe not matter in comparison to Simple Sally?

What’s often unacknowledged is that men, too, are exposed to the unrealistic physical standards reinforced by media and pop culture. While it is perfectly acceptable, or perhaps even encouraged, for a woman to speak out against the rampant sexual imagery targeted towards her, a man who does the same would be told to “Man up” or to “Stop being a pussy”.

Over-sexualisation of men is an issue that deserves more attention. We must stop assuming that the struggle to maintain an idealized image is unique to women. Such attitudes promote traditional gendered stereotypes that’s damaging to both sexes. If what we’re looking for is gender equality, it should be applicable to both genders. Let’s all feel free to celebrate celebrities’ backsides together, or not at all.