Summer movies are known for being big budget blockbusters. From the release of “Jaws” in 1975 to the release of “Marvel’s The Avengers” in May, these movies have normally been aimed at the male demographic. Nowadays, the studios tend to try and cast good-looking guys like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth or Johnny Depp so that women at least have some eye candy, but usually the plots of these movies are aimed right at the boys in the audience.
That is all about to change with “Magic Mike”, which is out in theatres nationwide on Friday. Set in the world of male strip clubs and loosely based on the pre-film career of star Channing Tatum, “Magic Mike” seeks to give women something to woo about in a summer filled with super heroes and aliens. In addition to Tatum, the film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer (“White Collar”), Alex Pettyfer (“I am Number Four”) and Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”).
The release of this movie brings up many interesting questions about the double standard set by Hollywood and upheld by society. Since the early days of film, movies have been a male dominated world. In fact the eye of the camera has often been considered a kind of metaphor for the male gaze in a voyeuristic society. Women have been sex symbols in movies for as long as there have been women in film.
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Of course, it’s always been a little more socially acceptable for men to be drooling, cat-howling perverts. Mainstream pornography is as big today as it has ever been. Men have been going to strip clubs for as long as women have been willing to shed their clothes for a few crumpled up dollar bills. The flip side to that is there are strip clubs, for women, featuring male dancers. You just don’t hear about them as often. Maybe it’s because there is more of a taboo or maybe it’s because women don’t like to admit they might actually prefer a side of beef as opposed to the sensitive guy who doesn’t quite have it in the looks department.
“Magic Mike” is doing something that is a rarity. It’s allowing normally reserved women to come out of their shell and show that women, deep down, may be just as big of perverts as men. Since the theatrical trailer began screening a few months ago, women are chomping at the bit to see these pretty boys strip down and shake it on the big screen. At the same time, it’s turning normally secure men into jealous and nervous little puppies. Publicly, men aren’t going to admit any of this but there is a definite war brewing as this film nears release.
Of course, Warner Bros. is running an ad campaign with a tagline that boasts, “Your boyfriend will seem inadequate”. That may have something to do with it. On the other hand, what if there was a movie about female strippers featuring Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana and Brooklyn Decker with the same tagline about wives and girlfriends? Would it go over as well? You probably wouldn’t have as many husbands freaking out the way women seem to be over the possibility of seeing Tatum, McConaughey and company prancing around in their speedos and maybe even less.
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If men were having seizures over the possibility of seeing Scarlett fully nude and giving some dude a lap dance and then had the audacity to tell his wife, “Sorry baby, you just don’t compare”, wouldn’t he be looking for a new place to live? Probably. Then again, that’s what is part of the crazy fun about the phenomenon that is “Magic Mike”. Women have always claimed to be more reserved and sophisticated when it comes to sexuality. The secret is out: they might even be worse than the men.
Ladies, “Magic Mike” will hit theatres on June 29. You can check out show times in Kansas City by hitting up your local Cinemark Theatres or AMC Theatres or at one of the local drive-ins; Boulevard Drive-In or I-70 Drive-In.
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