Come on, guys.

When you saw the blogs about how awful Magic Mike is for society or religion or southern gentlemen or kittens or whatever, you had to know that this was coming.

I’m not going to give you a disclaimer about this post. I’ve read too many blogs railing against this simple stripper movie that begin “I know I’m not going to make any friends by doing this, but…”

Yes, you are going to make friends and you know it. That’s why you’re writing it. So that you can find others who agree with you and tell you that your opinion is correct.

I’m not judging you for that – or if I am, I’m also judging myself –  it’s what we all do! It’s what I’m doing right now. I’m just up front about it.

Now, I do have facts that will make it easier a) for me to organize my arguments and b) for you to understand them.

Let me get the following facts out in the open:

  1. I saw Magic Mike. At the midnight premiere, actually.
  2. I liked it.
  3. For the sexy men, yes.
  4. But also for the plot line and character development.
  5. I’m highly offended by the disregard for others that some (not all) women are including in their blog posts citing .
  6. I hate it when people say that they’re not judging you, but them tell you that what you’re doing is wrong, it makes you a bad person, ruins your relationship with your husband, distances you from your preferred deity and leads to a life of sordidness. Because that’s definitely not judging.

Now. Let me also include these facts that are about me in general:

  1. I’m all for freedom of speech, even when I don’t agree with what you’re saying.
  2. I also respect your right not to be harrassed on your personal blog, which is why I’m ‘responding’ on my own.
  3. I can’t stand it when members of my sex judge our fellow females in a public forum (we all do it in private – we all must admit that).
  4. “My type” of guy is (usually) the wholesome, sweet, high-morals boy that everyone wishes their daughter would date. Sweet and innocent and god-fearing and as boring as hell, but it’s what I’m attracted to, what can I do?
  5. These aforementioned boys create a lot of heartache for me. In fact, many of my friends will steer me away from them to protect me.

Okay. I think I can safely proceed. I have three points of contention to address.

I happen to love Magic Mike for both its actual content (sexy, sexy men who have some serious moves) and for the idea it promotes – that women are sexual beings too, and yeah, we like a little eye candy.

If you object to all strip clubs for all people, okay. I respect that. I have lesser beef with you. But if you have a stronger objection to male strip clubs because women should be able to ‘control themselves’ better…or because you are a woman who doesn’t get the attraction yet will concede that men are inherently more sexually needy therefore must have these little places to go, then yes – we have a problem.

Ahem.

Point One.

Credit to our.city.lights on flickr for the Creative Common licensed photo.

Women are sexual creatures, too, and we should be able to explore that without guilt.

I know that to many people who still take issue with this, it seems like this is being disgustingly proven every single day what with 50 Shades of Grey and all those Ryan Gosling tumblrs. And it’s becoming more acceptable. Yes.

My point is that this whole “out in the open” thing about female sexuality is a good thing. And if you’re not ready for it, okay. Go at your own pace. Just know that I’m not slowing down for you. You don’t have to be happy about it, but don’t take it out on those of us who are.

And for the record? Even though we DO like the man-candy, maybe some of your friends are covering up the fact that the thing is actually a decent movie with a decent story that got them emotionally involved instead of merely sexually stimulated.

THAT is the difference between Striptease and Magic Mike. The depth of plot and character development. And lack of boobs. Plenty of ass, still.

Done with that one, I think. So I can now move on to the frustrating thing for me in this whole “high horse” scenario. Because I feel like these arguments are coming from a place where the bloggers and article writers are comfortable in their opinions.

Great! Have your opinions. Just realize that as you voice them…well…they may be right for you, but not right for everyone.

Take the whole “it’s leading you away from the right kind of man” argument I’ve read on three different sites now.

As I mentioned before, I get burned by these very sweet, very morally sound boys all the time. And it’s extra hard, because they always manage to do it in a way that makes it clear that they a) genuinely care about my well-being, b) wish it could work out, and c) can’t help what went wrong.

It’s not the guy’s fault. We’re just not compatible. Sure, we may have chemistry and get off to a great start, but it’s always headed nowhere fast. Ultimately, the fact that I abhor organized religion despite being a very faithful person, or perhaps that I don’t want to raise children from infancy, or my inability to defer to them ever to preserve their precious masculinity, or even simply that our politics don’t match becomes too much for them to handle – in a romantic relationship or just a friendship.

The BIG problem is that while I can admit it’s not their fault, they can’t admit that it’s not mine. If I could just do this or be that or agree with them a little more…yeah. That’s not going to happen. Popeye and I agree on this point: I yam what I yam. And that isn’t good enough for them (or their friends, btw).

So when you say that Magic Mike promotes a distorted view of men and what to expect in a relationship, you’re forgetting a big part of the argument.

Point Two

Credit to Marquette La for her Creative Common licensed photo.

Your ideal man is not everyone’s ideal man. Even if we like them – they can’t be that perfect guy for us because we’re all individuals who have different needs and wants for our lives.

So to those of you who have found happiness with men who are the exact opposite of those stripper characters you think you know without seeing the movie: congratulations. And I do truly mean that. I’m happy that you’re happy.

But please, don’t assume that the choices that the rest of us make in who we date or even what film we see is a lesser choice than yours. Even if your choices are more in line with your religious text, that doesn’t give you a right to impose your judgement on our lives.

I want happiness for myself, too. Just in a different brand. Preferably a man who’s comfortable with my independence in life, my desire to help others for my own reasons and no one else’s, my love of dogs, my incessant movie quoting, my not-so-secret wish to play Ke$ha at my wedding, and yes, my sexuality, too.

And for those of you who haven’t seen the movie – there happens to be a grounded, independent female character in the movie that our “hero” (if we can call a 30-year old male stripper that) is interested in. And why does he care about her? Because she’s real, independent, and knows what she wants out of life.

And him wanting this woman when he can have all the booty he wants any night of the week? I can honestly say that it was sexier to me than the all the scenes of stripping in that movie combined.

This last point, I have strong emotions about but they aren’t ones of indignant anger…more…sadness. So I’ll keep it simple and plainly stated.

Point Three

Credit to velo_city for the Creative Common licensed photo.

The movie actually shows how a young guy with no direction can get sucked into a way to make money quickly if he compromises what he knows is right.

And it doesn’t glamorize it…that much. It is Hollywood, but with a dark side. So to those of you who say that it’s all about making guys want to be this and women want this…it’s more than that. Not that the trailers really show you that, you’d have to go see the movie to learn that.

Alex Pettyfer plays a 19 year-old kid who dropped out of college, has no direction, and somehow randomly ends up meeting Mr. Tatum and integrating himself into the Kings of Tampa. He heads downhill with the alcohol, the women, and even the drugs pretty quickly. And without revealing the whole plot, I can say with confidence that writers never intended for it to glorify the male stripping industry.

Though they did OBVIOUSLY intend to make a helluva lot of money by getting sexy stars to take their clothes off on film and doing the easiest marketing job in the world.

The thing is, I never found that kid sexy in the movie once I realized what kind of character he was…because in him I saw what I fear for my students. NOT because stripping is that horrible (even though it isn’t great) but because of the wasted intelligence, the lawlessness involved in the extra curricular parts of the job, and the painful lack of purpose in this kid’s life.

What’s going to happen to my bright little kids once they leave my influence? What if they end up just as lost as this boy on the screen?

Seriously? I cried a little. In the theater. No joke.

So there you have it – my defense of not ONLY the movie, but also the women who choose to go see it.

To lighten the mood after that last point, I’ll leave you with this delightful clip. Because, as I noted, this blog is defending the movie and a woman’s right to see it.

Oh, and also because I’ve always loved this song and now I love it even more.

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About Imagine Truth

We seek to learn, and when academics do not present the answers, we look inside our own beautiful imaginations for the key.

3 responses »

  1. Sarah Koci Scheilz says:

    When I read this line — “What’s going to happen to my bright little kids once they leave my influence? What if they end up just as lost as this boy on the screen?” — I immediately thought of the HIMYM episode when Marshall is afraid of having a daughter because she could grow up to be a stripper, date Barney, marry Barney, etc.

    I’m so glad you brought this point up. Clearly, there are so many points on the spectrum between inherent disapproval and overwhelming enthusiasm for the Magic Mike aspects of our society. But many arguments miss (and thankfully, yours didn’t) the important fact that everyone involved is a person, with a family, a personality, a mind and much potential. That very facet should change the way every argument looks.

    Love you, friend, for ideas that are both bold and well-argued. xoxo

  2. […] I’ve blogged about Magic Mike, sexy songs, and 50 Shades of Grey. But even more recently, I’ve received a rather […]

  3. […] little over three years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “In Defense of Magic Mike” wherein I explained, rather impatiently, why I was so upset that people were so upset by a […]

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