A 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 film about strippers. My sister and I had gone to see it together for her 20th birthday (this is particularly amusing now, btw), and so of course, we made sure to wait to see Magic Mike XXL together, as well.

As I sat there, enjoying the manmeat feast unfolding before my eyes, I realized that I would have to write another blog post to update my opinions about the (now) franchise, taking back some of what I wrote. Because this is not some deep, tragic story about a lost kid…it’s an all-around good time.

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Enjoy, with excerpts from the original post in blue (but not the whole post because it was hellas long), my thoughts on Magic Mike (XXL).

Let me get the following facts out in the open:

  1. I saw Magic Mike XXL. 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.  Also for the characters who were actually very, very real and mostly very, very funny.
  5. I’m highly offended by the disregard for others that some (not all) women were including in their blog posts.
  6. I still 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 was (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? so I finally wised up and stopped trying to date guys who made me feel not good enough, because no one wants that.
  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. once created a lot of heartache for me, before I wised up and accepted that they’re the wrong type. 

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

Ahem.

Point One.

Women are sexual creatures, too, and we should be able to explore that without guilt. We are also QUEENS, as Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) encourages us to believe in the sequel, and we deserve to be worshipped a little bit for who we are. 

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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 pretty raunchy yet hysterical comedy with a decent story cute, surprising “bro movie” vibe that got them emotionally involved laughing so hard that they’re crying instead of merely sexually stimulated.

Done with that one, I think.

Point Two

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, except that all of us need to be Richie’s “glass slipper” – or even that girl in the convenience store, if you’re not into menfolk. Yes, that’s it. All of us need to be the girl in the convenience store.

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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, and a little bit jealous, too, even though I probably wouldn’t be happy with whoever you’ve picked because I’m me and you’re you. I’m just jealous of the contentment here.

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. It’s just not. Grow a brain if you need the “whys” explained to you – it’s 2015.

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 second 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. into as a person, a friend, and nothing more. And that’s refreshing. To see a movie that’s not about getting the girl – because, let’s be real, Amber Heard married Johnny Depp, so she’s good, thnx. Also, Jada Pinkett Smith is a total badass and I want to be her forever.

Point Three

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.  what it looks like when stripper bros who appreciate and respect women as human beings go on a “last ride” rode trip before hanging up their tear-away pants, and it’s fantastically amusing. (This one is all basically rewritten to apply to the new film – I took almost all the old stuff out.)

This premise of a “bro film” that’s also crazy-feminist was so unexpected that it took me about half the movie to realize what it truly was. 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.

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Instead of focusing only on the sexiness of the men or a love story, they made it all about these guys and their future, much like high school or college bro movies – these guys were celebrating the end of an era and having an amazing time doing it. 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, the women in this movie were treated with respect, “worshipped” as I said before, and portrayed just as real as the male characters. The conversations in this movie were very much like the awkward conversations you might have with someone in real life, not too glamorized for the big screen or stereotypical. These characters were real, and that made them super-relatable. Plus, the characters made fun of themselves – and laughed. A lot. Which made us laugh. Super-hard. 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. In fact, I encourage you to go see it – I encourage EVERY woman to go see it. Don’t judge a book by its cover, folks. This isn’t just a trashy movie, it’s a hysterical, pro-feminist bromance flick with awesome dance moves and some pretty sweet seductions. And anyway, everything Elizabeth Banks touches is gold, so there.

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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.

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