As you can imagine, the entire theatre was comprised mostly of a female audience. There were a few guys scattered around, some looked miserable while waiting for the awkwardness of Magic Mike to begin and some were pretty cheery. We were seated next to two grandma’s who I’m pretty sure were in their late 70’s or early 80’s (it was hilarious. During the more raunchy scenes, they’d exclaim "Oh my!" several times).
I highly doubt anyone was there for the storyline but I had hoped there would be more depth to the plot. It ended up being a classic story of a flawed man who, by the grace of a good girl's love, turns his life around. The movie attempts to treat its main characters as individuals who grow through their experiences but on the whole, it wasn’t very convincing. So if you're looking to watch this movie for the story, don't bother.
Anyway, my curious feminist self was more interested in seeing how a film marketed as a stripper rom-com would treat gender roles and sexuality. This is my conclusion: it is hardly a revolutionary depiction of male sexuality or male sex work but it is the first film I can remember ever having seen that actually objectifies its male stars. So of course when Magic Mike came into production, almost every girl/woman I know was extremely delighted to finally see the tables turned.
“There’s no such thing as male objectification, and I think that’s what we’re exposing with this movie.”
—Joe Manganiello on Magic Mike [source]
You can argue on the existence of male objectification, but I think the point he’s making is that it’s not the same as female objectification. As we all know, the former is far less common. If you disagree, then think back on all the movies you have ever seen and count how many times there has been a fully nude or partially nude female scene verses a fully nude or partially nude male scene. Female nudity in films is highly sexualized and completely different from male nudity which tends to be thrown in to add humor and typically has no intention to arouse. Also, while Magic Mike intended to focus on male sexuality, it ended up having more female nudity than male nudity (back to the standard again).
So what does this all mean? Are we witnessing a change in movies in regards to male and female sexuality? Maybe. Will we see an equal distribution of both for future movies? Somehow I doubt it. I think movies will continue to be tilted towards dude-perspectives and mentalities, there will still be more female nudity with the intention to arouse, a mostly-female cast will still be considered a movie only for chicks (remember how much hate "Bridesmaids" got?) and cliches like the ugly dude scoring the hot chick will continue to exist. I think we have a long way to go until we reach an equilibrium.
My Rating For Magic Mike – 3/5