What's so magic about Magic Mike?

So, I finally got around to watching Magic Mike. Honestly, it wasn't on my to-do list or anything, I'd just had a rotten day and I thought it would be a lighthearted romp with a few sexy abs to cheer me up. What I got was ... a little distressing. And not just because there was very little plot, an enormous amount of mumbling, and almost every scene seemed to be tinted green, but because there was more female frontal nudity in the movie than male nudity! Excuse me, I thought I signed up to see a movie about male strippers? But in the very first scene, almost the first minute of the movie, I have to see breasts - Olivia Munn's breasts, to be exact. But, I'm no prude, and I assumed I'd signed up for a movie with a lot of nudity and probably a lot of sex, so I honestly didn't think too much of it.

So I was watching the film and trying like hell to decipher what on earth Matthew McConaughey was saying, and I realized, I am not seeing nearly as much nudity as I expected. Yes, there were a lot of shirtless scenes, and yes, there were a few flashes of ass cheeks. I know most male strippers still keep on a G-string and I didn't really expect Hollywood actors to show full frontal (let's face it, that's pretty rare). But then, in the middle of the movie, more breasts! Why am I seeing more naked women than naked men in a movie about male strippers? This was clearly a movie geared towards women. There was no real NECESSARY plot point that had these women shirtless.

I have to say, I was most surprised by Olivia Munn, who is naked more than once. She is more famous than the female lead (who, to my knowledge, has never been in anything before), who never came close to taking off her clothes. Why would Olivia Munn sign on to be a throwaway character who shows her boobs in a movie geared towards women?

But since I can't sit down with Olivia Munn or Steven Soderbergh and ask them about this "creative decision," I am left wondering about the state of Hollywood and entertainment today. How have we progressed so far on so many social issues, like showing interesting and complex gay characters and couples, and yet women still seem to get the short shrift in films? I heard the other day that women only get 20% of the major speaking roles in movies. If this is true, what does it say about what women are doing in film - because apparently, they're not talking.

Even in movies geared towards women, I really have to wonder about how women are being portrayed. Take Bridesmaids, for example. I would've really loved that movie if it weren't for all the gross-out parts (and you KNOW what I am referring to). Or Pitch Perfect- a sweet, simple comedy with talented people, that has so many puke scenes, I almost turned it off. Is this what women really want to see in their movies?

I feel like Hollywood is saying "well, we know we want women to see these movies, but women just aren't ENOUGH. We have to find a way to get men to see these movies, too - or at least entertain them when they're 'dragged by their girlfriends'" (because don't you know men will only see movie with women in them if they're dragged, kicking and screaming? I feel like women are getting more and more marginalized in Hollywood. Sure, you can always find the exception to the rule, but when you step back and look at the big picture, what is you're seeing?

I am just glad I didn't see this movie in the theater. I waited until it was on cable, so while it made some money off my watching it, it wasn't a big chunk!


Taylor is currently living in Dayton, OH. She can be found expanding her horizons at www.pickygal.com


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