Magic Mike XXL And The Female Gaze

In the last couple of weeks this (female) Sloth has screened both Entourage and Magic Mike XXL, which to some extent can be seen as companion pieces to each other, being male and female skewed respectively. And our reactions to the two got us thinking.


For those of you who have not seen Entourage, we will summarise: young, male Hollywood hottie cruises around LA with his gang of pals, generally surrounded by pouting, large breasted dollybirds in various stages of undress:


For those of you who have not seen Magic Mike XXL we will summarise: gang of male strippers go on road trip, making regular stops to gyrate with puppyish enthusiasm in the laps of whooping, cackling women:


Now bearing in mind we are a female, heterosexual Sloth we should theoretically have lapped up (no pun intended) the oiled pecs of Mike and his crew and been filled with feminist ire at the jiggling cleavages gratuitously displayed throughout Entourage. But instead we found ourselves completely nonplussed by Entourage whilst frequently cringing with toe-curling embarrassment at Mike and co’s dry humping – to the extent of occasionally hitting the fast forward button.


Why so? Can’t be anything to do with the oft-cited theories that women are less reactive to visual stimulation than men – for if that was the case The Sloth surely should have been equally nonplussed by both. We can only conclude our reaction was down to social conditioning. Sexualised images of semi-naked women are saturated in cinema, the media, advertising, TV; omnipresent in all aspects of our culture. Yet to see semi-naked men displayed in mainstream culture purely for the purposes of heterosexual women’s objectification is not just rare, it’s virtually non-existent. So whilst highly sexualised images of women no longer merit even the tiniest raise of an eyebrow, the unprecedented sight of Channing Tatum in a cheesewire thong bumping and grinding to an audience of hundreds of women pulls the rug from under our social consciousness, leaving us confused and uncertain of how to react.


Now the facetious amongst you may be thinking ‘stop being so chaffing uptight and get down to a Chippendales gig already’, but we do think this is a depressing state of affairs. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not calling for men to start dropping their trousers and oiling up en masse, we’d just like a move towards a middling equality, beginning with changes in the depiction of women. If you haven’t done so already, may we urge you to sign the No More Page Three petition, which would be a start. Little acorns…

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