Hi, everyone. If you're a straight woman or a gay man with cable TV and/or eyes, you've undoubtedly seen the trailers for Steven Soderbergh's new film, Magic Mike.
If you're a straight dude or a gay lady, you've probably seen it and shaken your head and wondered what's wrong with America.
Because ladies — of all varieties, thank you very much — are going buckwild over the gradually more provocative previews for this ridiculous new movie about male strippers.
On Thursday morning, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford were just giggling like day-drunk schoolgirls while the movie's star, Channing Tatum, was smiling his real-life-ex-stripper smile. Everyone in our office commented on what a "bro douche" Tatum looks like with clothes on, but everyone was still grinning from ear-to-ear.
The hysterical and honest writers at feminist magazine, Bitch, have fully embraced their "horndog" instincts and admit fully to objectifying the men of this film, especially cast member Joe Manganiello. They are right to point out that, even more than any other character in the film, Manganiello has gotten the most gratuitous publicity out of this pre-movie campaign.
Even though he's only in the movie for maybe one dance, the dude is seriously shirtless everywhere you look. (I thought I saw him working at a food trailer on East Sixth in Austin last night.)
So what has gotten in to American women that this silly film can so successfully tap in to what seems like centuries of repressed female sexuality? The film's "release" date (sorry, had to) brilliantly capitalizes on the recent, unprecedented flare-up of middle-aged sex talk in response to E L James's erotic novel, 50 Shades of Grey.
Suddenly, it was okay for women of all ages to start talking about their sexuality again. Popular culture was finally noticing that everyone — even your Aunt Doris — has "those urges." But most importantly, that that is OK and healthy and something to be celebrated.
The rhetoric of female sexuality is finally sharing the spotlight with the constant bombardment of male sexuality in pop culture. For a brief, quivering moment, at least.
Magic Mike is now giving women a delightful (albeit limited) opportunity to act like nasty, whooping pig-dogs like their straight male counterparts have done toward Natalie Portman, Elizabeth Berkley, Marisa Tomei and Demi Moore over the years.
Is it dangerous? Maybe. But in the same way that objectifying anyone is dangerous. Is it about time? Hells yeah.
This is also an important time to mention that the movie is also embracing its gay male audience and their open appreciation of its stars as well. Matthew McConaughey — never one to pass up a complement on his rock-hard body — told The Advocate he hopes the gay community will "come out in droves, because they won't be let down."
While marketing has largely been focused on women, this is a prime opportunity for theaters to also cater to another wealthy but regularly ignored demographic.
Is it really that revolutionary to make a movie about men taking off their clothes instead of women? The last movie I can think of that even featured male strippers showing off the goods was The Full Monty, that surprisingly charming British film about a team of pudgy, hesitant strippers raising money for chairty that was turned into a Broadway musical.
Magic Mike is, perhaps, the pumped-up Transformers-ized version of that sweet story of masculinity and pride. But in a seedy Tampa, Fla., strip club where dreams go to die.
I'm not even sure there is a plot line beyond the old "talented stripper wants to stop stripping and become a furniture salesman." (It's a re-tooled version of "steel worker wants to stop milling steel and dance!")
But let's be honest, no one is going to see this movie for the love story, the cinematography or even the talented acting abilities of the cast.
Everyone and (literally) their mother is really going to see chiseled abs and bouncing asses. (Here's what you're looking for, in case you don't already have these saved in your search history.)
Steven Soderbergh — the Oscar-nominated director of films like Traffic, The Informant! and Erin Brokovich — is a damn genius, I tell you. And he will be reaping the benefits for his foresight and his awareness of what America wants, and maybe needs, right now.
And then he will go swim in his vault full of gold coins, Scrooge McDuck-style. Hopefully that will make other directors and producers realize what a cash cow they've been ignoring all these years and start greenlighting more projects that celebrate every definition of sexy in America.
Now go buy your tickets so we can discuss it.