You might be wondering why you’re looking at these two particular movie posters, especially since Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey seemingly have no commonalities. I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken on that, and for that reason we’re going to delve into an unfortunate double standard that Hollywood, especially big budget films, perpetuates: Female Objectification versus Male Objectification.
These two movies are very similar in what they’re supposedly trying to sell us. They’re both aimed towards women, they’re both heavy on sex or the sexualization of its characters, both of them have a far more complicated plot than “Sex: The Movie” (regardless of your opinions on Grey, it’s true no matter how many ways you throw shade… pun intended), and both of them want you to believe that this film is going to change things drastically.
That last thing is wrong on all accounts. Tell me, in a movie about male strippers, how many times do you recall seeing a penis? How many times do you recall seeing a pair of breasts? If you’re counting Joe Manganiello’s scene I’m discounting points (because it was off center and blurry the first time and behind a curtain in shadow the second. It doesn’t count).
On the other hand, Olivia Munn (beautiful woman that she is who’ll be portraying Psylocke next year in X-Men: Apocalypse) bares her breasts, random extras bare their breasts, and if they could’ve gotten away with it Channing Tatum’s love interest would have bared them two minutes after the credits started to roll.
Whereas Fifty Shades of Grey, a movie based on a steamy book (based on Twilight, but no one sued so no one cares) which describes Christian Grey’s penis quite well (Jamie Dornan doesn’t even disappoint in this area if his modeling career is to be believed!), discounts all of the scenes in which it would have been appropriate and then went all out and bared Dakota Johnson’s breasts on several occasions.
Here’s the thing, I like both movies, but they’ve failed this industry and its targeted demographics. Please tell me, ladies and gay men, what do you want to see in a movie targeted towards you? That’s right, the man. If your movie is targeted towards a particular demographic, cater it to them. If this movie is targeted towards a particular demographic and is rated R, then why are you going to bare anything that is not targeted towards your demographic?
The simple fact is, a PG-13 movie can bare a woman’s breasts for upwards of ten seconds whereas an R-rated movie can get slapped with an NC-17 rating if it shows a man’s penis for more than five seconds. The normal arguments that moral guardians are going to make are sorely misguided. If you’re going to take your under aged (13-17) child to one of these movies and they’re scarred my male frontal nudity but not by female fronted nudity, you’re obviously holding on to a ridiculous social more that should be discontinued, taken out back, and shot like Lassie. The point of the R-rating is to show audiences anything short of full on pornography and in most cases male frontal nudity is played for laughs (I’m looking at you Seth Rogen and Jason Segel!).
Why is it societally acceptable for women to be naked on film and there be little to no groans but one man gets naked and suddenly it’s the Inquisition? Because even in films targeted towards women (and gay men) we’re in a male dominated society that is trying to tell us to sit down and accept being shovel-fed female nudity in film and deprived of that same equal treatment of men. It’s stupid, plain and simple. We say we are, but the fact of the matter is we aren’t. Film is representative of society and as such it portrays things based on what it believes we want. Unfortunately, Hollywood is run almost entirely by white men to the point where you have to struggle to find anything outside of that “norm.” This doesn’t mean that all films are controlled by white men, but if you look at the vast majority of production studios and find the true power… It explains why even movies targeting women still need to consider the white, straight male ego.
When I saw Fifty Shades in theaters I was distraught to find someone bringing a child (under ten) to the showing, I didn’t care that there wasn’t going to be male nudity to scar them, I was caring about the fact that this was a film that was unsuitable for someone of that age. If only because I wanted there to be male nudity in the film about sex (and romance, never forget the romance).
When I saw Magic Mike, a film ostensibly about male strippers that ultimately didn’t deliver on its promise. Yes I was pleasantly surprised that it had a decent plot and practical character development, all of which I would have accepted had it been advertised in the least, but all of which made me feel like I wasted ten bucks. I was promised a movie about male strippers. Breasts do not belong in a movie about male strippers. We’re here to objectify men and not women so why is it so hard (pun intended) to just sit back and f-ing do that in a movie advertised as Male Objectification: The Movie?
With the sequel coming out (and from what I’ve heard about XXL it also lacks any substantial in your face male nudity. I’m still going to see it because REASONS) for both movies, I think it’s time we challenge Hollywood to actually objectify the men as we’ve been told. Otherwise, I want an f-ing refund.