The Internet echoed with the sounds of thumpa-thumpa strip club music as the trailer for Steven Soderbergh's hotly anticipated film Magic Mike hit the web last night. Why all the hype?
In case you were wondering.
The film, which is allegedly based on Tatum's life before he broke into acting in that one Mountain Dew commercial, is about a stripper with a heart of gold who is looking to find "love in a hopeless place." Full of shirtless dancing and Soderberghian cinematography, it's not surprising that this joint is blowing up on the web, complete with plenty of headlines like, "LET THE DROOLING BEGIN" that promise nude dudes oozing sex appeal and driving the ladies mad!
Here's the full trailer:
So what's behind this Magic Mike Mania? Why is everyone and their mother heading to the ATM for a stack of bills so they can make it rain when this film hits the big screen?
Well, there's the obvious: This film is full of hot dudes, and even though Hollywood might not like to acknowledge it, folks who are into beefcakes do indeed buy movie tickets. A lot of movie tickets. This dude-loving demographic also blogs and tweets a lot, thus contributing to the beefcake frenzy.
There's also the fact that this movie is about strippers and strip clubs, but audiences can watch said stripping from the comfort of the movie theater. Going to a strip club to get turned on might be unacceptable in your social circle, but going to a movie probably isn't. It's all of the sexiness without the slut-shaming! (If you don't think slut-shaming is a theme in this movie, consider the female love interest, played by Cody Horn. You know, the one who doesn't like Mike's "lifestyle" because good girls don't go to strip clubs.)
This film isn't just about sex workers though, it's about male sex workers. The gleeful response to the trailer and the frowny-faced "unfortunately he doesn't show his peen" critiques would look a lot different if this film were about women. In fact, they did look a lot different when this film was made about women. Because white, straight men are rarely objectified in pop culture, films that subvert the male gaze and encourage the audience to objectify them, which this trailer most certainly does, are rare. While there's nothing wrong with a little striptease, it's worth considering how audiences would respond if Magic Mike were a person of color or a woman.
That being said, I'll admit it: I am one of those people who is losing their shit over Magic Mike. I love Soderbergh, I love dance movies, I love it when the male gaze is subverted (even if it's in a decidedly heteronormative and whitewashed way), and I really love it when Matthew McConaughey plays a charismatic sleazeball (see also: Dazed and Confused, Eastbound and Down). The sex-worker-looking-for-love trope is a well-worn one (as is the sympathetic guy who makes furniture), but I can't help myself here. The lights! The boat party! The worm! Maybe it should come as no surprise so many people are dying to see this movie.