Every time I return from a work trip, I run to the movies. It´s like a passage, a filter, a space to relax and re-center. Nothing like a good cinema session – darkness, popcorn, empty head – to land and recover focus.
I did it again. I´ve returned from China (grateful for another marvellous work trip) and could think of nothing else except my beloved dark room where no agenda, responsibilities, computer or phone can enter. This time around, Magic Mike XXL was my (improbable?) choice.
As soon as I saw a group of hysterical teenagers, holding their cokes, their nachos with sauce and their popcorn, yelling in their annoying high pitch tone, I thought any perspective of a relaxing time was gone. I was right during the first 30 minutes of the movie. Then Channing Tatum – what a DANCER! – did his first strip-tease routine and everything changed: the silence in the cinema was so thick you could listen flies batting their wings.
I´ll be short and direct to the point: OMG!
Objective comment: Channing Tatum CAN D-A-N-C-E. Holly f…..k. Sorry, ladies, but nothing less than holly f…k will do.
The man has got the moves – all the moves. Although my idea of male strip was terrible – I´d asked an ex-boyfriend to take me, years ago, to a strip-tease club and I´d died of boredom and disappointment back then – , this movie reversed my opinion. Male – and maybe female – strip-tease can be AMAZING. I don´t mean the sleazy, terrible dance attempt mixed with 80s aerobics cliché moves we often associate with it but a brand new sort of strip-tease where DANCE is used in its most sensual, sexual and fabulous way.
Ai, ai, ai. Bring me a bucket of cold water, please!
The choreographies in the movie are fabulous and, make no mistake, you have to be a professional dancer to dig into something like that. No common stripper could ever do THAT. Then they add the sexy, sexual, sensual, sensorial, physical, soulful vibe to it and we have a recipe for Heaven.
Those girls, my loud companions in the cinema room, initially loud and hectic, became stunned, overwhelmed and silently disturbed as soon as Channing Tatum exploded on that screen. Forget about the screams, the giggling, the “I don´t know if I can handle this” nervous breakdown. They (we) were instantly dead.
As far as I´m concerned, I said “holly shit” about 100 times, at least. I wanted to laugh, you see? I couldn´t. I think I also wanted to cry, at some point. I couldn´t. My mind, my otherwise discreet hormones and the rest of my body were taken on the ride of a life time. And this is me, lucky enough to have had relationships with men who happened to be good, generous, attentive lovers. Now imagine women who had never experienced it. Poor ladies…I bet there were some strokes – loads of them – in that cinema room.
Multiply Outch! by 1000 and you´ll have a fair description of the movie.
Subjective comment: although we can easily label this movie as a chick movie (it is and it is not) with nothing more than incredibly sexy and skilled guys teasing our eternally famished desire mechanisms, the truth is this movie is way more interesting than that. It´s about desire and sexuality – FEMALE desire and sexuality. The desire that have been shamed and denied, bluntly or indirectly, for so long.
Men enjoy love and sex, not necessarily together. They see themselves as sexual beings and have no problem on assuming it. Women who assume their sexuality – or their joy in it – are usually labelled as loose and cheap, to say the least. A man who enjoys his sexuality, for the sake of it, is a stud. A woman who does the same is a whore at whom men and women, especially women, will point their accusing finger.
The great thing about the movie is the ability to bring back to the table the old tabu of women sexuality. Not women´s love life. Leave love out of this equation. When sex and love come together, it´s the perfect combination. I think we all agree on that – women and men alike. But sex for the sex is amazing, with or without love. Less than ideal, no doubt. But damn amazing. Men will agree, of course. Women will twist their noses and probably deny it. Of course.
Add the MALE OBJECTIFICATION to this recipe, will you?
Women as sexual objects that exist to provide pleasure to men have always been visible, celebrated and emulated. What about the opposite? Men as sexual objects that provide pleasure to women? What about them? Why is it all right for men to be the target of pleasure and not right for women? Why a female sexual object is socially accepted and a male is not?
I´m not saying men – or women – should be used as sexual objects. I don´t need to say it because they are, independently of my defense or attack. Agreeing or disagreeing that a part of us sees the other sex as an object, at certain times, in one way or another, doesn´t change the facts. Only someone who´s lying (or in denial) can honestly say she/he never sees the other as a sexual object.
Men have lust for women. Women have lust for men. Men can may go crazy with a pair of gorgeous legs, just as women may go crazy with a gorgeous chest or a pair of strong arms. It´s natural. It´s nature. Deal with it. We can run but we cannot hide.
Human beings are complex and have many sides. They´re animals and they´re god(desses) as well. Our sexual selves is an undeniable part of our Being (long discussion associated with Oriental Dance and the reason why it´s considered shameful until today). That´s how the species propagate. How we taste life, feel exhilaration, fall in lust – maybe love; maybe love & lust.
I adored the fact that the movie celebrates sexuality in such a good humored, uncomplicated and, yes, oh yes!!!, sexy manner. The fact that female sexuality is addressed as natural and beautiful, instead of a reason to burn us all in hell. The fact that men are there, for a change, pleasing women, fulfilling their phantasies and asking them:
“what do you want?”
Call me crazy but, for me, this is a feminist movie. Amazing male dance/strip-tease scenes (don´t try this at home kind of scenes). A luxurious pleasure trip exclusively handcrafted for women. A celebration of female unleashed, un-shamed, untamed (finally!) sexuality.
Oh, man. I´m still trembling.