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The Hypocrisy of 'Magic Mike'

There was an interesting orbit of events last Saturday night, in places both near and far, all of which cosmically tie to Channing Tatum’s six-pack.

Orlando, FL: I'm lounging in a hotel room with friends and family. A young woman we’ll call Britney mentions that she’s going to see Magic Mike with some girlfriends Thursday night. Someone asks Britney if she really wants to see the movie. Britney responds with an emphatic, sing-songy “uhhh-huh,” the kind of “uhhh-huh” you hear on TV commercials when the voiceover asks the actress if she’s interested in a cream that exfoliates and moisturizes. I should mention that Britney’s “uhhh-huh” was deployed within two feet of her husband’s ear.

Melbourne, FL: Back in my hometown, an hour away from the hotel, our babysitter takes our boys Jackson and Tanner to a local restaurant. The babysitter runs into a family friend of ours, a dad who’s out to dinner with several other men and a gaggle of children. The dad mentions that all the moms are out seeing Magic Mike, so the guys have the kids tonight. Our babysitter asks if he can watch our kids too.

Everywhere else, USA: Wives, girlfriends and single ladies everywhere leave their husbands, boyfriends and nobody special behind to see Magic Mike, the new movie set in a male strip club starring Tatum and Matthew McConaughey.

Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Sex, Lies & Videotape), made a huge debut over the weekend, raking in $39.4 million. And it's set to rip the rhinestone-studded, tear-away pants off July 4th weekend. My wife currently has two invites to a Magic Mike night. So does her sister-in-law. So does her sister-in-law's sister.

We are in the golden age of mom porn. The Fifty Shades trilogy has surpassed 10 million copies sold worldwide, and Magic Mike is looking to become the biggest R-rated, G-stringed movie of all time. It’s literally a mom pornucopia.

Moms are forming Fifty Shades posses, trading tattered copies and gossiping by the color copiers at work. Moms are planning Magic Mike parties, and aren’t inviting the dads. (And why not? We read Playboy for the articles, and we see Magic Mike for the previews.) And they're doing all this while letting the husbands, boyfriends and nobody special know just how “uhhh-huh” these things are.

So try this on for size.

In a couple months, there's a new movie coming out called Magic Monica. It’s a movie about female strippers starring Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. In the weeks prior to its release, we start contacting our guy friends, co-workers and college buddies to plan Magic Monica viewing parties. In no uncertain terms, we tell you how pumped we are to see this movie. We ask you to watch the kids on Saturday night so we can drool over Angelina and Jennifer.  

You know how this scenario turns out, right Mom? You are like totally annoyed that we’re going to see this movie with our gross, leering friends. You say, “Can you please stop talking about this dumb movie that objectifies women.” You get a babysitter so you can come with us.

Oh boy. I can feel it coming. The post-feminist Gatling gun….

Playboy. Hustler. Showgirls. 9 ½ Weeks. Girls Gone Wild. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. YouPorn. Hip hop videos. The Miss Hawaiian Tropic calendar. Ron Jeremy. Britney Spears. Tila Tequila. Spearmint Rhino. Cheetah’s. The Paris Hilton video. John Edwards. Anthony Weiner. Bill Clinton. Insert yours here: ________________.

Okay, okay, stop firing. I hear you: We haven’t exactly made it easy on ourselves. It's been a dude pornucopia for decades. No wait, centuries. No wait, millenia. No wait, light years. And now we’re seeing a tsunami of self-actualized women owning their sexuality, using power in numbers to bolster pride and confidence, which feeds the collective nanny nanny boo boo we like guys who aren’t you. Of course, if and when Magic Monica ever hits the big screen, you won’t hear any nanny nanny boo boo from us. Thanks to centuries of abusing our privilege, combined with today's politically correct landscape, we’re not allowed to. Quite simply, we have to live with the hypocrisy.

Last night during dinner, my wife Brandy asked if I could watch the boys Thursday. She’s having dinner with five of her friends and Magic Mike. I tell her about my blog post, about Magic Monica, about the double standard. “Men should be glad we’re reading these books and seeing these movies,” Brandy tells me. “You all are benefiting from them!” A shared chuckle is followed by a pregnant silence. Then we went back to eating.