Magic Mike XXL, the unexpected feminist movie

Just like I did re: The Bachelorette – or rather didn’t do – I won’t recap Magic Mike XXL. Not because I didn’t enjoy it (I enjoyed it A LOT) but because other, better writers have already done so.

Via People Magazine

Here are a few highlights from their write-ups interspersed with pics and gifs from this totally Oscar-caliber* movie as well as one or two of my own thoughts.

If you’re concerned about spoilers – and you really shouldn’t be because the paper-thin plot is Not The Point – I guess stop reading. But you’d be missing stuff like this:

Roxane Gay’s post for The Toast is my favorite. I wholeheartedly agree with all of this:

Magic Mike XXL is, I am willing to argue, a (bad?) feminist movie. Why? This movie caters, at all times, to the female gaze. It is queer friendly. The movie embraces women of all sizes. The movie embraces consent and places an emphasis on women’s sexual pleasure. I wish I had something really smart to say here but this movie felt feminist. The movie treated women like they were sentient beings rather than sexual objects and the movie boldly celebrated women’s sexuality. The men were simply there to serve and satisfy, as they should be.

PS buy Roxane’s book Bad Feminist here.



I loved this point by Shane Ferro of Business Insider:

This is possibly the first movie I’ve ever seen coming from a heterosexual-male perspective that recognizes that women are independent beings with preferences, and attending to those preferences is sexier than any sculpted abs — though those don’t hurt.

Joe Manganiello is quite the scene stealer in XXL. A high point of the movie happens in a convenience store. It’s spectacular in both its humor and sexiness. How did they do that?!

And it gets better!

Alison Willmore of Buzzfeed put it thusly (abridged):

The finest scene in Magic Mike XXL doesn’t take place on a stage. It’s in a roadside mini-mart on the way to Myrtle Beach, where Mike (Channing Tatum) and his boys are headed to give one final blowout performance at a stripper convention…somehow, this leads to Richie (Joe Manganiello) being sent into said mini-mart on a mission to make the cashier smile.

The bored girl behind the counter buried in her phone does not seem the type to be easily won over by a pretty face and an exquisitely defined six-pack. How Richie goes about charming her is better discovered than described, but it involves Cheetos, the Backstreet Boys, and the other strippers cheering him on from outside the windows like fans watching their team make its way down the field.

It’s delightful.

BTW Joe’s body is INSANE.

I do actually have a few independent thoughts on the movie. For instance:

Elizabeth Banks as Paris has a spectacularly prominent French manicure. The height of fashion for a stripper convention exec, right?

There’s a Twilight parody. You know how I felt about Twilight so I was rolling when the scene happened.

If Jada Pinkett Smith (who is terrific as Rome) doesn’t spur a spike in white women’s suits, something is wrong with the world.


And what in the world can I say about Channing Tatum that hasn’t already been said? If he doesn’t actually understand what women want, well…he fooled me. Good job, dude. Keep being your charming self.

And please don’t ever stop dancing.

XXL features drag performers, women of color and women of all shapes and sizes. At no point are any of the people mocked or marginalized (this shouldn’t be remarkable, but sadly, it is). It was uplifting all while being a sorta cheap thrill.

[Well, not that cheap: movie tickets in NYC are $$$. $16.50 for the theater we went to.]

I loved Magic Mike XXL because it never made me feel dumb. Or like I was the one being objectified.  Or that I was weird for watching a movie about a bunch of male strippers heading to Myrtle Beach for StripperCon. Nope, we were all in on the same joke, and the guys were so eager to give us what we want. They never laughed at us for wanting it either.

*If there isn’t a category called Best Abs and Booty Shaking, there needs to be.

5 thoughts on “Magic Mike XXL, the unexpected feminist movie

  1. markbialczak

    It obviously has a good heart, for the right reasons, Jen. I did not, however, make it my review film this weekend, though I am secure enough! 🙂 I’ll See You in My Dreams was fabulous, thanks to Blythe Danner. Coming at my place Monday. Just saying. I do appreciate your take on Channing Tatum and Magic Mike XXL, thank you!


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