Powerful Women And Female Pleasure: Exploring The Feminist Themes Of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

Female viewers flocked to the theaters to watch “Magic Mike XXL” when the flick hit the big screen last week. And many of its fans have praised the film for its feminism.

The sequel, which follows Channing Tatum and his band of male entertainers as they make their way to their final performance at a stripper convention, has been applauded for its progressive depiction of women of various ages, body types and races, its  powerful female characters and its positive embrace of female sexuality. As the Washington Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald noted, “Magic Mike XXL” even passed the Bechdel test.

As entertainment writer for Cosmopolitan.com Patti Greco told HuffPost Live, the film’s writers may have intended to make buddy comedy, but the end result was completely different.

“Ultimately, what came out of it was a movie that centered on the idea that women’s pleasure really mattered very much,” Greco told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani. “[There were] a bunch of great female characters who actually helped write their parts. Jada Pinkett-Smith, [who was] a revelation in this and arguably was the most empowering and feminist part of the movie, really brought that role to the table, same with Andie MacDowell.”

Greco also applauded the character development of the film’s male stars and responded to the critique that “Magic Mike XXL” objectifies men and promotes unrealistic body standards.

“If these guys were just chiseled lunks, nobody would be that attracted to them. They actually have personality,” she said. “They actually have sensitivity and so they are feminine in some ways and it plays with the idea that you can’t just be a hunk of meat. You also have to be sensitive to satisfy a woman.”

Still the movie had its flaws, Deadspin senior culture editor Puja Patel noted.

“There are times where the film is clearly pandering a little bit,” she said. “These women kind of become a prop to tell the males character development or the story that these men are healers in some way.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the feminist themes in “Magic Mike XXL” here.

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