‘Magic Mike,’ Channing Tatum, and the Male Body as Consumer Product

It was never going to take very much to convince me to see Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s movie loosely based on Channing Tatum’s early stripping days:

But what’s interesting to me about this trailer other than the obvious enjoyment of a movie that offers up beautiful men’s bodies for consumption in the same way women are so often presented for male pleasure is the other ways in which gender stereotypes are swapped here. It’s almost unprecedented to have a story about a man who trades on his looks in precisely the same women do, from a position of supplication and as a consumption object rather than as a tool to be deployed. It’s also somewhat rare to have a male character with a career dream that a female character encourages him to pursue rather than the other way around—it’s women who are supposed to discount their own abilities. And while seducers snared in the parson’s mousetrap are an ancient story subject, the narrative normally has the rake change because he realizes he wants something else, not because he realizes his life has been bad for him, or that he’s deluding himself about the joys of libidinousness. Soderbergh hinted at some interesting themes of male bodily anxiety in The Girlfriend Experience, and I can’t wait to see what he does with the male body as consumer product here. And to do some consuming of my own.