I haven’t jumped on the Magic Mike train *collective gasp* …Oh come on, seriously? Typical of the western world to believe that everyone thinks half naked gyrating men is a turn on. In fact, to me‒ sometimes liberal minded, all about gender equality‒ woman from the lovely continent of Africa find the whole concept hilarious. As in ‘ha-ha-ha’ funny.
Now bear with me for a moment (that is if I haven’t put you off by not voting for this ‘classic’).
I saw my first Chippendale show on TV at age fifteen. I went a year early to school so I was in grade ten (which by no stretch of the imagination makes that okay). I think it might have been a two hour special *laughs* Men dancing, sliding over women on beds…There might’ve been a pole involved somewhere.
Either way, I laughed throughout most of it and asked myself, “Why in the world would men want to do that?” Look I understand; there are women who like this form of dancing. I don’t. I prefer more the categories of hip hop, ballet, jazz, etc.
Anyway, back to me watching the Chippendales as a teenager. Funnily enough, I wasn’t surrounded by women when I did. One gay male was present, and two straight ones and me. A pretty diverse group. And me being me, I kept asking questions, like “Why did he have to roll his hips like that? It just looks weird.” I was basically the Jessica Day in that scenario.
Flash forward into the future (I always wanted to say that!) and I’m still asking the same sort of questions.
And now I’m going to get a bit murkier (and no offence meant to all male strippers) but all that grinding and junk being rubbed up in faces, seem to take away something of the male psyche to me. I don’t want to say masculinity, because I don’t think the word explains what I mean.
Women I believe are apt at this and not because of history and gender roles.
Have you ever seen a Bollyhood movie? Have you noticed those belly dancers? That’s what I’m talking about. There’s a mystery in the sway of a woman’s hips, there’s a story there. She’s communicating something to you. There’s more going on than what’s assumed to be overtly flirtatious or even sexual.
This is what men try so hard to figure out when they look on a dancing woman. I inadvertently stumbled on this when I unceremoniously learned at a social that this one guy loved to watch me dance if he noticed we were at the same club on a Saturday night. Yeah I was freaked out too. All of my friends heard him say this and they went a bit ballistic.
I’m schooled in the art of hips-don’t-lie but my intent hadn’t been to draw him in. Like most people who have an aptitude for dance and loved to express themselves through it, it’s what I usually did. Every song was a means to ‘tell a story’ or convey a mood. And I know not everyone does this, but women are always telling you something when they’re dancing, whether it’s ‘if you’re ready come and get it’ or ‘right now we’re crazy youngsters’, either way there’s a point. And when men in shiny costumes grind and it’s not on ‘I believe in miracles, where you from, you sexy thing’, aka The Full Monty‒ that great British movie‒ of yesteryear that wasn’t just about oiled and tanned bodies, it does seem ridiculous to me. The Full Monty was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score, winning the latter.
No I’m not a fan of Magic Mike (I recently saw it on TV but flipped between Basketball Diaries and it, so *shrug*) and I don’t mind if someone says; there’s more to it than my impressions. Of course there is *rolls eyes* Strip *wink* the gorgeous men out of it and what do you have? A flaky romance plot.
I do get why it’s popular. It feeds into the current culture of women ‘getting theirs’. We’re always made to take off our clothes in movies, so yeah, let them have a taste of it, while doing the two-step *laughs* Understandable.
But I’m seriously not going to sit here from the sideline and be all ‘oh yeah that movie’s awesome, it was on my movie bucket list’. Uh, no. I’m so not watching the second one and if there’s a third or fourth (because franchises of everything seem to be the trend these days) I also won’t be seeing those. If the movie had taken more of a serious angle highlighting what it’s really like being a male stripper (and how the job doesn’t just include stripping for WOMEN) than yeah, it would’ve been interesting. Instead Hollywood glamorized the movie, threw in a cast of popular actors and sat back as the money rolled in.
Inge Saunders forms part of Romance writers` Organization of South Africa (ROSA) and currently has two books out with Decadent Publishing; Falling for Mr. Unexpected and her latest release Dance of Love.
Dance of Love has qualified for The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Award-Winter 2015 in the Contemporary Romance category. Voting for nominations is open until the 30th of September. Here’s a link: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=18615
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