For Our Queens: The Hidden Female Empowerment in “Magic Mike XXL”

Many people have a hard time taking the Magic Mike franchise seriously. The main focus is on the character Mike (Channing Tatum), a male stripper who has a dream of becoming an independent furniture designer. And I’m sure when reading any of these aspects, the possibility of Female Empowerment being featured within these films seems like a joke at best. Well, in the sequel XXL, that is actually far from the case. And, yeah, I’m not the only one that thinks this.

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THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS

Let’s begin with our protagonists’ unified goal within their already established careers as “Male Entertainers,” as they describe themselves. Mike starts a conversation in which he details the reason that he enjoys his job. Some would initially think it is because it allows him to just simply dance, show off, or meet hot women–but the concept he speaks of is a pretty deep one for Magic Mike standards. Mike, and the other boys, know that the women they are dancing for could have had a long day, a tough job, an awful significant other in their lives–but for the brief moment that Mike and his crew dance, these women’s troubles and worries go away, and their clients feel beautiful and special.

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This theme of inspiring and empowering the female audience members is carried throughout the entirety of the film, specifically within the character of Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith). Though we don’t know too much about her, we are given enough facts to make Rome’s mysteries seem incredibly delicious, among her other attractive qualities. Considering that she owns her own business, Rome is definitely the most powerful character in the entire film, who dictates every action with just the shift of her eyes. Her strength doesn’t come from her being attractive (even though it is pretty clear she is), but because she has more guts than all the male characters in this franchise, combined. She commands the room and the entire ensemble with her presence, and that is beyond fierce in every way possible.

We learn that Rome has established a lingo among her clients, and refers to them all as Queens. Yes, every single woman in this film is given that regal title, whether they appear to look like the stereotypical Hollywood female or otherwise. In fact, Magic Mike XXL makes a very big point to show women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, age, you name it, and by God is it the most refreshing and beautiful thing to see. Never are any of the women judged for their appearance when getting a dance, nor are any of them told they won’t be satisfied over another “prettier” client. The best example of this is during the Michael Strahan dance sequence, in which a beautiful plus size woman is given the craziest, most intense dancing satisfaction humanly possible. What easily could have been a comedy scene due to the size of the female actress is instead turned into a generally fun, sexy scene, and that is beyond fantastic.

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As I mentioned above, there are also women of various ages, most of which are showcased in one very specific, long, Andie-MacDowell-filled sequence. The boys end up at the house of a new friend, and suddenly we come upon the Housewives of (INSERT RANDOM SOUTHERN CITY HERE) cast. All jokes aside, if I had to specifically chose a favorite scene from the entire movie, this would definitely be up there. Though we are lead to believe that the group of women are your stereotypical cougar types, with only sex on the brain, the majority of them seem to be flawed and lonely souls. And while most movies would make these women out to be comedic relief, Magic Mike instead treats them with sensitivity, and allows them to be sexual and free, without judgement.

So yeah, Magic Mike XXL might not exactly be Oscar worthy material, but it cannot be denied that the feminine touch in this movie is absolutely fantastic in every way possible. Any movie that showcases a variety of women that exist outside of media’s standards and shows a group of grown, straight men walking into a Drag Queen show and cat walking without any sort of mean punchline at the end, is a quality film in my eyes. Harmless, fun, and with a bit of a social message thrown in underneath all the biceps and thrusts, Magic Mike XXL is indeed magical–for all the ladies that wanna have some fun.

So, have you seen Magic Mike XXL? What do you think about its female empowerment messages? Do you agree or think this is all a joke? And if you’ve seen the movie, do you have a favorite scene? Do you wanna see a Matt Bomer and Donald Glover sandwich? Comment below and tell us all your thoughts on this magical topic!

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