Women Looking at Magic Mike Stripper

Magic Mike Strippers

Magic Mike Strippers

How do women feel about pictures of men showing a lot of skin?

A few years back I surveyed students on a picture of Sly Stallone. You can see my writeup here. In brief: There was a mix of appreciation and discomfort.

He’s attractive and sexy. “He’s sexy, but” (He’s not my type… I don’t want to have sex with him…) He’s not attractive … it’s weird.

Some suggested I update the survey to include current stars like Channing Tatum, once named People’s sexiest man alive. So I asked 133 of my women students to write whatever thoughts came to them when looking at the picture below: 

Magic Mike Stripper

I was curious about how women would react to a nearly naked man like this image from the movie Magic Mike. It’s not unusual for women to see this sort of image in an R-rated movie, except that the image would be one of a nearly nude woman.

Magic Mike stripper

By far the most common response — nearly half at 46% — was dislike: “I don’t like it,” or “it feels awkward… or uncomfortable,” or they thought it was weird.

If “uncomfortable” includes finding the image hilarious, funny, or pointing out how odd or gender bending it seemed, that number rises to 60%. Specific comments:

  • Boys in thongs– no!
  • Men who are exposed look very exposed
  • It’s funny – not common for men to act sexy like this
  • It’s odd to see men acting sexy. Usually women take that role.
  • I’m uncomfortable. I’ve never liked male strippers
  • Grossed out
  • This looks miserable
  • Creepy

A few said they felt more comfortable with female nudity, and even found it more attractive, probably since they’re more used to seeing it and have been conditioned to see women as the sexy half of the species.

  • Women seem to be more sexy because we have been conditioned that way
  • Naked guys are just not as appealing, and I’m not gay

And at least one — whether she realized or not — noted how it seemed strange because we are so used to objectified images being targeted to men. So this, obviously, was targeted toward men (although it wasn’t):

  • Gay porno
Patrick Swayze Chippendale's

Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley doing Chippendale’s.

About a quarter (23%) thought it best to offer no opinion. Usually they just described the picture. Or they said they had no opinion. Relatedly, some said “No judgment” or “I’ve seen the movie so I’m not phased.” It’s as though they were fighting an impulse to judge, hinting that their real response is “Dislike.”

Five percent didn’t like the objectification.

And 7% disliked the image because it brought to mind images of rape, domination or abuse.

A couple women had positive things to say, but with reservations:

  • Looks like she’s enjoying it. But I’d be embarrassed.
  • Hot. But a little too much.

Only about one and five (19%) we’re completely positive. They said things like this:

  • Having a good time
  • Attractive
  • Hot body
  • Sexy
  • Hot
  • I like it

Overall, most women were pretty uncomfortable with this image. They were not used to this sort of imagery for men.

So I later asked about an image they were more likely to have seen before — an underwear ad with David Beckham. More on that later.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 13, 2017, in men, objectification and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Gabriela Sanchez

    I think it that making surveys like this is interesting because some would assume the opposite response of what most of the female students said. I’ve seen the movie and when I saw the picture it didn’t really bother me because I sort of expected. Of course, there were some parts where I found discomfort because it is weird that male take the sexy roles when usually women do the part. Most movies today have had so much nudity, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, Where the female lead is one that is most exposed than the male. I know others have different opinions because I can definitely see how discomforting it can be watching this, but I think it is normal in some way where male are being exposed. One thing that I noticed about this was that the movie used male actors who were very good looking which makes me wonder if they were not only trying to target one gender, but both. Overall, I found this very interesting to read.

  2. The fact that female nudity is seen as more attractive and more common place in our society is because women are meant to be submissive. An ad featuring a woman who is mostly naked is seen as okay because women are meant to be weak and exposed, when someone sees a man in the similar position they find it weird because a man is supposed to be strong and dominating. And another reason people might find women’s bodies more attractive is because when they’re showing off their bodies in a sexual manor that’s not breaking away from societal norms in the same way it would be for a man to be in the same position. It’s always been weird to me that women almost learn to see the world they like in through the eyes of the men around them, but that’s what’s happening with girls being weirded out by the sexualization of men’s bodies.

  3. I think it’s great that surveys like this exist. It’s very normal for us as society to see pictures of women in very little garments everywhere. It we were to do the same with men, it would also be normal and usual, but it is necessary for all of society to keep in mind that what we find normal shouldn’t be. If we feel so uncomfortable seeing a man stripped down to his underwear and find it creepy, we should really reconsider what were doing to out younger generations of the female population. Men should also not find their bodies embarrassing, they should expose themselves as well. Because men are always fully clothed, it even seems like we as society value more the private places of men than those of women, when in reality we should be showing the exact opposite of that. The female body cares for, nurtures, and births children; we should respect it to the fullest.

  4. Woman are so conditioned to be the species that is chased and not the one doing the chasing that even the thought of being the predator can be unsettling. In fact, society looks at woman who pursues men as indecent and of low class. Rather than appreciating that a woman is confident enough to express her desires without fear of rejection. Why is that? It could be argued that it is directly related to the oppression of woman. However, I see it as a cover up society uses to project images and beliefs to comply with the status quo. Woman have such a strong need to be accepted not only by men but everyone that surrounds them that they are willing to untrue to themselves.

  5. Taniuska N Guevara

    When Magic Mike came out, I was excited!!! My friends and I bought tickets ahead of time and prepared mentally to have an amazing time! My honest reaction to the way men were portrayed was finally. The male leads in the movie were being objectified in the same way women often are. If I would have been part of the survey I would have answered within the five percent who said things like “hot, caliente, sexy, more please”… You get the point I’m sure lol.. I also want to point out that the other surveyors made a great point, about how we have been conditioned to accept naked women in the media then we are men and in turn many times this makes us feel uncomfortable about the image.

  6. I’m so sorry, but I have to agree, I don’t really like this. I’m not sure why I don’t like it 😦 It is so confusing because I’m sick of women having to take off their clothes just to get ahead in the entertainment business. I wish they could leave their clothes on. But if I had the choice between seeing naked men on camera and naked men, I would have to say a woman because men are so ‘undone’ hairy and protruding parts….actually it would be better if everyone on camera got to keep their clothes on. It’s so hard when I’m out on a date with someone I dont know too well and they have all that skin and the guy is holding my hand getting so happy and I just want to run out of the theatre. Men rarely show their assets to the camera. Only a few have done it. Burt Reynolds says it ruined his career. I know a lot of respectable women who have been on camera nude..but if a man shows……..the full Monty. Oh that’s right. There was a movie where the guys had to show it all for charity. I’m not even sure if they showed them naked on camera, but I just remember that the movie was about whether they were going to take it all off. I wish they would show more naked men on camera so we could get used to the shock of it but really, it would be so ……yuck unless the guy shaves and waxes and moisturizes and then we will see how big the equipment is and we will be talking about how small or big or limp or …..this is terrible for a Christian woman like me to be talking about this…..my mom would be so upset. Those men aren’t going to get naked and most women dont want them to. I like to leave something to the imagination. I mean if its all just out there and available to be seen at anytime for as long as you want to see and play with it, its not near as fun as if you have to seduce. Part of me also finds this hilarious because well, it just doesnt happen to often. The man doesnt even take off his clothes, he pulls that fly over to the side and operates fully clothed. I take half of what I said back. I’m not uncomfortable, I’m just not used to seeing it happen like this. I do believe in equal opportunity for all, so if a man is going to be running around nude and near nude, bring it. Just be shaved and waxed like you expect women to be……and they know they aren’t going to take the time to shave their gut and back and thighs and butt and armpits and we dont really want to see their bushes. But oh it would be so fun if this happened in real life all the time. But here’s the truth….men love to have sex, it makes them so happy and they have the biggest grin on their face. Women dont have the same emotions during sex. A woman is probably not going to be smiling about the realization that she’s about to be in some discomfort. But ah well, we are all just animals with clothes on……unless we are at the strip club watching fellow animals taking it off. Let me get back to my Bible. I shouldnt even kid about this kind of stuff.

  7. I remember that I watched some parts of the movie from Magic Mike Stripper with my older sister who is six years older than me so I can say that I did felt a little uncomfortable by seeing men being stripper and I think it was around the time when I was a kid. So even when I was a kid, I thought it was strange for men to strip and in my mind, it came naturally that women are supposed to take that role since I have seen that image from women. While watching the movie with my older sister, her reaction was different from mine like she would say the the guys in the movie are attractive, but of course she would state her opinion about them sometimes. Other than that, I barely remember what she thinks about it, but her opinion is between the guys were attractive and it’s strange to see them being a stripper so it’s funny to see how they become a stripper or somewhere along those lines.

  8. Pictures like the one shown above from the Magic Mike movie can show how uncomfortable women may feel. Wheather it may be a woman in nude or a male it still is uncomfortable to see. While there are others who do enjoy this kind of view to see. When someone is uncomfortable it may because they don’t see this kind of scenes anywhere or it’s weird watching it on a big screen in a public view or it’s because the skin we see is only if the shirt is off that’s it. I say this because it’s all we see when paparazzi posts pictures of either a male or female celebrity on the beach or on a balcony.

  9. This is a very interesting post. I used to think that such frank scenes in films always for a woman, but in time I realized that it was not so. Most of my friends who is a woman do not like pictures of men showing a lot of skin in films. And I agree with the statistics that led because I have the same statistics. Just a couple of my friend’s like pictures of men showing a lot of skin. Most would say that they like a face or just an open torso. I still do not understand for whom they shoot such films and what woman can excite guys in this form. I think woman appreciate courage in a man first but also it depends on the woman what she wants. This proves one thing that in a movie show is not always what everyone wants to see.

  10. We may get uncomfortable looking at sexual images of men. This is because we are not used to it. We are used to women’s images being exploited. I don’t think there would have been a big difference in the reaction of people with a photo of someone in their underwear for an ad or the photo of magic mike humping someone. Men are said to be okay with their shirt off in public, but women are not. That’s already half of your body being shown. We don’t see a picture of a topless man and think it is sexy. But for some reason we can say a women’s picture is sexy when she’s half-naked. The problem with men is that most of the time we find attractiveness in the face. Men see women as attractive because of their chest or butt, which are easily seen in sexually explicit photos. People may say that female strippers are okay but male strippers are awkward, but this is only because they are not as common.

    • That’s true. Women seem to be more drawn by faces than anything else. Maybe that’s because we don’t objectify men but we still talk about whether a man is facially attractive.

  11. I remember when the Magic Mike movie came out and many of my friends felt uncomfortable or found it disgusting that a man was stripping in a thong. Men aren’t usually a sex object in the media so I can definitely understand the discomfort for some. I personally don’t find it disgusting or anything like that. I personally wasn’t attracted to the actor but if it were someone else I would definitely find it eye-catching and attractive. I would never walk into a strip club whether it was to see a woman or a man. I agree that a lot of women do say that they find female strippers to be more appealing to them. Society has overly sexualized women so it understandable why.

  12. Society has always sexualized women’s image, so much so that seeing the same of men is awkward and distasteful. Media nowadays are showing more and more skin from female models than they have had in the past. An example of a celebrity showing more skin is singer Rihanna, who displays her bare breasts through see-through clothing nonchalantly in music videos, tv show appearances, and in the public for all to see. Her way of expressing her sexuality and the beauty of her body has stirred some controversy, which I have experienced from some of my friends. Most of them say that she is showing how beautiful women are without stooping down to levels of twerking to the extent that you’re known for it. They believe that her status, the way she carries herself, and her power as a well-known celebrity helps women. However, there are others that believe that they don’t see the beauty in it, that she is only doing it for more fame, to stay relevant, and believe that she’s not making women more comfortable with themselves. Similarly, I have experienced people expressing their sides of the movie, Magic Mike. I think that women are use to men that are viewed as strong, powerful, and masculine rather than nearly naked in a thong. However, there are others that loved the movie because it changes the norm of what’s sexy for men and reversed the roles of sexiness for men. They loved how instead of women stripping and dancing, it’s men. It’s a great change of pace from what we’ve always been seeing in movies.

  13. Something that I have noticed is that women have different taste in men. I have heard some women saying that they don’t like Beckham or even Brad Pitt. So perhaps you should show a variety of photos of male models. That way you would see women’s reactions about men showing skin and you could also get some data about how different taste women have. For instance some women may not like Henry Cavill but others really like him

  14. It was a good thought too see what women think nowadays but the choice of picture wasn’t the best. There was a woman involved in a rather uncommon situation so women were trying to put themselves in her place and felt uncomfortable.
    How about showing some photos of half naked male models who are considered to be attractive.
    Something like that
    https://www.google.gr/search?q=male+models+2017&client=ms-android-sonymobile&prmd=inv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjvkZvSrMLXAhUHPBoKHUN8DC8Q_AUICygB&biw=320&bih=440&dpr=1.5#imgrc=otee-MwtW8yqzM:

    • I’ll do a more common picture in upcoming posts.

      But women are so used to seeing these sorts of images of women and feeling less uncomfortable. That says something about the culture.

  15. I can see how this makes people feel uncomfortable. As a society, we don’t consider this as the norm. Men aren’t usually seen as a sex object. Women are the ones that have been associated with the body and nature. Men are shown to be masculine, not seductive and or in a sexual manner. The depiction of a woman is still more frequent, and nudity and the erotic depiction of woman participants prevail. This is probably because men are conditioned to objectify women and not the other way around.

    As I’ve matured images like this doesn’t bother me. In the past, it did but now I can appreciate the human body for what it is. I’ve seen both movies and enjoyed it. Not just because the men are “hot” but because of the dancing, the storyline, and the music. Don’t get me wrong you definitely won’t catch me at a strip club, however, I did like the movie.

  16. Women seem to be must less likely to pay to see nudity or watch sex. And then women are more likely to have to pay… not going to make a lot of $”

    Yeah, I’ve seen how some women are trying to provide porn that’s better for women and women can watch. So women directing and doing “porn for women”, but it’s never going to take off if women have to pay, especially when women are less visual or visually interested in watching sex and bodies. I mean I don’t like most porn, but even if I did, I wouldn’t pay and I’m a man. I’ve never paid for porn and wouldn’t,so I could definitely see why women wouldn’t then.

  17. I wonder if it’s context that makes the difference, as a dude wearing a thong does seem gay to me and unsightly though I’m a guy so there will be a bias. But I remember a ton of female co workers talking about the movie and how they went to it when it came out and how sexy Channing was. They said they despite the fact he probably wore a thong at some point of the movie. And these same women otherwise probably don’t like or find male strippers sexy or men in thongs sexy and same feelings as your female students. But like they can be an exception if it’s so and so actor or actors.

    So I’m surprised more of your female students didn’t like it because it seemed like a large US female population saw the movie and found the men in it sexy, and either didn’t mind these men wore a thong, found it sexy or looked past it because the dance and men overall were sexy. I’d thought more of your female students would have seen the movie too, given how popular it was

    • Well the movie didn’t have him in a thong the whole time. But this picture — that’s all there is.

      I’ll post something on how women responded to David Beckham showing a lot of skin next time. And later I will show another picture from Magic Mike where the men are wearing more (Hint, the women like the picture with more clothing a lot better.)

      • But wasn’t he wearing one at some point of the movie? If he did, I would think women who talked about it wouldn’t have found him or the men in the movie sexy. From what I’ve heard he was sexy and it was sexy. I would think any thong part would have negated the sexiness of the movie and the men. But I heard women say he was sexy and like implying it was all sexy to them, which would include any thong part

      • 1. hardly any of the images were of him in the thong. Women might have had a different impression if the movie was just men in thongs all the way through.
        2. Women who go to see that sort of movie and who come back and talk about it could be a different type of woman from average.
        3. I also know that some women actually work at objectifying men just to get even. So they put on a show of exaggerated desire.

  18. Your question was “How do women feel about pictures of men showing a lot of skin?”
    The picture you discuss shows not only a lot of male skin, it also depicts a sex-related situation where the story it tells us is not altogether clear.
    It would be interesting to investigate whether there are sex-related pictures that make women generally feel comfortable.
    So, my question really is – how can we create sex-related art for women? Did you ever come across European film producer Erika Lust. It would be interesting to know what you think of her feminist-oriented porn.
    Ellington

    • Next time I will discuss women’s thoughts about a picture of a man showing a lot of skin that is more commonly seen.

      Create sex-related art for women? Much of the reason this sort of art seems weird to women is because we are so used to seeing women, and not men, portrayed that way. So I guess we would need to see more portrayals.

      And I haven’t heard of her. I’ll have to check her out.

      • I think that Erika Lust lady and other’s who have tried to market porn to women, but have not done so well is because perhaps women being less visually interested in porn like men, but also, I think the marketing for porn for women. I believe such sites or feminist porn is all paid or subscription porn. I mean guys are more visual and more porn interested than women and even many guys aren’t interested in paying for porn. I wouldn’t. There’s free streaming porn, and there’s where most guys will look and traffic The porn for women like that is paid stuff and not free streaming or popular where everybody knows and don’t have to pay for.

      • Women seem to be must less likely to pay to see nudity or watch sex. And then women are more likely to have to pay… not going to make a lot of $

    • I checked it out, out of curiosity. It’s like erotica, but what brings up the question still though. It seems like it shows more sexuality and sensuality with nudity and sex and more equal with portrayal. But begs the question of why women who would watch this, why they still need to see a nude woman with a nude man to be turned on or him doing something sexual with her if a man’ body is actually sexy to women?

      How sexy and sexually attractive and stimulating and lust worthy is a man’ body if that’s needed? Even if women weren’t hyper sexualized, men would still prefer and want to see women’s bodies, because that’s what we’re drawn too, so women’s bodies will be the eye candy to our eyes and love seeing it often and in all of it’s glory and definitely not a man’s.

      • This reminds me, I haven’t seen Magic Mike but I have heard that even this movie has a certain amount of female nudity — possibly even more skin is revealed, Although the scantily clad women have less screen time than the Magic Mike men.

  19. Sorry Magic Mike but neither women nor men care to see that much of you.

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