Women Looking at Magic Mike Stripper
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.
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
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
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
- Hot body
- 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.