Magic Mike XXL and the Rise of Man-jectification

In Magic Mike, Last Man on Earth and Marvel movies, is the male gaze looking in the mirror?

The innuendo-filled Magic Mike XXL, out Wednesday, is anything but subtle, but we knew that from the film’s extended promotion. The hashtag the studio used to promote the film is #comeagain, in some posters placed over star Channing Tatum’s pelvic area. One teaser shot featured Tatum with sparks literally emitting from his groin. Another showed Joe Manganiello (Sofia Vergara’s fiancée) thrusting a water bottle in front of his crotch, sending liquid flying through the air. The film is one phallus after another. Its stars are blatantly, hilariously subjecting themselves to what women like Vergara experience on a regular basis (like at last year’s Emmys): objectification.

Manganiello and Tatum are helping to usher in an era of “man-jectification,” in which women can judge men’s bodies openly — the way their male counterparts have long done for women.

Any woman in the public eye, from actors to politicians, can expect to have their looks critiqued, discussed, made object. That’s the way it’s always been. There were always handsome leading men, but they were rarely subject to the same scrutiny as women. Men still take most of the major lead roles — in 2014 just 12% of movie protagonists in the top 100 grossing films were women, according to the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University — while women are relegated to being sex objects. Male directors who dominate the industry shoot films from the male perspective, allowing the camera to linger on beautiful women and judge them.

But Tatum struck gold with 2012’s Magic Mike, which he wrote, by turning the camera on himself; the movie made $113.7 million at the box office. At its heart, Magic Mike was a drama about the recession, and about a man struggling to gain his independence — from the stripper pole, from his boss and from a world of drugs. Nobody remembers it as that. Audiences dubbed it “the stripper movie,” and groups of women and gay men crowded into theaters to see Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey’s guns, six packs and even butts. It’s no wonder then that Magic Mike XXL has dispensed with all the darkness of its predecessor in favor of becoming a pec-filled romp.

Manjectification is taking place on the little screen, too. In the final episodes of Fox’s Last Man on Earth, the women on the show fawned over a ripped newcomer (Boris Kodjoe) and schemed for ways to sleep with him as he repaired various appliances. These episodes came after a long and almost unbearable run in which the main character, Phil (Will Forte), cursed his luck for having agreed to marry a nagging woman (Kristen Schaal) before a hot blonde (January Jones) to show up on the scene. The joke of the series was Phil getting a taste of his own medicine, but it was a reversal not often seen on television.

Tatum and Kodjoe are voluntarily submitting to the objectification, of course, and they’re in on the joke. But other men are beginning to experience what women have for years. In March, Game of Thrones star Kit Harington complained about being objectified by the media. Unlike the Magic Mike actors who are, more often than not, shirtless in the films, Harington’s costume on the fantasy show involved so many bulky layers of fur that sleeping he might be confused with a dire wolf.

And the pressure on male actors seems to be building. In order to get your own Marvel movie franchise, you’ve got to be prepared for the inevitable shirtlessness. Comedians Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd shed extra pounds for six-pack abs for Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, respectively. (No woman will get her own Marvel franchise until Captain Marvel in 2017.)

Of course, the strain on male actors hardly equates to what female actors suffer. This was captured best when comedian Amy Schumer parodied 12 Angry Men on her show, in which a jury of dudes determines whether she is hot enough to be on television. Rather than assessing her comedy, the men mull whether — if they were a little drunk and had their glasses off — they might contemplate masturbating to Schumer’s blurry blonde image on the TV.

Is turnabout fair play? Magic Mike XXL seems to think so. In the film, Jada Pinkett Smith asks women if they’re ready to be worshipped. Donald Glover says that male strippers are “healers.” Naked men, they reason, make women feel good and perhaps are some small recompense for how women have been treated.

It’s hard to imagine a female stripper film where the characters could make the same argument about women being healers — can you imagine the same of Showgirls, Strip Tease or Coyote Ugly? None of those movies had the high-minded aspirations of Magic Mike. And after this one premieres, Channing Tatum will still be able to return to dramatic roles like the one he had in Foxcatcher. Women who strip for the camera don’t always engender such steadfast or serious support. But in some small way, XXL does try to hand power back to the female viewer, and man-jectification may just be balancing the scales.

TIME 2016 Election

Jon Bon Jovi Happy for Chris Christie to Use Songs in Campaign Launch

"My friendships are apolitical," the Democrat rocker says.

Though Governor Chris Christie has been a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, the presidential hopeful used the music of another New Jersey native Tuesday when he announced his bid for the Republican ticket: Jon Bon Jovi.

Christie likely opted not use a Springsteen song fearing that the lifelong Democrat and critic of the Bridgegate scandal might disavow him as Neil Young did to Donald Trump earlier in June. But Bon Jovi is also an avowed Democrat; his wife even hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Monday night, during which the rocker sang his biggest hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

However, despite their political differences, Bon Jovi gave Christie his blessing to use songs like “We Weren’t Born to Follow” for his campaign, Mother Jones reports. The two met while Bon Jovi was helping with Hurricane Sandy relief. “My friendships are apolitical. And, yes, I absolutely gave him permission to use my songs,” he said.

[Mother Jones]

TIME diseases

West Nile Virus Found in New York City Mosquitos

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Getty Images

The first of the season arrived in Staten Island and Queens

The New York City Health Department has detected the West Nile Virus in the city’s mosquitoes for the first time this summer, though no human cases have been reported yet.

The mosquitoes were found in the Glen Oaks, Queens and New Dorp Beach, Staten Island neighborhoods. The city plans to set up more traps and apply larvicide in affected areas.

“The most effective way to keep mosquito populations low is to remove standing water from items like buckets, gutters, planters, or any other receptacles that might be outdoors. New Yorkers are also encouraged to wear mosquito repellent and cover their arms and legs if they’re outside at dawn or dusk in areas with mosquitoes,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a press release.

West Nile can cause neurological disease and flu-like symptoms, though not all those bitten become sick.

TIME apps

Siri Now Gets Sassy When You Ask Her to Solve the Unsolvable

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul can't get enough of it

Siri is generally pretty polite when you ask her reasonable questions such as, “Where is the nearest coffee shop,” but ask her a puzzler, like “What’s zero divided by zero,” and Apple’s digital assistant gets a bit feisty.

“Imagine that you have zero cookies, and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense,” Siri responds.

It gets harsher: “And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies,” she continues. “And you are sad that you have no friends.”


The response only seems to be working for iPhone users who have upgraded to iOS 8. But those who have are very excited to discover this new, sassier side to Siri. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, who loves a good prank, spread the word via his Twitter.

TIME celebrities

Watch Emilia Clarke Speak With a Pitch Perfect Valley Girl Accent

The Game of Thrones actress, like, totally loves Clueless

Game of Thrones’ Khaleesi may be able to fly dragons, but the actress who plays her has an even more formidable talent. Emilia Clarke showed off her Valley Girl accent on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday night, and it was pretty much spot on.

The British star told Kimmel that she adopted the accent while shopping for an air conditioning unit at 3 a.m. in a New Orleans Home Depot while filming Terminator: Genisys so as not to be recognized. Clarke learned to talk like a Valley Girl from—what else?—Clueless, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on July 19.

TIME movies

Everything You Wanted to Know About Magic Mike XXL in 1 Large Chart

Here's how Channing Tatum's latest romp compares to the original

Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL don’t have much in common. The 2012 Steven Soderbergh film explored the dark underbelly of a male stripping world, filled with drug overdoses, violence and corruption.

The sequel, bachelorette parties will be delighted to hear, ditches the dreary indictment of the American dream. As the posters with “Come Again” printed strategically over Channing Tatum’s crotch suggest, the movie is a sexy romp.

Both movies, however, share an important element: plenty of skin. TIME watched all 306 minutes of the two movies back-to-back to see just how the two films measure up.

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TIME Television

These Shows Helped Shape America’s Attitudes About Gay Relationships

From The Ellen DeGeneres Show to Modern Family

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage would become legal nationwide. Though many factors have contributed to the increasing acceptance of gay marriage, including an endorsement from President Barack Obama, some Americans’ minds may, too, have been changed by the increasing presence of gay couples in popular culture.

According to a 2012 Hollywood Reporter poll, 27% of people who had changed their minds about gay marriage from anti- to pro- in the last decade said that they made their decision after watching gay characters on shows like Modern Family and Glee.

Over the decades, TV shows have brought gay couples into viewers homes and humanized their struggle for equality. Here are some of the shows that made a difference.

  • Soap

    billy crystal ted wass
    Denis Plehn—ABC

    Billy Crystal played the first openly gay character on TV in Soap when audiences met Jodie Dallas in 1977. Though advocates initially worried that the character played into negative stereotypes—dressing like a woman and alluding to suicidal thoughts—Crystal eventually won fans over with a emotional (if imperfect) portrayal.

  • Roseanne

    roseanne barr

    Roseanne featured both one of TV’s first same-sex kisses (in 1994) and one of its first same-sex marriage ceremonies between Roseanne’s boss Leon and his partner Fred. When advertisers threatened to pull out from the show, the actress said she would move her popular sitcom to another network.

  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show

    Ellen DeGeneres: Yep, I'm Gay
    Firooz Zahedi

    Ellen DeGeneres made history when she came out on her sitcom Ellen and on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1997. “Now, I feel completely comfortable with myself, and I don’t have to be fearful about something damaging my career if it gets out, because now I’m in control of it — sort of,” she said in the interview.

  • Friends

    Friends lesbian wedding gay marriage
    Paul Drinkwater—NBC/Getty Images

    In a show full of straight couples, Carol and Susan (Jane Sibbett and Jessica Hect) broke ground. Though Ross’ jealousy of his ex-wife Carol’s new partner, Susan, bordered on homophobic, the character redeemed himself when he walked his lesbian ex-wife down the aisle after her disapproving parents bailed on the wedding.

  • Will & Grace

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    NBC/Getty Images

    Will & Grace was the first show featuring two gay characters (Will Truman played by Eric McCormack and Jack MacFarland played by Sean Hayes) to become a bonafide hit. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the show for educating America about gay rights.

  • Queer As Folk

    showtime queer as folk
    Mychal Watts—Getty Images

    First a BBC show and then a Showtime production, Queer as Folk became a cultural milestone in the U.K. and America for bringing the same nuance to the sexual and emotional lives of gay people that had long been depicted in straight dramas.

  • The L Word

    "The L Word"
    Stephen Shugerman—Getty Images

    The L Word was the first show to feature an ensemble of gay women. Though it had its problems (the cast was very beautiful, very thin and mostly white), it’s had a lasting legacy, as the show explored different sexual identities and addressed sexual fluidity in a way never seen on TV before.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    Cast of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
    Getty Images

    Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) cast a spell over fans on Buffy. Viewers of the popular genre show were able to follow the budding relationship grow over the course of many seasons, a rare opportunity on TV.

  • Six Feet Under

    SIX FEET UNDER, Michael C. Hall, Mathew St. Patrick, 2001-2005, © HBO / Courtesy: Everett Collection
    HBO/Everett Collection

    David (Michael C. Hall) and Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) will be remembered for their stable and supportive relationship. Just like straight couples on TV, David and Keith had their ups and downs, but they were truly in love and became one of the first gay families (and one of the first interracial gay families) represented on TV when they married and adopted a child.

  • Brothers & Sisters

    ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" - Season Five
    Michael Desmond—ABC/Getty Images

    The ABC drama not only handed over screen time to one of TV’s longest-running same-sex couples, Scotty and Kevin (Luke Macfarlane and Matthew Rhys), but also explored the difficulties gay couples can face in trying to adopt when their relationship isn’t fully recognized.

  • Grey’s Anatomy

    Richard Cartwright—ABC

    The Shonda Rhimes show has featured many same-sex couples over the course of its 11 seasons. (Other shows she produces like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder have also taken on issues of gay marriage and shown gay sex scenes—a rare feat on network television.) But the most memorable relationship has been that of Callie and Arizona (Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw) who married and are currently raising a child together.

  • Modern Family

    Mitch and Cam from ABC's Modern Family.
    Peter "Hopper" Stone—ABC/Getty Images

    Mitch and Cam (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet) are arguably the most popular gay couple in the history of television. Modern Family continues to have great ratings and has won an impressive 21 Emmys. Though critics have pointed out that the couple doesn’t seem nearly as affectionate as their straight counterparts, Phil and Claire, Mitch and Cam’s relationship and eventual marriage showed the American public the similarities between straight and gay couples and advocated for equal protection under the law.

  • Glee

    Darren Criss Chris Colfer glee
    Kevin Winter—Getty Images

    While some high school shows might dedicate an episode or two to sexual identity, Glee was one of the first to take the topic head-on with its introduction of Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer). Kurt eventually met Blaine (Darren Criss) and was permitted to have the same high school sweetheart romance—including losing their virginity to each other—so often celebrated with straight couples in pop culture.

  • Orange Is the New Black

    Laura Prepon (L) and Taylor Schilling (R) in a scene from Netflix's Orange is the New Black Season 2.
    JoJo Whilden—Netflix

    The female prisoners on Netflix’s show Orange Is the New Black represent a wide range of the sexuality spectrum, as the show has never shied away from presenting gay, bisexual and straight relationships and colorful sexual encounters.

  • Looking


    Fans mourned after the HBO show was canceled after just two seasons. The dramedy about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco earned critical admiration for its realistic portrayal of modern gay life, especially as it came into its own in the second season. The show will get a wrap-up movie on the premium cable channel.

TIME Television

Emilia Clarke: I Think There’s a ’50/50 Chance’ Jon Snow Will Return to Game of Thrones

"There’s some very helpful people there who could bring him on back to life."

Spoilers for the season five finale of Game of Thrones ahead

Emilia Clarke says she, like Jon Snow, knows nothing. But the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen believes there’s a chance Kit Harington’s character will return to Game of Thrones.

“Seriously, I can with all honesty say that I have no idea what’s happening,” Clarke told MTV, explaining that she is a terrible liar and could never be trusted with such a big secret. She says she was just as surprised as fans were when Jon Snow was killed in the final minutes of season five. She even cried when she read the script.

Pushed to name the odds of Jon Snow returning, she said, “If I had to bet, I’d say there’s like a 50/50 chance. There’s some very helpful people there who could bring him on back to life.”

Fans share Clarke’s skepticism and posited a number of theories about how the commander of the Night’s Watch could return.

Harington has insisted in interviews that he is done with the show, and the showrunners have said “dead is dead.” But George R.R. Martin, who wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire series upon which the HBO drama is based, was more coy about a potential Jon Snow return. (The character was also killed in the books.) “If there’s one thing we know in A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s that death is not necessarily permanent,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.


Read Next: Here Are All the Jon Snow Conspiracy Theories


TIME Crime

Arrest Warrant Issued in Detroit for Street Artist Shepard Fairey

MOCA Gala 2015 Presented By Louis Vuitton
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic Shepard Fairey attends the 2015 MOCA Gala at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on May 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

He's best known for the widely popular "Hope" poster during Obama's 2008 campaign

Authorities in Detroit issued an arrest warrant for famous street artist Shepard Fairey last week based on felony charges for tagging properties around the city.

He had been commissioned to create the city’s largest mural in May, the Detroit Free Press reports, and also worked with the Library Street Collective to complete multiple art projects and installations across Detroit. While in town, Fairey admitted, he planned to do other work without permission. After he left, police began to investigate a series of nine paintings with Fairey’s signature Andre the Giant picture.

Fairey, who created the widely popular “Hope” poster of Barack Obama during his successful 2008 campaign for the White House, is accused of pasting at least nine large posters and tagging several more locations, resulting in damages of about $9,100. The artist is faced with two accounts of malicious destruction of property, which have a maximum prison term of five years, and fines of possibly more than $10,000.

Police say they will arrest Fairey the next time he returns to Detroit, if he does not turn himself in. “Just because he is a well-known artist, does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal,” Police Sergeant Rebecca McKay, who oversees Detroit’s graffiti task force, said. “And that’s what we consider was done in these instances, was vandalism.”

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME movies

Emma Watson to Star With Tom Hanks in The Circle

2015 Time 100 Gala
Mark Sagliocco—Getty Images Actress Emma Watson attends the 2015 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Jazz Hall at Lincoln Center on April 21, 2015 in New York City. (

The movie adaptation of Dave Eggers' book explores the dangers of technology and social media

Emma Watson is about to become a tech wizard.

Variety reports the actress is set to star opposite Tom Hanks in the film adaptation of Dave Eggers’ New York Times bestseller The Circle.

The novel follows a young woman named Mae (Watson) who lands a job at a massive tech company called The Circle (think: the power of Google, the influence of Facebook and the machinations of Hooli). It takes a dark turn when Mae meets a mysterious older man (Hanks) and begins to reckon with the deterioration of privacy in a world full of surveillance technology and linked with social media networks.

The Circle was the first fictional work by Eggers, best known for his memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) will adapt the novel.


Read next: Her vs. The Circle: The Dangers of Trying to Remain Plugged In

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