Where Are the Women? Magic Mike XXL

Where Are the Women? Magic Mike XXL

Even a movie that is supposedly “for women” is still all about men.


Is there a woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]
Is there a manic pixie dream girl? [why this matters]


[no significant representation of women in authority]


[no issues]


Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing? [why this matters]


Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

There’s a very odd depiction of a woman early in the film. She appears in a pool party scene dressed only in a very skimpy bikini… and a motorcycle helmet that covers her head and face entirely. She doesn’t say anything beyond some incoherent yelling. It’s not at all clear why the film presents her this way, but the upshot is that she is dehumanized and reduced to her (almost naked) body even more so than the cliché set-dressing “character” of Anonymous Bikini-Clad Woman typically is.
In a reversal of the usual trope, a man (Joe Manganiello) is seen to find sexually attractive a woman (Andie MacDowell) who is old enough to be his mother (MacDowell is 18 years older than Manganiello), and later spends the night with her (offscreen). This attraction is not treated as odd or unusual or inappropriate in any way.
The women in the audiences for men’s strip shows are shown to be women of all ages and all shapes and sizes, with fat women and plain women depicted as just as enthusiastically sexual as “hot” young women. This is no newsflash for real women, but Hollywood tends not to recognize this truth.


IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Even a movie that is supposedly “for women” is still all about men. While there is a healthy mix of the wide variety of women we see in the real world — young and old, fat and skinny, beautiful and plain, and everything in between — in the crowd scenes here, the few female actors with any speaking lines are not significant characters, and are present only to serve the men’s stories.

Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Magic Mike XXL! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Magic Mike XXL.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)

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