Friday, July 13, 2012

50 Shades of Lusting After Magic Mike

Objectification of women is nothing new. We see it everywhere: movies, TV shows, advertisements, strip clubs, at the mall, etc.

Neither is the objectification of men. I think that women are smart in that they act appalled that men are "perverts," but do the same thing behind closed doors. I think that women know how to be "ladylike" and whisper and giggle rather than cat-call. I also think that women are not that different from men.

Case and point: Magic Mike and 50 Shades of Grey.

Don't get me wrong.... I am not saying we are exactly the same. But, men get a bad wrap for "acting like guys" and oogling women's booties and boobs. And sometimes, they make excuses for their behavior. But, don't women do a similar thing? Only maybe we don't shout out inappropriate things or say that we'd like to "tap that." (Although I've actually heard a few women say that.) Instead, we fantasize about marrying the guy or dating him or "what it would be like" to [fill in the blank]. We are not that different from men.

I knew right away that Magic Mike was off limits for me. As soon as the preview finished, I had to catch my breath. That Channing Tatum. He's an attractive guy. And he definitely has moves like Jagger. But, I knew that whatever that movie planted in my head would be there for a while. The dancing. The muscles. The love story. And down the road, I would compare. Why can't my boyfriend/husband look like Magic Mike? Stripping is okay, as long as the person needs the money, right? Maybe I can just watch that one scene again, and I won't feel so lonely tonight.

Don't get me wrong, I have not seen the movie. I have no idea what it's about other than an article that claims it's based on Mr. Tatum's past as a stripper. And by based, I mean it probably has hardly anything to do with it other than the nudity. But, somehow, this makes women feel liberated and like they are in some sisterhood. 73% of the audience the opening weekend was female. I was shocked and saddened to see two of those women were past mentors.

I had not heard of 50 Shades of Grey until a few women spoke of it at church. They were against it, calling it pornography. It wasn't a book-bashing, but they made it clear where they stood and why. The rebel in me wanted to have the "you can't tell me what not to read" attitude, and then I stopped. These women love me. And love the Lord. Because of those two facts, I can deduce that what they say is rooted in love for me and the Lord. Even if it's "don't read this book." And the more reviews I've read about the series (because why write one of those books when you can write a a whole flock of them!), the more I am saddened for women.

I read this article today that had a quote in it. “[‘50 Shades’] is less about overt sex and more about the things every woman wants,” says Jenny Hutt, SiriusXM host and “Shades” obsessive. “They allegedly have this S&M relationship — but he doesn’t ever hurt her! It’s about women wanting to be adored, ravaged and respected. The book serves as a reminder to women that it’s OK to like sex, to want it. But at its base, it’s romantic."

I think a lot is lost in the fact that women keep fighting for their liberation: sexually, financially, relationally, professionally, emotionally and spiritually. Do these women not know that they have already been liberated? We [women] need to stop acting like the oppressed and start walking out the freedom that women's liberation did and, more importantly, the freedom that Christ died for.

We. Are. FREE. We don't need a book full of sexually-charged chapters to remind us of that. We need to walk out healthy relationships the way God intended. Sin is oppressive. So, if you're walking in sin and experience sex outside of how God intended, it is going to feel shameful and you are in bondage to that. That is normal. That is life without God. But, He has so much more for us than that life. Instead of reading books that help us feel like we have more sexual power or more sexual rights or more sexual freedoms, we need to be looking to the One True God that will satisfy our hearts. That is the freedom and validation that our hearts crave.

Here's what I'm not saying:
-If you've read 50 Shades, I am judging you.
-If you've watching Magic Mike, I am judging you.
-Women aren't allowed to be attracted to half-naked men.
-I am above being crass and inappropriate.

Here's what I'm saying:
We have an opportunity to stop treating each other like pieces of meat and instead to pursue healthy relationships with ourselves and one another. God designed us to be sexual beings. It is not wrong to be turned on by something. But, when it's when we treat sex (a good thing) as an idol (an ultimate thing), that things get dicey. Maybe Magic Mike and 50 Shades make women feel like they, too, can stand up and shout, "I'm sexual and it's okay!" But, there are ways to "be okay" with your sexuality without objectifying a person as a sexual object.

Other posts on the topic:
Jarrid Wilson: Magic Mike
Ms. Gore's Diary: Magic Mike Who?
Melissa Jenna: 50 Shades of Magic Mike (In which I am VERY UNCOOL)
The Wardrobe Door: 50 Shades of Magic Mike- The Pornification of Women


  1. This was a really really good article. I liked every bit of it and it spoke to me on many levels, yes, but truly answered none of my questions--the questions in my heart. Maybe I am different then other women in that I don't struggle with not being free. I know I free.

    I just struggle with not being lonely--I guess, in effect, with being okay with the fact that I am free.

  2. Susanelizabeth- Thank you so much for the encouragement. I hope you will continue to read, and give feedback. Also, I got the message you sent me on Facebook. I will respond to that shortly :)

    Carolynn- I am happy that oppressive feelings don't plague you! Even on Facebook, someone's comment really made me sad. They clearly felt like freedom for women is an illusion and we very much still live in an oppressive society with fewer rights.

    As far as the loneliness goes, I can definitely identify with that one. I've gone from feeling okay with being single, to rrrrreally wanting to be married, to never wanting to be married, to... well, I've been in many places over the years! Haha! But, feeling alone sucks! I will pray for you in that area :) Please let me know if there's anything else I can pray about for you at :)

  3. Thanks Lindsay-Marie(do you go by both?). Will look forward to your reply. PS I put my email in to receive the blog posts, but so far the one from the 17th hasn't arrived in my inbox. Does it tk a few days?

  4. Susanelizabeth- I do prefer both, although Marie is my middle name :) Hmmm.... I'm not sure how the email works. I have signed up for things via email and sometimes it gets a little jakey and I don't receive all of them. You can try to unsubscribe and then subscribe again and see if that does the trick. Let me know if it doesn't and I can look into it :)

  5. Mmmm, just saw this reply about email. Don't know how to unsub . I can when i get them in my inbox though LOL. Let me do a bit of searching and will see if I can figure it out. Thanks.

  6. Re-reading some of your blog posts! I really like this one still. I never saw the book or the movie, but not because I thought it was bad, just because it never interested me. I dislike those types of movies and books.

    And I'm glad you stand for your faith :)

    1. Hey Carolynn! I just saw your comment. Thanks for reading :) I took a break for a while while I worked through some stuff with Celebrate Recovery, but I'm gearing up to start blogging again now that I'm less overwhelmed. :) Love you!