Here's Joe Manganiello Talking About Feminism

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Magic Mike is, technically, a film about male strippers. But, Magic Mike XXL (in theaters July 1) promises so much more — namely, more women. Jada Pinkett Smith joins the cast as the host of a stripper convention. The sequel also tackles the issue of female sexuality and how male entertainers exist in a feminist world. 

On the film's set in Savannah, Ga. last fall, Joe Manganiello told Refinery29 that, because the franchise has indie roots, it also has much more freedom. "Every studio passed on it. Nobody wanted it," he said, explaining that Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh covered the first film's budget. "So, because they did that, they had autonomy to make the content what they wanted — a lot racier, a lot scarier, I think, than the traditional studios would allow."

Manganiello then went on to humbly predict that XXL will "blow your mind. There hasn’t been a studio film this racy, this out there, this kind of progressive, probably since the '70s. And, especially in today’s climate, this is gonna be something. You know, it’s out there.”

Tell us more, Joe. “As far as progressive goes, I mean, that’s an interesting conversation, which is the post-feminist sector that’s between men and women. In terms of male entertainment, what it's exposed is the fact that the deck has been reshuffled," he said. "There's this kind of refiguring out of the relationships." In other words, women aren't just writhing on the pole anymore. They're also audience members. 

As he sees it, women have always wanted to explore their sexuality; they just were never encouraged to do so. And, what better way to do that (for straight women, anyway) than with Manganiello and his fellow thong-clad brothers dancing in a shower of dollar bills?  

Smith recounted a conversation she had with Tatum about XXL. "He was like, ‘I think Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t turn women on, but it switched something on,'" she told Refinery29. "And, I was like, that’s right. It did. I think women are really now wanting to have that conversation and really listen. Women are looking for satisfaction — emotional satisfaction, physical satisfaction, happiness." And, if that means gratuitous scenes where half-naked men are gyrating while covered in whipped cream, so be it.

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