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(Warning – Spoiler Alert! Do not proceed if you haven't yet experienced Fifty Shades of Grey or Magic Mike and wish to do so)
Last week I remember sitting in my living room telling my sister we women have come a long way, baby. That we’re CEOs, we as bloggers are defining preferences for all of America, we’re bringing back midwives and pissing off politicians. We’re even getting entertainment made just for us, and it’s not another Meg Ryan/Jen Aniston/Kate Hudson cryfest/rom-com or YA lit that makes us into squealing teenagers.
And then this past week I experiences this entertainment made just for us by finishing Fifty Shades of Grey and seeing Magic Mike. And now I think… women… we deserve better. And while we have come a long way baby, we have so much further to journey, even with such basic things as entertainment.
Yes, it’s awesome to have erotica on the New York Times Bestseller list, and to have movies like Magic Mike after decades of Showgirls and Burlesque. The thing is, these forms of entertainment are sub-par and we’re ignoring that fact because we have been so starved for such things to exist. We have relied for far too long on movies that will show full-frontal nudity of 50 women and only the silhouette of a man’s ass, and crappy Harlequin romance novels where men ravage delicate women and they love it. Fifty Shades of Grey and Magic Mike are just as poorly written, poorly executed, and degrading as the entertainment we women already had, just with more dollars behind them.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Wow, I thought the Twilight series (which inspired this series) was poorly-written, Fifty Shades makes me want to give Stephenie Meyer a Man Booker. E.L. James used “fancy” words where they weren’t needed and then when a thesaurus would have been helpful, she reused the same word over and over and over. Come now, having the same adjective three times in one paragraph? The continuous use of Inner Goddess? And by a woman who was a naïve virgin before she met this man?
Let’s delve into the actual content. We have here an inexperienced woman who has an orgasm the first time she has sex ever, and with a very well-endowed man. She proceeds to have orgasms left and right after that from completely new experiences, and experiences that would leave many well-experienced women comfortable with their bodies turned on, wanting more, but not likely coming over and over. Of course I will get into the fashion – what kazillionaire wears black jeans with a white linen shirt and pair of black Chucks? And what's up with mega detail about music or a helicopter, and not enough detail or explanation about other things like WTH Christian does to be a kazillionaire.
We have a man who is pretty much a psychopath – extremely controlling, jealous, abusive (I don't mean S&M)… and we women are to find this to be alluring and sexy and desirable. So desirable that the protagonist is left so upset she hugs a deflated Mylar balloon, tears falling on its metallic Charlie Tango surface.
So we have a stupid clueless girl that learned absolutely nothing during her four years of college majoring in English Literature who meets a 27-year old Edward wannabe with a fleet of Audis who emotionally abuses and fucks with her left and right, can’t dress, and writes completely lame old-man emails. We have a lack of an actual plot, horrific writing and lazy editing, and we are to cheer for erotica written for US WOMEN?
Cast of hot men, great topic, poor execution. I would have adored having a campy Showgirls-esque film that starred men, but this wasn’t it. This also wasn’t 8 Mile or some coming of age story. It was a sad film that didn’t know what it wanted to accomplish, and it was obviously written by a man who thinks he knows what women want.
Magic Mike & Doo-doo Face
If I could re-write Magic Mike:
- Mike would have some job that gave him a paycheck. Even if he sold phones for T-Mobile at the mall 10 hours a week, it would make more sense. He wasn't stupid, by the age of 30 you'd think he'd realize walking around with piles of bills would look shady and hint at illegal activities and after years of bank rejection he'd realize a simple mall job would give him legitimacy without ruining his stripping gig.
- Mike wouldn’t make furniture from crap on the beach, but with wood and his hands. Let’s see Channing Tatum shirtless, covered with sweat in a workshop planing wood. Sun coming in the window, sawdust catching the rays as he rubs his hand on the table to ensure it's smooth from sanding. I can't think of a woman who wouldn't want to see a few minutes of that in a movie.
- Big Dick Ricky wouldn’t hurt his back picking up a woman who is the size of 75% of the audience going to see the film. Come ON screenwriters, WTF???
- There would be more penis. We have plenty of full-frontal nudity of women in every film, but hardly any of men. I know that movie ratings are sexist, well then be more creative with camera angles and silhouettes and hints of what we COULD see if the camera was just to the left or stayed on that scene a second longer.
- There’d be more dancing. Channing Tatum dancing is a sight to behold. It is the only thing that kept my attention through the movie, and there was just not enough of it. He’s not my cup of tea, but when he dances… I become a Channing Tatum fan.
- There would be more character development. I loved the peek into Dallas’ home, seeing Joanna with her fiancé and how Mike reacted, knowing what Brooke did for a living, etc. There wasn’t enough of it and too much construction site, rainbow-hair girl writhing on an ottoman and passing out in red and blue lights.
- The protagonist would be a bit more endearing. She constantly had, in the words of my husband, “doo-doo face.” I understand they were trying to make her seem ambitious, level-headed, and serious, but she just came off as though she had a stick up her ass.
These things (especially the one about the woman hurting the stripper’s back) made me really wonder who this movie was made for.
So maybe I sound as though I, like Brooke, have a stick up my ass, but I just feel that we women deserve more. We deserve quality writing, quality plot lines, and sexy stories that respect women and provide positive protagonists. We deserve to get off, find things hot and steamy, and not have to deal with stupid or “bitchy” female characters. While both Brooke in Magic Mike and Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey were supposedly intelligent women, they were very simplistic characters who have poor taste in men. Ana dealt with domineering fucked-up Christian, Brooke leaves domineering first boyfriend, but then at the end of the movie instead of talking all night with distressed Mike, she propositions him, going against both her ethics (so we are led to believe), and what he actually is looking for (real relationship and understanding).
Where’s the intelligent, independent women who get the guy? And the guy who has a brain, a dick, and a heart? THAT is the fantasy and erotica that we deserve. Who wants to write a screenplay with me?