The Hidden Feminism of Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum Feminist

Channing Tatum Feminist

I don’t know that much about Channing Tatum. I know he used to be a male stripper and that he’s pretty funny. The only movies I’ve ever seen him were the wrestling one with Steve Carell and one I had to Google search just now. “end of the world movie james franco.” It was This Is The End.

I specifically remember thinking he was cool in This Is The End because of one particular scene. He was in a gimp suit and got down submissively on all fours at one point. I’m pretty sure he acted like a dog and was wearing a leash. It was funny, and something I’m not sure a lot of male actors are secure enough to do on screen for a few laughs, or accustomed to doing thanks to the lopsided “artistic” sexual portrayals/exploitations of male vs. female actors in Hollywood.

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It reminded me of when I lived in Chile post-undergrad and my boyfriend at the time was trying yoga with me for the first time ever. We were watching a Yogamazing video podcast and, like at the beginning of many yoga sessions, we started by doing cat cow pose. That’s the one where you’re on all fours and arch your back to stretch your core muscles like a cow, then make a cat back to stretch out your back. Then you repeat for a couple of breaths and move on with your life.

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For some reason, after one try of these cat cow stretches, my ex became really angry. “I’m not doing this anymore! I HATE IT!!” When I asked him why, if something hurt, etc., he wouldn’t give me a clear answer, which angered me even more because whatever I’m thinking is wrong always leads to a 100% worse scenario. Is it because he has some cartilage stretching deep inside his body that doesn’t allow him to move well, and if he snaps it he’ll die? Is he jonesin’ to do a #2? Is he about to lay down a huge cheesy blaster? Is it because that’s what I look like when we do doggy style?

And that was it. I couldn’t stop thinking about that last one. I became convinced–and still am to this day–that that’s the reason he threw a literal fit about doing those yoga stretches. I’ll never know for sure if that was actually the reason because he strangely wouldn’t tell me–but I can’t let go that it isn’t.

I’m not really the type to start blaming myself for other people’s problems with sexism and the patriarchy. It’s honestly really sad to think about some man hypothetically believing a stretch is too feminine for him. But it does make me livid that he might have felt ashamed or less than doing a pose I do for exercise AND sometimes when we’re doin’ it. Well then, why the fuck are you asking me to bend over in the bedroom if you can’t even do it during yoga? If it’s that embarrassing for you, maybe it should be that embarrassing for me. *And so on until we all die from starvation and being lame af.*

That’s why I’m amazed every time I see Channing Tatum move his body. He is an incredible dancer who doesn’t, according to Sexist Stereotypes for Men, look like he would be. I haven’t seen any of the Magic Mike movies, but I have seen clips and am shocked at how confident and free he looks doing dance moves that most men would probably not attempt. Even more recently his incredible Lip Sync Battle where he dressed in drag as Beyoncé and fucking killed it dancing–and dressing–like her.

 

It’s honestly a breath of fresh air to see him not only pull off her moves, but look truly free and happy doing it–without the burden of cultural patterns of oppression weighing down upon his incredibly sculpted male physique.

Not that white straight dudes need a ton of attention right now in this country, but I could have used this Channing Tatum dance moment to show my ex that men can move their bodies in lots of different ways–and that doesn’t make them less of a person, a man, or whatever you want to call yourself. It’s also pretty insulting to be ashamed of being feminine.

The cultural importance of a straight cisgender dude dancing in drag, lip syncing with Beyoncé, on cable television, to a song called “Run the World (Girls)” is one huge point for feminism in 2016. Let us celebrate Channing Tatum for helping tear down the sexist patriarchy one hair flip, hip shake and back bend at a time. Just remember, boys: love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, and dance like Channing Tatum is watching. Feminism 2016™.

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Sex: What the fuck #1

Image via rounds.com
B Spears knows what I’m talkin about. Image via rounds.com

 

At the risk of sounding cliche/sexist/bored with my own sex life throughout this series, I’d like to offer these views on sexuality plaguing me and the 20-somethings in my life. Post #1.

American society and sexuality

How can a culture so fucking OBSESSED with sex be so bad at fucking? Of course it’s horrible of me to group every American (mostly the American straight dudes cuz those are the ones I’m doin’) into the category of being terrible in bed, because that obviously isn’t true. This is more for the dudes who have never heard of foreplay and how VITALLY IMPORTANT IT IS to have good sex with a woman, people who only get theirs and don’t share the O wealth, and those plagued with sex shame. Yikes!

Sex is everywhere. “Sex sells!” they say. So why is it that we are constantly surrounded by sexual images, sexual songs on the radio that sometimes play into rape culture, etc. but doing the actual deed gets people really stressed out, leading to bad bedroom experiences? I’ve got a few ideas.

Body image

Image via bodyandsoulactive.com
Every single day. Image via bodyandsoulactive.com

Everyone has insecurities. It’s practically unavoidable unless you’re some 50-year-old yogi who don’t give NO shits anymore. You’d think the fact that we all have insecurities about our bodies, our personalities and weird hair would cancel out in bed and we could all just have a good time. But no.

Is it that we’re all so self-centered? I know the times I’ve been deathly insecure in bed have been due to freaking out about something concerning my own naked body. Is he gonna think I’m disgusting for not shaving myself bald/I shouldn’t have eaten that burrito/If I have a double chin from this angle I’m going to kill myself are probably all things that used to run through my mind from the beginning of my sex life (18) to around 22.

What most people don’t realize until well into their sexual experimentation is that these insecurities read as crazy disinterest in your sexual partner. While you’re freaking out about how you look from a certain angle, they’re getting that you’re so uncomfortable, probably with them, that you can’t even enjoy or pay attention to the shared experience.

Tip: next time you’re in bed with someone, try to NOT think about yourself and your insecurites. Nobody is perfect. Celebrities crap/queef/feel unloved sometimes too, bro. I know it’s hard, but if you take baby steps to being secure with yourself, practicing self acceptance, trust and maybe having a bit of confidence, the sex will get SO SO SO much better.

Media

Image via frontpagemag.com
Faceless fucks. Image via frontpagemag.com

Ugh. THE MEDIA, DUN DUN DUN! What a crazy ecosystem of all the wrong ways to live. NO WONDER so many straight dudes think sex can start immediately without any foreplay for the lady parts. We need that shit. WE NEED IT. NEED. IT.

I guess for the sake of quick storytelling it makes sense (American Pie and their awful, horrible, no good sexualities come to mind), but in a culture where sex is a shameful act (damn you, Puritans!), it comes across sometimes as something to “get over with” as quickly as possible. Nu-uh. Cut it out right now.

Tip: Watch a bunch of artistic French or Latino films or something. Observe the sensuality. Have sex with a foreigner from a sensual land! Learn about sexuality in a different culture. It’s not like other cultures don’t have their own probs (yo misogyny, heavy gender stereotypes, bad outfits) but at least you can learn a bit about how other cultures express themselves sexually. It’s important to step outside of our own heads sometimes to get a different perspective. Also, just get sensual. Shame is lame!

Magazines

I would take sex advice from Khloe Kardashian over any Cosmo writer ANY DAY. Image via celebitchy.com
I would take sex advice from Khloe Kardashian over any Cosmo writer ANY DAY. Bonus: Shitty photoshop. These magazines are pure hell. Image via celebitchy.com

I remember when I used to buy and read magazines like Cosmopolitan. I was mostly a pre-teen to real teen during those years, because that shit is insufferable to read now. A friend in high school actually boycotted reading the mags after she read a tip similar to this: Keep your man satisfied in bed so he won’t leave you. SPIT TAKE! What the fuck. Seriously.

Here is a funny list of the worst Cosmo sex tips that’s pretty representative of the bullshit that gets printed in these sad mags. It’s seriously like none of these women have ever been in bed with a man and are taking descriptions straight from Harlequin romance novels and making them 10 times WORSE.

Tip: don’t take advice from magazines. They are the worst gender/sex/sexuality propaganda EVER. Go to a punk coffee shop, find a girl with a shaved head and ask her a bunch of questions about gender and sexuality. It will be the best conversation of your life. I promise. Or, you know, talk things out with your partner. Good communication is key to a great lay. HEY!

Music: Summer Hits of 2013: Troublemaker and Blurred Lines

“Troublemaker” by Olly Murs and Flo Rida

Good GOD. I love summer songs. They are full of life and love and sex (maybe, probably, HOPEFULLY). The first time I heard Olly Murs’ song “Troublemaker” I instantly loved it. It’s a refreshing move away from the synth-crazed hits of the radio over the winter. Plus there is not even one note in any of the melodies that is questionable. It just winds around the simple yet full instrumentation so sweetly. Plus PLUS Flo Rida adds a little FLORIDA FLAIR (oh god) making it a perfect A+ summer hit. Extra points for have a strong-willed female in the vid.

“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I.

Robin-Thicke-NSFWThis song is pure sex. Robin Thicke is hot as FUCK, Pharrell is awesome and I guess T.I. is okay. Along the same lines as “Troublemaker”, the instrumentation is simple yet compelling and PHRESH because it’s not the same electro stuff we’ve heard for the past billion years on the radio (don’t get me wrong I love electropop but JESUS, instrument diversity is cool too RADIO). This song is just so fun. You can’t help but move around to it, and maybe kiss ur honey in the process.

BUT, the more I listen to the lyrics, the more I started to like the song less:

ok he was close

tried to domesticate you

but you’re an animal

Baby it’s in your nature

just let me liberate you

Knee-jerk reaction: bitch PLEASE.

One terrible part of loving pop music is the antiquated and rather dull views on gender roles and sexuality. A woman who was unhappy with a controlling man should let you liberate her because she can’t do it herself? COOL STORY BRO. NO, REALLY. I’m so glad another mainstream pop/r&b artist has written a song alluding to the fact that women can’t think for themselves. Real neat. SO 2013.

The uncensored video is kinda really fuckin lame too. I mean, it’s pretty and well shot, but super objectifying and YAWN. It’s full of topless and naked models with fully clothed men. Hey, here’s an idea dudes: why don’t you stop being so insecure about your stomachs/biceps/dicks/manhood and flop them around for a change? IDGAF if it isn’t as pretty as women being naked. EQUALITY MOTHAFUCKAS.

I know it’s a pop song and it IS a fun and catchy tune. But sometimes it’s still hard as a human, who respects not only herself but everyone regardless of gender, to hear lyrics that once again play into gendered stereotypes of sexuality, i.e. men are strong and women are weak. PUKE. All it tells me is that Robin Thicke and co. are living in a fantasy world where they think women need men to save them from other dudes cuz we can’t make a decision for ourselves. EW. YUCK. We’re all just human beings, man. Cut this gender shit out. It’s SUCH a bore and pretty intellectually embarrassing.

A- SUMMER HIT because the music is awesome but the lyrics are so 1873.