Earlier this week, Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello gave an interview with the Australian site Daily Life to promote Magic Mike XXL, a movie which surprised basically every single person who saw it by being a billion times more woman-friendly than anyone ever expected. Even Tatum and Manganiello seem surprised by hearing it called “feminist.” The interviewer brought up the word, and the opinion of awesome smart hilarious feminist writer and professor Roxane Gay, who has been loudly proclaiming her Magic Mike superfandom on Twitter for the last week and a half, in addition to writing the best movie recap in the history of movie recaps.
Here is my Christmas list: 1. Magic Mike XXL on Blu Ray. 2. See Item 1— roxane gay (@rgay) July 1, 2015
Woke up giggling and thinking about Magic Mike XXL, like 3 hours ago. pic.twitter.com/GZJpLVMb7d— roxane gay (@rgay) July 1, 2015
It is okay if you are feeling "sick" and need to leave work early to go see Magic Mike. I will write you a doctor's note.— roxane gay (@rgay) July 1, 2015
When the interviewer brings up Roxane Gay (and tells them who she is), the dudes’ first— hilarious— reaction is that they think they’ve stumbled into a trap. When they’ve recovered from that, and are convinced that they don’t actually have to defend the movie, they’re happy to talk feminism— even if they admittedly don’t really know what that means.
Tatum: I wanna talk to her. We’re gonna do a Magic Mike Vegas show, and it’s… (sighs). ‘Feminist’ is like a hard word for me to throw around. I would love to say I’m a feminist but I don’t study feminism, so I can’t just go, like, “Yes, I’m a feminist!”. But I’m very pro-feminism. I wanna talk to her about the Magic Mike show.Normally the “I’m not a feminist, but…” pull quote route upsets me to no end, but this is not that. This seems to be two dudes who openly admit that the word “feminism” is something they don’t fully understand, which carries with it a lot of baggage and stigma that they have not personally waded though but maybe want to. Channing Tatum may not think he can be a feminist without holding a degree in it. Manganiello doesn’t know that feminism in film isn’t supposed to require emasculating male characters. But they both seem so earnest and open and even eager to learn, that I find it endearing. You can watch the video of this part of the interview here, in which they very clearly seem to be genuinely intrigued by the potential of being a part of this larger conversation.
Manganiello: I’m glad she digs it! Because, you know, I can see how it is pro-feminist. But it’s also a movie where the men retain their masculinity, which I think is, you know, a balancing act. I’m glad that she enjoys it. We’re still guys.
Tatum: Yeah, it’s exactly that. Let’s put each other on an equal playing field, and have a conversation.
My two greatest wishes in life are now, in this order: 1. To have Matt McGorry befriend Channing Tatum and teach him how to be a muscly outspoken feminist; and 2. To watch an interview series were Roxane Gay talks to the whole cast of Magic Mike that ends in dancing in Vegas.