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Big Richie Style: We're Objectifying the Shit Out of Joe Manganiello and Loving It

It's Magic Mike Week on the Internet (like Shark Week, only with more pecs) and fans are in a hip-gyration-induced frenzy. Though the star of Magic Mike is known beefcake Channing Tatum, leading the pack of man meat in press junkets is none other than Joe "If You Watch True Blood You've Seen That Pelvic Bone Before" Manganiello.

shirtless pic of Joe Manganiello in Entertainment Weekly
My character's name is "Big Dick" Richie, but you can call me Dick.

Now, there's no denying that Joe Manganiello is, as Jack Donaghy would say, "keeping it tight." No matter your type, he's an attractive guy with something to offer in the bod department. However, judging by the boners (and ladyboners) the media publicly have for this guy, we may have crossed the border from "He's Hotville" into "Objectificationland." It's like we're taking all of that collective 50 Shades of Grey sexual frustration out on him!

Exhibit A, Manganiello's recent appearance at the MTV Movie Awards. Notice how his Magic Mike costars, Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, are in suits while the Mange is a shirtless firefighter.


Get More: MTV Shows

Quotes and a video description available at MTV.com

Exhibit B, the recent interviews Manganiello's been giving, wherein he's been asked the following:

  • The "Sexy Beast" section of the Daily Beast mentions his "Adonis-like physique" and details a scene from Magic Mike that highlights his "massive, erect penis." (Shirtless pic? Check.)
  • Says People in a "Hump Day" slide show of Manganiello pics, "He's real. And he's pec-tacular." (Shirtless pic? Check.)
  • After describing him as "a six-foot-five hunk," Vulture says they're "surprised that [he] didn't do a strip routine in front of the Queen for her Jubilee." (Shirtless pic? Nope, he's in a suit.)
  • Vanity Fair wonders what (or whom) he sleeps in. (Shirtless pic? Check.)
  • The Huffington Post "already knew how [Manganiello] felt about his thong—'It sort of felt like a wedgie'—but what about his other skimpy stripper attire?" (Shirtless pic? Check, but it's part of a slideshow that includes shirted pics as well.)
  • AfterElton sat down with the "towering 6 ft, 5 inches of masculinity and muscle" and asked him about his stripper moves. (Shirtless pic? Check. And check.)
  • The hosts of Today Show begged him to "show us what you got, big boy!" when he appeared on the show this week, and Jezebel responded with "Mmm, broad shoulders. (Shirtless pic? Video.)

Exhibit C, the focus on the package. Fanning the Manganiello loin flames is that his character in Magic Mike—who, from what I can tell, actually plays a pretty minor role in the film—is called "Big Dick Richie" for a reason, and it ain't because he voted for Nixon (*rimshot*). Here's an animated gif highlighting his, um, assets:

Joe Manganiello nude in silhouette, waggling his penis.
"When asked whether he used a prosthetic penis, the hulking actor gives the impression that … maybe he didn't."

I have yet to find an interview or a press blurb about this guy that doesn't mention his pecs, abs, ass, or crotch. Should we be concerned? On the one hand, I count myself among the fans who are saving their dollar bills to see Magic Mike on Friday (plug: look for our review!), and there is something undeniably fun about watching a confident, hot person dance around naked. On the other hand, if Manganiello were anything other than a straight white guy, all of this hooting and hollering about his body would make me really uncomfortable. And after watching the Today Show ladies badger him into doing body rolls and try to make him slap their asses, well, I actually am uncomfortable. Are we subverting the male gaze by begging Joe to shake his moneymaker, or are we just a bunch of horndogs? (I vote horndogs.)

Yes, part of why Magic Mike is already so popular is that it invites us to delight in objectifying these guys—it's a movie about a strip club instead of actually being a strip club, so we can shout for shirtless guys to take it off without fearing ridicule, assault, or that we're exploiting the talent. However, paying money to see a guy named "Big Dick" Richie's junk is straight-up objectification, no matter how you slice it. It might be fun objectification (hey, I am currently trying to convince the other Bitch staffers to see a midnight showing of this movie with me), but still.

Manganiello, for his part, seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing. Here he is on The Soup letting Kylie Minogue eat Doritos off of a prosthetic beer belly (I laughed, but this does underscore the fact that we're valuing La Manga more for his washboard stomach than we are, say, his eyes or something):

What do you think? Should we feel any shame when we tweet about wanting to bone Joe Manganiello? Or is it all in good (not-so-clean) fun?

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Comments

19 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Male vs. female nudity

My friend and I were talking about this movie yesterday...we were talking about how there are all kinds of cheesecake movies like 'Showgirls,' 'Striptease,' 'Flashdance,' etc., but the only movie I could think of about male strippers was 'The Full Monty.' Male nudity is used for comedic effect, but female nudity (at least when we're talking about "hot" women) is always erotically charged. It's interesting to see a big mainstream movie that encourages women to ogle hot naked men. I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it...I do have a nagging feeling that it's a bit wrong, but that didn't stop me from buying an advance ticket this morning.

Don't forget about "A Night

Don't forget about "A Night in Heaven" 1983 with Christopher Atkins stripping from a silver space suit with smoke machines to Obsession pulsating on the soundtrack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-BzGRQ8fAE

Re: A Night in Heaven

Sweet mother of god. I must see this film.

What do I think?!

I think...yay, Kylie Minogue! Sorry. She's my favorite over-the-top pop icon, so I got distracted.

I was considering whether I felt guilty about objectifying this guy, but then I remembered that this is the first time I'd heard of him. I'm not sure I'm part of the "we" in question.

However, upon further consideration (and based solely on the content of this article) I do think he's attractive, but I don't think that opinion is harmful. It would be harmful if I denied his autonomy/agency, and thought of him as a thing to be used and nothing more.

While I can't say I know anything about him other than what he looks like with his shirt off, I can say that at no point thus far have I thought of him as a being without voice or an object without choice.

So, no. I don't feel shame.

As someone who has written

As someone who has written about this before (http://livluna.com/profiles/blogs/joe-manganiello-covers-out-magazine-is...,) I will say this. Yes, it is annoying that that's all gossip websites and TV shows can talk about when it comes to him. I enjoy reading interviews with him as it is clear that he is intelligent (yeah, you kinda can't go to Carnegie Mellon and be stupid) he's warm, and he's very good to his fans and his hometown. Yes, I wish these newshows would ask him better questions than "what kind of underwear do you wear?" (there's a video of an E! reporter asking him this question somewhere, the look on his face is priceless. It's a look of "Are you fucking kidding me? I guess I'll answer your question, but come on, lady!") But that being said, as long as he enjoys it, as long as he has some control over it, then why not let him go for it? He stated recently that the first half of his career was dedicated to very intense classical theatre, and now he's having fun running around pretty much naked on screen and in magazines We must also remember that he's not a teenager (he's 35,) he's been in the public eye for at least ten years now.
The Soup bit was a response to this kind of ridiculousness, I think it's safe to say that he's in on the joke.

I think the real problem is with the mainstream entertainment "journalists" and internet commenters. It's a hard thing--he is unbelievably attractive (I'd be lying if I said looking at him didn't make me positively giddy,) so why deny it? But on the other, women didn't win the right to be objectified nor to objectify anyone else, so why stoop to this? There has to be a balance; we just need to work on creating it.

Like you, I'd be pretty

Like you, I'd be pretty uncomfortable with all this if he wasn't a straight white guy, but I don't see that as reason to worry about this situation. Context matters, and the context surrounding a woman/POC/etc. being blatantly and repeatedly objectified by the media and the general public is very different from the one surrounding this particular frenzy. The former situation would be part of a long history of all women being valued exclusively for their bodies/physical attractiveness and defined by their sexuality (similarly, for a person of color it would be adding to a long history of race-based physical and sexual exploitation); there's no comparable history of exploitation and oppression for people like Mangiello. Applying the same standards of judgement to the treatment of straight white men as would be applied to the treatment of the rest of us ignores those histories.

For that matter, I don't think objectification is inherently a bad thing: most people wearing mini-skirts or translucent clothing in public are looking to be objectified. The problem is that some people are objectified whether they want to be or not, and to the point where they are denied their humanity. Joe Mangiello is no naive innocent; he's an adult by any definition who knew what he was getting into (probably worked pretty hard at the gym with the intent of creating a body that would garner this kind of attention) and unlike many real strippers, he had plenty of other reasonable options. Thanks to his belonging to several privileged groups, he's also guaranteed a certain measure of respect. So if people want to stare and drool over the abs he worked so hard to create and publicize, I say let them.

On a somewhat related note, have others felt like there have been more penises on movie screens lately, and more blatant attention to them? First Michael Fassbender, now this...but then again, maybe I'm just young.

"For that matter, I don't

"For that matter, I don't think objectification is inherently a bad thing: most people wearing mini-skirts or translucent clothing in public are looking to be objectified."

i dont know... is that so? i can't help it but think about "she was asking for it" when i read the second part here.

I think there's a difference

I think there's a difference between "Look at me! I'm a sexual being and comfortable being and being seen as such" and "OBJECTIFY ME!!!"

Objectification inherently means viewing someone as an object, in this case a sexual object. When I wear a mini skirt, I'm not looking to be turned into a sexual object. It can be an expression of my sexuality, but it's not an invitation to view me as a blow up doll with a pulse.

I have the feeling that was not what you meant when you said people in mini-skirts are looking to be objectified.

The hypocrisy of ALL women is

The hypocrisy of ALL women is unbelievable! You even have the nerve to justify it any way you could saying as long as it's a white male it's OK. That just shows that misandry of white men is so rampant in our society and it's disgusting! I have never seen so many unprofessional women in media acting like 16 year ole wh*res the way they are demeaning the men in this movie. If the situation were reversed and people such as David Letterman or Regis Philbin acted this way toward an actress they would be vilified for it and there would be a call for their job. Women have cried about nudity and objectification for many years and you all are still unrelenting on the issue. Men have also been objectified just as much as women through magazines, romance novels, soap operas, TV shows like True Blood, Spartacus, and movies like Sex and the City and this movie, among many other things, yet it is never talked about, and women deny men are objectified and only women could be affected by it in a negative way. Think again!!!!

As far as nudity goes women are only shown topless, rarely rear nudity from women, and NEVER has female genitalia been shown. However, men are constantly shown topless, rear nudity for men is common, and full frontal male nudity is now common place. Yet women want everyone to believe that they are the ones shown nude more often and more graphically and are the ones objectified, and when they are it is a problem that must be fixed. Never has a mainstream rated PG to rated R movie so graphically objectified and shown women in this way! Yet ALL women are having so much fun with this in so many downright disgusting ways! Even hooting and hollering at the theaters and the posts on Facebook and online are utterly disgusting. You are all a bunch of hypocrites and NEVER again should there be an article or opinion that it is bad to objectify women or on the subject of too much female nudity. Maybe it's about time men start calling for more movies like this about women and show their genitals in a graphic way like Bruno, Oz, Spartacus, and this movie has done.

"As far as nudity goes women

"As far as nudity goes women are only shown topless, rarely rear nudity from women, and NEVER has female genitalia been shown. However, men are constantly shown topless, rear nudity for men is common, and full frontal male nudity is now common place. Yet women want everyone to believe that they are the ones shown nude more often and more graphically and are the ones objectified, and when they are it is a problem that must be fixed..."

Just wanted to point out that part of the reason male frontal nudity is quite frequent is because of the phallocentric nature of Western culture. Just because we see more penis than vagina doesn't mean that men are equally or similarly objectified; rather, I think this points to how men are, for one, objectified differently than women through their (re)-presentations in mediated texts which is dialectically linked to the reproduction of patriarchal discourse through the everyday discursive practices of individuals and institutions, and two, (just as this movie screams "look how post-feminism we are for making a movie which allows women to go to a movie about male strippers without having any guilt or repercussions for doing so because this is a safe space created by and for the market") the reason we don't see much vagina in mainstream movies or other media is because there's still a serious repression of female sexuality in our culture.

Apologies for the run-on sentence.

Feminism: stirring up hatred of men

Ah so when men are objectified its fine, when women are objectified its bad. When a man's penis is shown, its not objectification at all, and the real reason why women's vulva's aren't shown is because women arent powerful enough.

Such is the upside down, irrational way feminists think.

Ah so when men are

Ah so when men are objectified its fine, when women are objectified its bad. When a man's penis is shown, its not objectification at all, and the real reason why women's vulva's aren't shown is because women arent powerful enough.

Such is the upside down, irrational way feminists think.

nailed it!

This guy has a point. People get so used to false stereotypes, that they tend to "spin" reality and make excuses to justify why it's different when the roles are reversed. It's the same..
I'm not saying it such a bad thing to enjoy looking at an attractive member of the opposite based solely on the fact that they are attractive. It's human nature.. But check yourself next time you want to get offended and preach about objectionifiction of women. Devin is absolutely correct when he points out that if reporters or or talkshow hosts asked these sort of questions, or behaved in this way towards a female actress, heads would roll. Think about it..

Re: Female Nudity

While I am not going to disagree with your sentiment regarding the hypocrisy of women objectifying men but whining about being objectified, I am going to call you out on your statements regarding female nudity on tv and in films. The reason being is that those statements are frankly a bunch of BS. Female nudity is extremely common in both movies and tv and in no way limited to just toplessness. A quick google search will give one a list of over 120 films with full frontal female nudity, and quite a number of those are big, mainstream films. Do you not watch other HBO shows? Between True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones alone I have seen enough female rear end and crotch to last a lifetime. Even in Magic Mike, a film about MALE strippers, we are still treated to bare female breasts. The naked female has been splashed all over tv and films for years and while I am not complaining about it( let's face it actors and actresses choose to do nude scenes or not) I will say I am glad to see the playing field leveled as of late.

I don't think it's wrong

I don't think it's wrong to objectify for fun as long as people behave and act respectful to the people in question. I'm doing some male stripper shows myself and I never feel uncomfortable during my shows. Of course I'm an "object" for as long as the show lasts, but I think the major difference between male and female strippers is the fact that men can more easily walk away from that role after he's done while the role as a stripper also sticks to a woman in other aspects of her life.

Also, while women may be more vocal during shows I do think most of them act respectful. There's just a difference of atmosphere present in a male stripshow. While men tend to go alone or with few others and just sit there and gaze at the performers, women hire male strippers for special occasions and because they simply want to have a blast, which is why I no longer strip in venues where both men and women strip. I prefer a female only audience with a more cheerful and not that "trudgy" atmosphere. There is a difference between objectification and degradation, some objectification is fine as long as you remove the degradation component.

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