Channing Tatum Pens Open Letter To His Daughter About Confidence, Self-Worth & Sexuality

Who needs the fictional character of ‘Magic Mike’ when you have Channing Tatum making some epic moves IRL! The actor, husband and father recently wrote an open letter to his daughter on Cosmopolitan.com, which also coincided with the promotion of ‘Magic Mike’ being turned into a live show. While he won’t be part of the cast this time around, Channing is the director of ‘Magic Mike Live’ which will be seen at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

Given that one of the core messages of the Channing Tatum-produced movie & now show is empowering women and allowing them the space to embrace their sexuality sans judgement, shaming or demoralization, it’s not hard to see how these themes are an extension of his own thoughts about women’s bodies and sexuality.

In his open letter, he addressed issues of sexuality, self-worth, and taking a stand against societal standards that keep especially women in a box. He starts off saying he was invited to write about the live show for Cosmo, and thought about his daughter reading this someday as a young woman at a time in her life when sex and relationships would start to appar on her radar.

“I tried to imagine the things I’d want her to read that would help her understand men and sex and partnership better, and at that moment, I realized a strange thing. I don’t want her looking to the outside world for answers. My highest hope for her is just that she has the fearlessness to always be her authentic self, no matter what she thinks men want her to be,” he writes.

He says this outlook comes from the confidence he found in his wife in the early days of their relationship. Fellow actress Jenna Dewan Tatum reportedly told him up front that she knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to let it known. Channing describes what a turn on it was for him to see such unapologetic boldness in her, and in her acceptance of him to know she wanted to be with him long term.

“I remember feeling this incredible rush — it was the sexiest thing she’d ever done for me. I felt strength, because in that moment, she had accepted every part of me, the good and the bad…That radical authenticity of hers was what made me fall head over heels in love…And that’s what I want for my daughter — to be expectation-less with her love and not allow preconceived standards to affect her, to ask herself what she wants and feel empowered enough to act on it,” he said.

That idea of empowered women taking the lead and making confident and clear decisions about their lives and relationships is definitely something we need to hear more of, which is why sex-positive feminism is an important part of the current movement.

The notion that women have to conform, contort themselves, and change just to meet someone else’s expectations of who they should be. And sadly many of these ingrained attitudes exist to push women to make themselves more appealing to cis-gender men, another thing Channing wants his daughter to grow up without.

“If there’s one thing that I think men wish women knew, it’s just that they alone are enough. When more women start to truly feel this power in themselves, the world will become so magical, it makes my head hurt,” he said.

With so much outward aggression today toward women who are standing up for their rights, their bodies and their decisions that don’t necessarily line up to the standards that make them appealing to men, it’s refreshing to hear a guy like Channing, arguably a poster-boy for traditional masculinity (especially in film), telling women they are enough.

“We live in a society that has trained men and women to play certain kinds of roles for a long time, and the beauty of this amazing moment we’re living in is that we’re finally starting to break free from those roles. Women, especially, are realizing that they no longer have to conform to certain standards of social and sexual behavior, and this changes what they need from men and the role of men in general,” he said.

He says these ideas are part of the reason he created the ‘Magic Mike Live’ show, albeit in a “fun and provocative” way.

“I want women to feel what it’s like to exist in a world where men really listen to them, where they treat them like goddesses, and where they can feel comfortable and proud to express the full force of their sexual energy together. I want them to experience a place where they are much more than enough,” he said.

Part of what makes his open letter a great conversation starter is that discussions around women’s autonomy and sexuality are inextricably linked to other issues, such as sex education, rape culture, and the differing social messages and cues given to men and women about these growing up.

In a previous live-streamed event with Cosmopolitan, Channing spoke about rape culture and sex education (especially one that neglects to include women’s pleasure and autonomy as a real thing), addressing the horrendous Brock Turner rape case where a white male college student was given a pitiful 6 month sentence in jail for raping an unconscious woman. He ended up only serving 3 of those months because the judge decided it would negatively impact his life, ya know, given that apart from the whole raping an unconscious woman thing, he was painted as an upstanding citizen.

“I think rape culture is a very real thing…I really think it’s a horrible idea to let someone off because of possibly what they’re gonna be capable of doing. Because if you start doing that where do you end? Where does that stop? Where does that line actually quit? I don’t think it’s right, I think he should’ve been punished personally,” he said in the interview.

Brock Turner isn’t an isolated case by any means, and the extremely lenient decision by the judge is highly indicative of what greater society thinks of violating women’s bodies in general. At the heart of it is viewing women as equal human beings, and not enforcing social stigma around a topic that has been used to control women for so long – sexuality.

Having men like Channing Tatum being open about raising a daughter to be empowered about her life and worth will hopefully go a long way to encouraging other parents to raise children with similar open-mindedness and mutual respect for each other. You can read the full letter here.

 

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