I’m having trouble with the new 50 Shades of Grey movie, but not for the reason you might think. If you’ve ever read any of my posts, it’s pretty easy to see that I consider myself a feminist and have no problem speaking up for women’s rights. That being said, I think I need to preface the bulk of this post with the next few points:
1. I have not read the books. I do, however, have several friends who have read them multiple times, and one could consider are mildly obsessed (sorry guys, but it’s the truth).
2. I consider myself a liberal person on all fronts. This means that I try to live life without passing judgment on others, unless their actions put others in danger, including men, women and children.
[SPOILER ALERT] If you haven’t read the books, and you care about the ending, stop now, because I’m probably going to ruin things for you…
My understanding of the series, is that Christian Grey is the aggressor. He’s a stalker, who pursues a college age virgin and coerces her into signing a contract so that she is essentially ‘forced’ into performing specific sexual and BDSM acts with him, as a sub. I’d like to pause here, and note that nothing I’ve said so far really addresses what’s currently being shown in the commercials for the movies: Rich billionaire, jets, swanky offices, coy smiles from the female lead… No allusions to the fact that she turned him down several times in the books… No allusions to the fact that she’s a virgin, not just shy… No allusions to the fact that Christian Grey is not just a Dom, but that he in fact engages in stalker-like behavior… Are you getting the gist?
There’s a few other things I think are important to mention here:
1. Several people I know, and like, have either worked in the sex industry or specifically in dungeons.
2. I have no issue with people being into BDSM, when there is consent from all parties. In fact, I think people engaging in sexual fantasies is a healthy part of self-exploration. Whether someone engages in real life, or simply fantasizes about something outside of their daily life, there’s no reason to disallow people from doing this. The key points here are that all parties involved need to provide express consent, that is not coerced, they should all be adults, and they should me motivated by a desire to find pleasure, not an attempt to ‘self-medicate’ after a trauma of some sort.
3. I know people who are engaged in Dom/Sub relationships, and they are relatively well-adjusted people. All participants are willingly engaged in the relationships.
Here’s the deal. If a child is involved, there is definitely not consent. If there is sexual violence, outside of role play in which a person consents, it’s not consent. If there is coercion, there is not consent. It’s actually pretty simple.
Again, I note that BDSM in itself is NOT what is dangerous, per se. Stalking is dangerous and a personal violation. Coercion can be damaging and a personal violation.
So why is Hollywood glamorizing a movie that is in fact about books featuring situations that can be considered dangerous to women? Because apparently not only does sex sell, but a soft-core version of a book that actually shows violations of a woman’s well-being is more palatable to the masses.
If you are interested in BDSM, do yourself a favorite and don’t base your knowledge on the 50 Shades movie or the 50 Shades books. Look into it independently, and if you decide to engage, do it with someone you trust.
If you are in a dangerous or abusive relationship, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website or call 1-800-799-7233.