Fifty Shades of Grey, the first movie installment of the Fifty Shades series, was released on Friday. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Because when I think of romance, I think of a controlling psychopath with mommy issues.
No, I am not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I read the entire series before drawing that conclusion. And just thinking of the books in retrospect fills me with a combination of rage and despair.
It’s always jarring when you see millions of women praising a series that seems to almost blatantly advocate emotional and psychological abuse.
— SBS News (@SBSNews) February 13, 2015
While the violence (a poorly researched interpretation of the real-life S&M scene) is the icing on the cake of the disturbing series of takeaways from Fifty Shades, I think not enough women appreciate that not every abusive relationship is physical.
Including the so-called relationship between Anastasia “Ana” Steele and Christian Grey.
Reviewer Rosie Waterland, was so disturbed by what she saw on-screen that she left the theater on the verge of tears.
“Putting this kind of controlling, emotionally abusive relationship in the context of a sexy billionaire who just needs to be loved, makes it ridiculously easy to convince audiences the world over that this kind of behaviour is okay.
He’s not some poor drunk with a mullet, hitting his wife for not doing the dishes. Christian is classy. Rich. Educated. He’s not what most women imagine an abuser to be, and his kind of abuse is not what most women would immediately recognise.”
And yet, not surprisingly, this emotional reaction was quickly countered by blindly devote Fifty Shades of Grey fans.
“If you haven’t read the books then there is a lot you don’t know and you are judging the storyline far too soon. The next two books actually are less about the sex and more about the childhood and upbringing of Christian Grey.
While I admit it is not great writing — it is not about domestic violence. It is about a man who has been abused! Read the next two books before you make your assumptions.”
For the record, it’s all too common for male victims of domestic violence to become abusers themselves. This is something that is lost on many of the people defending this series, almost suggesting a level of obtuseness akin to enabling.
— Metro (@MetroUK) February 13, 2015
Both groups have loudly and continuously complained about the messages behind Fifty Shades, which they feel promotes unhealthy (if not dangerous) relationships between men and women. Of course, some women are so caught up in their own sexual fantasies that they can easily overlook the unacceptable nature of what they see in Fifty Shades.
“It’s only fiction!”
Well, let me make it real for you. Let’s take away Grey’s good looks and wealth. Let’s take away the “red room” and the car sex.
Let’s put you with a man who tells you how to dress and when to eat. Someone who isolates you from friends and family and justifies his jealousy by telling you it’s because he wants you all to himself. A man monitors your computer and phone, recording your every move to ensure you’re not “disobeying him.” Someone who threatens violent consequences for crossing him.
Let’s have you explain all of this disturbing to your concerned friends and family with you telling them it’s okay. You say, “I love him, and I know that if I love him hard enough… he will change for me!”
Does this still sound like a romantic life worth fantasizing about? Do you really think money and gifts will make the pain, doubt, and confusion go away?
I should imagine not.
The next time you scroll to the comment section of an article about Fifty Shades of Grey, motivated by the need to defend your literary “spank-bank,” remember that your sexual fantasy is someone else’s real life hell.
#WhyIStayed because he told me he was broken and needed me. I tried to love the anger out of him and only hurt myself
— Blair Parson (@BlairParson15) February 10, 2015
[Image Credit: Universal Pictures UK]