Fifty Shades of Grey Brings Love, BDSM, and Abuse

Fifty Shades of Grey is the story of billionaire Christian Grey’s quest to get a young college graduate, Anastasia “Ana” Steele, to sign a contract to be his submissive in a BDSM relationship. The film contains plenty of graphic and S&M (Sadism & Masochism) scenes.

More than 100 million readers, mostly female, have read this novel about a virgin entering into a BDSM (bondage & discipline, dominance & submission) intimate relationship with an influential billionaire. Just like the book, the movie was expected to be a major hit with plenty of backlash as well. The film’s sensually explicit depic­tions of a young woman’s sexual awak­ening has popularized soft-core porn for women and has made it more so­cially acceptable.

While some women may support this, others argue that it turns domes­tic violence into a love story. They say it glorifies domestic violence against women because the relationship is not consensual. The controversy is over what is considered “consent” when it comes to sexual behavior. Some con­sider the relationship between Chris­tian and Ana consensual while others disagree.

On CBS, E.L. James discussed the film with the Associated Press, saying “Domestic violence, rape, are unac­ceptable. They are not entertaining in any way. Let me be entirely clear. Ev­erything that happens in this book is consensual. What do I need to do to convince people?”

Before the film was released, a group named Stop Porn Culture, en­couraged moviegoers to donate 50 dol­lars to domestic violence victims in­stead of seeing the movie. They are attempting to boycott the film for its violent sex scenes and they claim do­mestically abused women need money more than Hollywood. The campaign uses hashtags like #50DollarsNot­50Shades and #50ShadesIsAbuse.

Some argue that explicit vulgar vi­suals should not be glorified on the big screen, while others who actually saw the film believed that the erotica adap­tation was too tame. Time Magazine opined, “Violence against women is one thing, choosing to operate in an alternative lifestyle where there are parameters and choice is another. For any person who is seeing this movie, I hope someone is having a discussion with them about choice vs. coercion.”

Domestic abuse is much more than just hitting someone. UWT freshman Sierra Hughey argues that, even though there wasn’t much violence in the film, the abuse was a manipulation tactic from Christian. “He isolated her from her friends, monitored her phone calls, and stalked her. This is typical abusive behavior,” says Hughey.

Having Anastasia portrayed as the in-love submissive conveys the notion that women are trained as sex objects and are obligated to worship men. Ana keeps on arguing for a healthy relation­ship, but Grey keeps on pushing her away. It creates the impression that it is ok for men to do this. Christian tells Ana that being submissive is liberating and powerful and that it all stops when­ever she wants.

The film portrays Christian as dominant and powerful. Hughey says, “If the submissive is having second thoughts, the dominate should respect that, he should not be like, ‘you agreed to this, you cannot back out.’”

Some people also argue that the film degrades people who participate in BDSM by giving a skewed representa­tion of it.

UWT freshman Ronnie Nguyen says, “BDSM is like any sexual relation­ship; it should be private and respected. The BDSM community is alive and has members, practice safe sex, safe rela­tionships. There are rules, there are regulations, and that is what the mov­ie is lacking.”

If you believe in free speech, then this series should not be banned from the public. But people should be warned to approach this film with cau­tion and remember that it is only fic­tion.

COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL PICTURES