Truly, I am not understanding the hype generated by this movie (or the books for that matter).
I’m not speaking without knowledge of it at all. I’ve read the books – all three of them.
Borrowed from a friend on the proviso that I not tell anyone else who had loaned them to me (was she ashamed that she was reading them?), I worked my way quickly through all three of them. It wasn’t hard to get through them at a fast pace when I began skipping the pages and pages of sex contained between the covers. I had to wonder at the stamina of Christian Grey. But then I guess when you get off on dominating someone else, it might just give you more energy than that battery operated rabbit on television that keeps going, and going, and going…..
On the whole, I found the books to be poorly written. Apparently they began life as fan fiction and a publisher saw the potential money to be made from publishing them. Although many fan fic writers take the time to hone their skills, apparently there are those who do not.
So why did I keep reading them?
Well duh! To find out what happens in the end of course. It’s part of the human need to know these things I believe.
I wanted to know just how much a young and naive college student can go through in her life and quest to find true love with a man who really is in it only for himself. Of course, books being books ‘they all lived happily ever after’ and this is where the reality of the relationship became a fairy tale. For it is a rare abusive relationship indeed that sees the abuser reform and become the model partner in the end.
I wish it was true. Especially for the hundreds of thousands of women (and men) who are trapped within emotionally abusive marriages and relationships right now. The women, who think that if they just change something about themselves, then everything will be alright.
The women who have their husbands call them when they are visiting friends demanding to know when they are coming home and why aren’t they doing the housework like a proper wife should? And why didn’t they ask him first whether they could leave the house?
Of course, that doesn’t sound at all like Ana (the central character in 50 Shades of Grey at all). I believe that Christian monitored her movements through the laptop he bought her and the tracking device in her phone. And heaven forbid that she should leave the state to visit her mother!
I’m just trying to remember whether Christian told her that she had to choose between him and her family because that is something that many emotionally abusive partners do.
Reading those books was like taking a trip down memory lane and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant trip.
So as I read online the hype surrounding the release of this movie I am astounded at those who are defending this as ‘just a story’ and not abuse at all because it happens between two consenting adults. The sex I can let go. What two people choose to do in the bedroom that they both enjoy is their own affair.
What I do find difficult to deal with is the way in which Christian’s domination spills over into their every day life. He controls what she wears and how she wears her hair. He controls what car she drives. Who her friends are. He tells her what she can and can’t eat (or drink). He lets himself into her home uninvited. He stalks her. He wants to ‘own’ her. And being naive, she believes that she can’t live without him and that this behaviour (even when it makes her uncomfortable) must be as a result of something that she has done.
She bites her lip. It’s something that she has always done. Yet he makes it a punishable offence.
Does that sound like a healthy, loving relationship to you?
I have read that in Christian Grey’s defense, he suffered abuse as a child and this led to his desire to explore the BDSM lifestyle. It’s the tired cliche that the abused become abusers. This isn’t always true and it certainly doesn’t make it right.
(Please note, that I am in no way saying that BDSM is abuse just that the central character uses this as his excuse).
What part of ‘it’s only a movie’ are young and impressionable movie-goers going to understand? Those that model their lives on people such as Kim Kardashian or Kanye West? Those that believe that what they see in movies, or read on the internet is all true?
This movie (and the books), rather than portraying the abuse as something that is not right have glossed over it and coated it with a ‘sex sells’ idealism.
To be honest, the sex in the books became boring after a while and I found myself saying “Not again! Really? In an elevator? Don’t you ever stop?” amongst other things. When you get down to it though, it is the whole concept of sandwiching the abuse between the sex that has lessened its impact and made it appear as if it is all normal.
I’ve read (and heard on the radio) that a true BDSM relationship is entered into willingly by both parties and both are completely aware of what is required (and expected) of each other within the relationship. In 50 Shades, Ana has no idea and falters in signing the contract that she is being pressured to sign. She is inexperienced and naive. She lacks confidence in herself and so is ripe for exploitation and abuse. Many in the BDSM community are angry at the portrayal of this within the books and in the movie as it isn’t a true reflection of their chosen lifestyle.
When a woman (or man) enters into this type of relationship, they do so willing to comply with all that it entails. This is where 50 Shades crosses the line into abuse and masks it with the ‘love story’ and sex in an attempt to make it alright.
Emotional abuse may not leave physical scars but it still leaves scars upon the lives of those it affects.
My hope is that those who read the books and watch the movie, see it for what it is and understand that this is not about a healthy relationship.
I’m not telling you to boycott it. Far be it from me to do that. I am not picketing it or trying to get it stopped. I believe that people should be able to make up their own minds and make informed decisions on what they see.
What I am hoping is that people realise that any form of abuse is ‘not on’ and just because Hollywood dresses it up and puts it in a movie, it still doesn’t make it right.