Fifty Shades – does it glamourise violence?

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Fifty Shades of Grey

There’s a great deal being written and said about 50 Shades of Grey. Sir Salman Rushdie has admitted that it’s one of his least favourite books saying “I’ve never read anything so badly written that got published. It made Twilight look like War and Peace.” While many reviews of the movie are explicit in their negativity “highly unsatisfying” and “plodding, inane and wretchedly acted movie… lacks grey matter as well as heat.”

But despite the bad reviews this movie trailer has already racked up over 52 million views while the books sold over 100 million copies.

What concerns many people who advocate for non-violence is how Fifty Shades misrepresents BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) and casually associates hot sex with violence, but without any of the context.

And context is important. For a better understanding of this issue read Consent Isn’t Enough: The Troubling Sex of Fifty Shades by Emma Green.

This film glamourises sexual violence and leaves the impression that women want to be controlled and that’s concerning. In a country where one in three women experience partner violence at some point in their lives, Fifty Shades has the potential to further influence young men and warp their ideas of a healthy relationship. It could also distort what women understand as normal or acceptable behaviour.

Beth Penny a facebook user has hit the nail on the head with this so called romantic story.

“… I was 18 when I first read 50 shades of grey. Whilst reading it, I felt so uncomfortable and it had nothing to do with the sex or ‘kinky’ stuff that was happening. After re-reading I realised it was because what was really written on those pages was an abusive relationship being sold to me as a love story. Not only me, but millions of people were reading this book and worryingly, falling in love with the man that is Christian Grey wishing they had their very own version of him. But we need to ask the question- would you be happy with a partner who micro managed your life, dictated what you ate, required you to exercise a certain amount of days a week and cut you off from your friends and family? Add some good looks, a six pack and a billionaire status and you have Christian Grey.

If your friend told you that a man she’d never given her address to turns up at her house, someone she’d asked to stop when having sex and he carried on, bought the business they started working for so they can have that much extra power over them, you’d tell them to run. But people around the world think this relationship is one to be desired and I have no idea why.

I’ve been accused of being too young to understand this relationship, being too embarrassed by BDSM and not experiencing a ‘grown up’ relationship. After doubting myself I decided to research BDSM (unlike the author) and found myself in a world that is based on trust and respect. It is a role play. It is NOT how you live everyday life like the author has portrayed. One of the biggest things of sub/dom relationships is aftercare. After the acts, you have a period where you make sure your partner is okay. This doesn’t happen in the books, and it’s misrepresenting BDSM because the author was too lazy to do research.

This valentines weekend, the film is coming out. All I ask is please don’t give this franchise your money. If you’re willing to part with it, donate the money you’d spend on a cinema ticket, to a charity that helps people who have suffered from domestic abuse. Having this film come out on valentines weekend is farcical, and a massive 2 fingers up to every survivor of abuse.

So E.L James, on behalf of all the victims and survivors out there of domestic abuse and all of the people who suffered child abuse and grew up to be great people and didn’t use it as an excuse to abuse others, fuck you…”
Beth Penny

In New Zealand you can see the film/read the book and or, you could donate to these agencies:

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