Typically, seeing the previews to the year’s upcoming films gets a person excited. Hollywood loves to attract large audiences through its comedies, action and horror flicks. But there’s another subject matter that the industry loves to sell and is not afraid to exploit: sex.
“50 Shades of Grey,” the first book in the popular series, came out in a film format last Friday and is the perfect example of the corruption of a sexual relationship. The book has sparked several controversies, most of which involve the book’s misrepresentation of healthy relationships, which are the reasons why I refuse to see this movie.
First, let’s discuss its portrayals of BDSM, or the provocative sexual practices surrounding roleplaying, dominant/submissive partners, binding, etc. It shows a 27-year-old man, Christian Grey, purchasing binding products and sex toys. He spends his time trying to convince Ana Steele — a 21-year-old girl who is attracted and frightened by him — to engage in an only sexual relationship.
Christian constantly tries to get Ana to sign a contract to this dominance and submissive lifestyle, and she, for the most part, refuses, despite giving in to his desires. Christian has listed in this contract absurd things like forbidding her to look at him or touch him and refuses to have a romantic counterpart.
Let’s just get this out in the open: this book depicts, and basically exalts, an abusive relationship (saved only by the fact that she leaves him in the end—well, at the end of the first book). It shows a man exerting dominance over a sexually-naïve girl (six years his junior and a virgin before her encounters with him) and attempts to emphasize that it is okay for a woman to give in to the demands of a man who purely wants sexual interactions.
Don’t get me wrong, every person has the right to express themselves with their partners sexually in whatever ways they choose, and if two people consent to this lifestyle, that is their decision. But the story even shows that Ana is unnerved by him. Allowing this glorification of the victimization in a relationship coupled with a lack of an emotional connection could be detrimental to the general public, especially young and sexually-naïve people, and could lead to a further acceptance of abusing partners and abusive relationships.
Or let’s talk about how a Brazilian city mostly does not permit this book in its bookstore circulation. The fact that almost all of the bookstores in Macae, Brazil, pulled the book should say something about this. In some instances, it is allowed to be sold in the city’s bookstores, but only if its cover is hidden. If a CITY has deemed a book too inappropriate for its members, something seems seriously wrong.
Given all of this is just from the book, I refuse to see this movie. I don’t want to subject myself to a girl conceding to an abusive relationship. I want to see couples in healthy relationships, having their disconnections through every day struggles, not struggling against the pressure from bondage.