50 Shades: All Everything But the Kitchen Sink is Talking About
The popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey has, at long last, been adapted into a film, the very thought of which is sparking controversy all over the globe for its being so mainstream, so acceptable, as to dare to exist. It seems that, regardless of their stance on the movie’s Valentine’s Day debut, people are turning 50 shades of red over this movie; I, myself, would fall somewhere between a blushing, pinkish hue and a fully scarlet rage.
Obviously, it’s ridiculous. Obviously, it’s not the thing you want to admit to using to keep a spark in your 20-something year-old marriage. And obviously, it’s a little obscure to show a movie with such pornographic content in a theatre where, next door, kids are watching the newest Madagascar movie.
And yet, isn’t most everyone that is getting upset about this movie a woman, namely a feminist, to whom the movie was supposed to provide empowerment and pleasure? Isn’t this what women have wanted for so long?
And why are some women angry about this movie, while others make up the population of excited movie-goers standing in line with their girlfriends and significant others, happily fuelling its success?
Yikes. I mean, I’m into equality. But I am not someone who typically identifies as a feminist because of the stigma associated with it. However, I believe that this is one of those cases where feminism is pretty helpful.
Feminism stopped being about men vs. women back even before the B52s took some pretty serious narcotics and were inspired to write “Rock Lobster.” For one thing, feminism doesn’t just help women; it helps men who are shamed for wearing pink, ordering a martini, or being a stay-at-home dad. It also helps to unite women in cases like this one, where people like the creators of the 50 Shades movie try to exploit and normalize our “rape fantasies” for a profit.
The rough sex described in this movie suits the sexual imaginations of many women. These fantasies have been repressed and made to seem so shameful in the past that, from the surface, the movie appears to liberate women to express their sexual desires and, by extension, get more joy out of sex. But such an explanation glazes over why so many women should have this fantasy in the first place, and it also does nothing to solve the unequal, unhealthy perceptions of relationships that arise from its inclusion into the societal norm.
Could it be that, historically, women have been shamed for wanting sex to such a degree that the idea of being forced into a sexual encounter allows them to imagine sex without feelings of guilt or “whorishness”? This way, we can enjoy sex and not label ourselves as a “loose woman” or a “skank.”
I wouldn’t say that’s healthy.
So you can see then that feminists, men and women alike, are frustrated by this movie, not because it glorifies sex, but because it glorifies rape culture? It is frustrating watching others buy unknowingly into a story with such an unjust undertone.
In brief, I’m not here to spoil your fun. I don’t want to control everyone. I just want you to know the irony of your decision to go to the theatre on Valentine’s Day, and how you are only furthering unhealthy perceptions of sex in girls’ minds, and worsening our collective case of Stockholm syndrome.