And so the countdown has begun. It’s T minus 4 days until the release of the eagerly awaited release of the first of the 50 Shades films. With the date looming ever closer we are being subjected to :Hilarious Memo”. from some companies, and also pleas from :;Womens Aid”. for us to reject the films and the books.
And that naturally leads to me blogging about it!
From the opposition we have the argument that the books portray an abusive (sexually, physically, mentally, financially and verbally) relationship. And that reading it and watching it endorses the view that this type of relationship is OK. They’re also worried about the impact this could have on viewers, it could be triggering, it could encourage them to stay in abusive relationships (a blockbuster says that what they’re darling partner is doing is fine and normal!), could reaffirm the abusers belief that they’re right, or that maybe young people with less experience could deem this as a normal relationship. It’s understandable why the advocates of Womans Rights movements, and women refuges are claiming these things. Really it is. It’s their job to be concerned. And out of context yes the relationship is abusive. And the first time I read the books I was appalled at what I was reading. (Quite aside from the appalling repetition and grammar!) Out of context whipping your partner is not okay, calling them names is not okay, choosing their clothes is not okay.
So to clarify, as individual items, not in the context of the book, yes it’s abusive. No its not Okay. If you feel you may, or a loved one may, be experiencing an abusive relationship please see the links at the bottom.
But here’s the clincher.
In context? They’re typical of BDSM relationships. The leading lady entered the relationship knowing what parameters she would be accepting, and chose, of her own volition with no undue coercion used, to enter into a relationship of this nature.
Wiki’s take on BDSM. And you must remember, that she used the safe word, and the safe word worked.
Now I have two strong processes of thought on this. So firstly, lets take the stance that watching these films could lead to what Womens Aid and many others have said is possibly going to happen.
Firstly, there is no evidence to support this idea. And there has been ongoing research into the effect of films/videogames/books on people and their actions. Whilst it could be linked, in the general population of neurotypical adolescents and adults whom fall within a typical IQ range, the results of psychological testing show that actually….its inconclusive as to whether exposure to this nature of thing leads people to act in that way. Done. Dusted. End of discussion no?
Because by this merit, playing GTA would increase your likelihood of killing prostitutes, or watching documentaries on war are more likely to make your warhungry. This just isn’t the case. Some people are predetermined to have that mindset. There just isn’t enough evidence to prove (or in fairness disprove) the theory.
So by extension, reading the books or watching the films isn’t more/less likely to make you an abuser or become a victim of abuse.
Furthermore, no one has only the books and the films as their sphere of reference. They have friends, family, colleagues, teachers, books, t.v shows etcetc all of which helps shape their understanding of how relationships should work. So to claim that one film will undo everything else these people know to be accurate, is to make the film more than it is.
Simalirly, I can’t help but think that to think that, is to also imply there is some blame on the victim for being abused. That somehow they’re making a choice to stay in an abusive relationship, despite knowing it’s bad for them, because some stranger who can barely write from America deems abusive relationships to be okay. That’s victim blaming, dangerous and wrong. I can’t marry the two in my mind, “it’s never the victims fault” to “watching this film will make the victim think its okay and normal” if a victim thinks what they’re experiencing is okay and normal, I’d lay my last penny on the fact it’s because they’ve been brainwashed over a long period of time to think so (even as far back as formative years, relationships we witness shape the type of relationships we will go on to have).
To finish that particular thought process, I can’t help but think that people are quite happily ignoring the fact that all the way through Ana is choosing to be in the relationship. Of her own free will. He told her he wasn’t right for her, he gave her written conditions and clauses, in the form of a contract, as to what the relationship will entail. In my experience, that isn’t how abusive relationships work. So that’s very far removed from the reality of abusive relationships.
So like I say, in context it’s not abusive. Out of context it is abusive.
My other thought process?
The book is fiction, it’s fantasy. Simple.
And the chances of ever meeting a real life Mr Grey is slim to none. There just aren’t that many playboy billionaires swanning around falling head over heals with virgins. There just aren’t.
People don’t like the book because of the BDSM content. They like the romance (who doesn’t want to be spoilt and worshipped? Really?!) the fantasy. When they’re thinking of Mr Grey they aren’t thinking of his controlling possessiveness. They’re thinking of the way he cherishes her, loves her, spoils her. They’re thinking of what life would be like to just that rich.
So to say people can’t separate fantasy from reality is to call them dumb. And that’s just not cool. People can, and do, do this every day.
Would I be comfortable with my 14yr old cousin seeing this? Eh, depends how graphic the sex scenes are. I don’t really want to think of her growing up tbh. Makes me feel old. My one and only concern, is of her seeing a *whisper* penis. Not of her seeing the rest of it. Because I have the confidence in her, and most “vulnerable” people being able to establish what is and isn’t okay. As it is she’s too young, so she’d better wait a year 😉
So in conclusion? People are smart enough to not think the film means abuse is okay.
Now those links:
If you think you are, or someone you love, may be being abused in ANY way please seek help using one of the links, talk to some one. There is help there for those who need it.
and for the men