There Really Are 50 Shades of Grey

Wow, the rhetoric is strong. So many Facebook posts (almost entirely from women) about how abhorrent they find this excitement for a movie release of the book, 50 Shades of Grey. 

Why the strong emotions? What are we so afraid of? Really, it’s just a story, and if you read the books, you either hated the lack of storyline or you were aroused by the eroticism, or you were uninterested, period.

I read the books, all three of them, and as a writer I found the writing superficial and boring, the storyline non-existent, but some of the sex was hot. And I’m not into bondage.

I didn’t take the books to represent the objectification of women. I don’t think the movie represents or promotes violence against women or domestic abuse – although to be fair, I haven’t seen it. I don’t know if I will. There are some Oscar-nominated films I have yet to see, and they’ll probably draw my attention more.

But I won’t out-and-out oppose this one. It’s simply a story. And perhaps all the excitement surrounding it is that yes, as we get older, and stay married to people for a long time, we want to shake it up a bit, and a movie or a book is a safe way to do it.

I’m just so amazed at the holier-than-thou objections to this popular culture that are currently circulating. What’s motivating the energy? Why be SO opposed?

If you want to break it down, the story isn’t about a girl who is held captive by a guy; she falls into a strange kind of love and agrees to have a non-traditional physical relationship. If we barged into an average American home we might find very odd sex going on – or none at all. What happens behind closed doors, if it’s mutually agreed-upon, is really none of our business.

The thing to consider is that these books sold really well. People ate them  up. They are satisfying a hunger for something untouchable or out-of-bounds or off-limits. That means there’s a need being filled.

And so it’s a very good business decision to make a movie and extend the revenue stream when the books were such a hot success.

That’s all this is. Capitalism at its finest.

A friend posted on Facebook, a man this time, said the following yesterday:

“I have no interest in this book or movie. I don’t care to discuss, defend or condemn it, except to say: It’s just a book and movie, People! Be cautious when you start talking about what it means, represents, reflects, whether it is demeaning or liberating. ‘Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.’ ~Potter Stewart”

When we spend this much time debating and putting down a single movie, it reflects more on us than on what the movie could ever possibly contain. This is a story like any other, and I would like to see people object as strongly to the graphic violence and misogyny of other movies that are so celebrated.

My children’s school took the middle-schoolers to see Selma last week. I knew it wasn’t appropriate for my daughter and I was right – she ended up crying, scared by the violence and graphic representation.

There are many movies I choose not to see because of the violence. I can’t take any Law & Order episode that has horrible things happening to children. I am disturbed and upset by trickery and scams, meanness and cliques.

A story has to fill a need in us to move us. I choose the love stories and the funny comedies and the poignant dramas, where I can feel the emotions of the characters and revel in the resolution.

Feminists and women’s organizations oppose 50 Shades because they object to women getting turned on by being subservient or being over-powered by men, but the reality is that some women are. Plain and simple.

Some strong women are because in their daily lives, they have to run the show, so it’s actually really nice when they can let go of control and let someone else take over. Dare I say, it can even be a turn-on.

And besides, is this something new, to have a movie portray a woman as giving all control over to a man?

In many ways, good and bad, 50 Shades of Grey moves people in a way that they never thought possible. Live and let live – it’s only a movie.

Check out my earlier blogs on the 50 Shades books:

50 Shades of Normal

50 Shades of Judgment

 Just Not a Kindle Kinda Girl

Do We Really Own Anything

50 Shades of Grey Meets 19 Kids & Counting

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