So the long-awaited 50 Shades of Grey movie comes out this Saturday…Valentine’s Day. I’m sure I’ll go see it, just as every woman on the planet will, and I’m sure there will be a big glut of babies next winter as a result. But I’m going to go ahead and be a fun-ruiner and point out that abuse isn’t sexy, nor is it romantic. So before you go buy that gray silk tie to spice things up in the bedroom or the most disturbing toy on the face of the earth, the 50 Shades of Grey teddy bear (WTF, Vermont Teddy Bear?), you need to read this post about what the book is really about: abuse and domestic violence.
Oh, come on, I’m sure you’re saying–lighten up! It’s just a sexy book, and if it spices up things in my marriage, what’s the harm? The harm is that, when you have a teenage daughter like I do, who is being told by society that THIS is romance and this is sexy, she and millions of other women both young and old take away not just the turn-on from the steamy sex scenes but the message that having a guy stalk and abuse you is not only acceptable but desirable. That it’s possible to talk an abusive guy into being non-abusive if you try hard enough or if he loves you enough. That being humiliated and controlled and demeaned and physically abused is what we all should want for Valentine’s Day.
The entire world seems to be ignoring the reality of this movie, despite continued high-profile cases of rape and domestic violence dominating the headlines. The Today Show was falling all over itself promoting the film last week, and I’m sure there will be much hysteria about the whole thing once it comes out about how hot and sexy it is, how much “romance” it’s kindling between married couples and how sexy Christian Grey is, but make no mistake…it’s a story about abuse, not romance. Don’t just take it from me; this is just one campaign that highlights why the movie isn’t just innocent fun. These talking points are particularly good and rebut arguments that the whole thing is just in good fun and has no impact on children.
So go enjoy Valentine’s Day–or ignore it–but make no mistake about it: despite all the buzz we’ll all be hearing about the “romantic” and “sexy” 50 Shades movie…there’s a difference between consensual sex play and domestic violence, and this is a story of abuse, not of women’s sexual empowerment or romance or love.