See it, don’t see it. Who cares?
Yes, I read the books. No, they were not literary masterpieces. Yes, they were titilating. No, my moral fiber was not brought into question.
This week I read a funny little post from a woman listing 50 things she would rather do than go see 50 Shades of Grey. They were cute, funny and witty. However, she started the post off with how she returned the book after the first few chapters because it was so terribly written. The fact that she didn’t even read it all the way through did not sit well with me. Before you completely criticize something, know what you’re criticizing; first hand. I read another anti-50 post and the opening argument was that film is art and that this movie was a far cry from art. Wait, what? Is the Spongebob Movie art? Eyes Wide Shut was about sex and had a whole bunch of naked people in it but it was weird and artsy and directed by Stanley Kuberick so is that one okay? Let’s be real here… The 50 Shades books are not going to win a Pulitzer. It started out as Twilight fan fiction by some mom in the UK who wanted to read the hot and steamy version of Edward and Bella. Who didn’t want to read the adult version? Heck, not long after the books came out I was sitting around with a group of Mormon SAHMs who were fantasizing about what the honeymoon chapter would be like if it were in the romance section instead of YA. What it comes down to is they were not that well written but people still liked them. I’m not too snooty or high brow to admit that I read them. That brings us to the movie.
Recently I have seen a few memes on FB encouraging people to boycott the movie and instead donate the cost of their ticket to a battered women’s shelter or to a charity fighting human sex trafficking. I’m annoyed by this because it suggests that anybody who wants to go see the movie doesn’t care about domestic abuse or sex trafficking. Christian organizations are using guilt and shame (surprise, surprise) as a tool to make people feel bad about something sexual. My guess is that the people behind the boycotts have not read the books in their entirety and don’t know the story arch. Every few years the talking heads fire up the boycott band wagon for this or that movie, TV show, company, etc. The end result is it gives said boycotted item even more press and attention than they would normally have received, peaking people’s interest and causing even more people to see it out of curiosity. They haven’t figured out that in the entertainment business their motto is “there is no such thing as bad press”. And how they pick and choose their movies to boycott baffles me. Where is the outrage at gratuitous violent movies or violent video games that portray women as expendable hookers?
I’m sick and tired of some churches telling people how they should or should not feel about sex. They are shaming anyone who enjoys sex in any way other than their prescribed positions and situations. A huge group of Gen-Xers are now dealing with the repercussions of the “True Love Waits” movement. They were told as teenagers that the most precious gift they could offer their husband was their virginity and if they gave it away before marriage then they were damaged goods. Girls were told that a righteous man would not want to be with them if they slept around. They were told that their boyfriends didn’t really respect them if they gave in to sex. They were told that sexual behavior and activities were wrong and bad and that they should be ashamed and seek forgiveness if they had ever gone past first base.
Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I absolutely hate that phrase. First and most obvious, it compares women to cows. But that’s just an expression. Oh really? This harkens back to a time when women really were treated and valued like cattle. Bartered over like livestock and expected to know their place in the home and never question their husbands authority. Unfortunately, there are women today who believe that their husbands have ultimate authority over them and final decisions should be left up to their man. Sisters, that is not an equal partnership, that is a dictatorship. The other thing I really hate about this statement is what it implies about relationships- That the only thing men care about in a relationship is sex; That the only reason they pursue a woman is to get in bed with her; And that the only reason to make a commitment to a woman is to have sex with her. The other thing this statement makes about relationships is that the only thing a woman can really bring to a relationship is her body; That her most valuable asset is her vagina and that just as soon as a man conquers it then she is used up and not worth the effort to continue in the relationship. I don’t know about you but there is a heck of a lot more to a marriage than sex and anyone who believes that all a woman can really bring to the table is sex should just invest in a really fancy blow up doll. It will be a heck of a lot cheaper than a divorce. An argument could be made that Christian Grey only sees Ana as a sexual object…unless you read that books to find out that he comes to realize he can’t control her and that he wants more from a relationship than what he has had in the past.
Flash forward 20 years and you have a whole generation of women who have a hard time enjoying sex with their husbands. They were told for so long that sex was bad and then expected to flip a switch on the wedding night and have the time of their life. A whole group of women who want to explore their sexuality with their husband but are too ashamed to venture outside the traditional. The idea of bringing fun into the bedroom is for wild girls, not good Christian mothers. They have been told that too much fun and feeling too good is dirty.
Do not misunderstand me. I do not think that men and women should think one night stands are a good idea or friends with benefits won’t end in heartache. Real life is not an HBO series. I do not think teenagers should just run off and have sex with the first boy who looks their way. Teenagers are not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle such a relationship. Heck, I think 16 is too young to drive a car for goodness sakes. However, shaming boys and girls can be just as harmful. It may push them into relationships they are not ready for and it may harm their relationships in the future. Not giving them the right information to make these mature decisions can lead to disastrous consequences.
If people want to see it, fine. If people don’t want to see it, that is absolutely fine too. I get that this is not for everyone. My mom can hardly watch Downton Abbey this season because of Mary’s indiscretions, I hardly expect her to rush to the theater. Not everyone is expected to see or enjoy every single movie. I had no interest in seeing Gigli but I don’t begrudge someone who did. So, for whoever wants to see 50 Shades of Grey, I don’t think you’re a perv, I don’t think seeing makes you okay with domestic abuse and I don’t think you expect it to make AFI’s top 100 movies of all time. See it or don’t see it, just make up your own mind why you will or won’t.