by lizzfowler on February 9, 2015 - 8:05pm
Activists Say Skip 'Fifty Shades' and Give Ticket Money to a Women's Shelter written by Liz Dwyer on February 4th for takepart.com looks at the other end of the Fifty Shades of Grey craze and how problematic it really is.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a trilogy of erotic novels written by EL James that chronicles the "BDSM" (I put this in quotation marks because not only do the BDSM aspects of their relationship come to an end after the first half of the first novel, but most members of the BDSM community agree that their relationship is a poor representation of what a BDSM relationship really is) relationship of billionaire CEO Christian Grey and the virginal college graduate Anastasia Steele. The first movie of the series is set to be released on February 13th, and it is highly anticipated to say the least.
A group of Canadian and American activists who work to prevent domestic abuse have started a campaign called #50DollarsNot50Shades. The campaign encourages potential filmgoers to donate the money that they would spend on the cost of the movie to women's shelters. It is inspired by an older (circa 3 years ago) movement called 50 Shades is Abuse. But why would they be against one of the most anticipated films of the year?
Erotic novels are a wonderful way for adults, a majority being women*, to explore their sexuality in a different way and I am 100% behind that. Go erotica! BDSM, which stands for Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM), is a popular kink that many consenting adults enjoy participating in. As long as all parties are consenting to the acts being performed, go BDSM! The problem with Fifty Shades of Grey is that it claims to be a representation of a BDSM relationship, but it could not be any further off.
Christian Grey who is a Dominant, shows hundreds of examples throughout the trilogy of being a stalker, manipulative and controlling. There is a point towards the end of the first book that he beats Anastasia Steele, his Submissive, so badly that she physically cannot take the pain. Throughout the first book, there are very few examples of aftercare taking place after their scenes and encounters. Aftercare is when the parties that have taken place in the act show physical affection to one another and/or discuss the scene. The fact that this is so rare after Anastasia and Christian's scenes is disturbing.
Many say that those behind the #50DollarsNot50Shades movements are against the sale of any erotica, or that they are kink-shaming the BDSM community. This is not true. The campaign is against the romanticizing of an abusive relationship. The sad reality is that many women* like Anastasia end up in women's shelters. It is not romantic to have a man track a woman's* cell phone and interfere with her job after explicitly stating that it goes against her wishes.
I personally read these books. In fact, I read all three. I started reading them because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I figured, "I'm extremely sex positive, maybe I can learn more about the BDSM community!” I was WRONG to say the least. I have learned more about the BDSM community, but none of it was from Fifty Shades of Grey. What I learned from these books is that society has no problem praising an abusive heterosexual relationship, but it is still hesitant to portray a healthy homosexual relationship in the media.
The point of this news summary is not to criticize representation in the media (entirely) but it is an issue that many have brought up concerning these novels and now the movie. The point of this news summary was to encourage you not to give your money to a film that supports and romanticizes violence against women*.
Here is the #50DollarsNot50Shades campaign if you are interested in learning more: https://www.facebook.com/50dollarsnotfiftyshades
*I say ‘women’ instead of ‘cisgender women’ out of convenience, but trans and other women are also included in this statement.