Despite controversy and backlash on its harmful content, 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey movie was a financial success, if not a critical one. Despite earning a measly 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and being named Worst Picture at the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards, the movie earned $571 million at the box office. Half a billion dollars later, it now holds box office records like largest Valentine’s Day earnings and fourth-highest R-rated earnings ever. Just recently, on September 13, the trailer for the upcoming sequel Fifty Shades Darker was released. The movie continues its explicit storyline of bondage, domination, submission, and sadomasochism between a wealthy, controlling businessman and a virgin college girl. Just like the release of the first film–and in ironic and gimmicky fashion–the newest installment in the dark franchise is set to be released on Valentine’s Day weekend. The obvious irony is that on a day celebrated for expressing romantic love and affection, this movie is anything but.
Ever since the release of the first film, the book-turned-movie has been the hot topic of conversation all across the nation. Let’s look at what people are saying about the movie on Twitter.
Some people are raving about it.
Or suggesting things like this:
And then, there are people like this:
And that seems to be the fan base of the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
Then there’s other people, like us, who aren’t nearly as excited for the release of the next film, due to the twisted and warped ideals about sex that the books/movies normalize in society.
The mission of Fight the New Drug is to use science, facts, and personal accounts to educate on the harmful effects of pornography and sexual exploitation. With that said, we know that books can most definitely be pornographic. Especially books like Fifty Shades of Grey that contain a high amount of highly explicit and graphic sexual content. We’ve even received messages from people who said that their struggle with porn began with them opening the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey.
42% of male students and 20% of women said they regularly read romance novels, sexually explicit magazines, or regularly visited sexually explicit forums or chat rooms. Literature like Fifty Shades of Grey is referred to as erotica and can be just as addictive and as harmful in warping ideas about sex and intimacy as porn videos/images. As soon as the book became a best-seller, it was nicknamed “Mommy Porn”, considering it had become a socially acceptable way for middle-aged women to read sexually explicit stories out in the open.
If you’re not yet familiar with Fifty Shades of Grey and why it’s harmful, here’s a quick summary of why we are not cool with it. The storyline of the book series, and now its big budget films, is entirely about a cold and sadistic millionaire CEO who seduces of an innocent, virgin college girl into a world of bondage sex. The explicit nature of the content in the book deals with sadomasochism (or S&M for short), also known as extreme acts of violence and abuse for sexual pleasure. Think whips, chains, leashes, collars, etc.
Even worse about Fifty Shades of Grey, is that this is the story. There’s not much of a plot, there’s really no big surprise or big ending, it is just an entire book–and now an entire movie–about a cunning and successful entrepreneur who seeks to dominate and act out his deviant sexual tastes with an unsuspecting virgin girl who catches his eye. He even whips out a contract at one point in the book, stating that their relationship allows him sexual control over her and forbids her from touching him or making eye contact with him.
But even worse than what the story is about, is what it teaches. While Fifty Shades of Grey has gone to extraordinary lengths to market the franchise as “chic and sexy” by coming out with its own line of sex toys, lipsticks, and pop star soundtrack, all Fifty Shades actually promotes is the normalization of sexual violence (mostly toward women) in society. On top of that, the story’s overarching themes are female inequality, abuse, and coercion.
In order to truly highlight the extremely negative and harmful ideals contained in Fifty Shades of Grey, we made a list, with an accompanying infographic, of what is to be learned from this story.
Read and share:
1. If you’re good looking or rich, you can develop a violent sexual appetite and people will be okay with it.
Christian Grey, the main character in the book, has a mansion, flies around in a helicopter, and catches the eye of every woman he meets. But something tells us that if the main character was an overweight fast food worker with a scraggly beard and bad teeth, people wouldn’t find this story arousing at all, but see it for the gross and deviant story that it is. Why are people so accepting of this dark and disturbing story just because the male character is supposed to be attractive and desirable?
2. Sex is completely for selfish pleasure and all love/romance should be removed from the situation.
In the story, Christian makes his women sign contracts that prevent them from ever speaking about what Christian does to them and gives him complete permission to do whatever he wants to them sexually. Sound like a love story you want to read? Not us.
3. Girls: If you hang around long enough and put up with a guy’s “issues,” eventually he might love you and change.
Anastasia, the main female character in the book, is a shy and insecure student. She is even a virgin when she meets Christian. Throughout the book, Ana becomes charmed by the lavish life that he provides and stays with him despite everything he does to her. She becomes subject to his increasingly violent fantasies as he slowly guides her into accepting his disturbing behavior toward her. Fifty Shades of Grey teaches that girls are just helpless, fragile beings who will stick around for a man they find attractive. Would any of you ladies stick around while a guy uses you for his dark fetishes? Didn’t think so.
4. Guys: You can do whatever you want to a girl and she’ll just take it because… she’s a girl.
Christian Grey is a womanizer who uses his money and charm to keep Ana around and wanting to be with him. Despite the fact that he uses all sorts of disturbing methods to inflict pain on her for his own sexual pleasure, nothing and no one stops him. He can do whatever he wants to her and he knows that she will remain attracted to him. Do any of you guys think it’s okay to treat a woman, or any other human being, like that? We don’t.
5. If you put a lot of highly explicit sexual material into a story, it will become a best-seller and even be turned into a big budget Hollywood film.
Finally, we come back to the fact that this story was a best-selling novel that was turned into a film that made a half billion dollars. Pretty depressing to think that we live in a society where a story entirely about sadistic and violent sexuality has become so wildly mainstream.
We think it goes without saying that we will be spending next Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, not reading or watching disturbing sexual fetishes. We are all about real love and real intimacy, and Fifty Shades of Grey, fictional or not, is the opposite of that.
What YOU Can Do
If you’re not cool with the twisted ideals and perceptions that material like Fifty Shades of Grey pushes into our society, SHARE this article. Add your voice to the conversation and spread the word.
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