In a time where we are finally having open and honest conversations in society about consent, harassment, and assault, it’s unsettling that the “Fifty Shades trilogy” is celebrated as an “empowering love story” when its protagonist is literally living a #MeToo experience.

Here at Fight the New Drug, we are big fans of love, and go so far as to call ourselves a pro-love, pro-healthy sex movement precisely because we are an anti-porn organization. Looking at the big picture, love is something that brings out the best in all of us. It pushes us to be better, think of others, and it propels our society forward. It makes the best moments in life even sweeter, and it’s exhilarating to love and be loved back.

Considering everything that “Fifty Shades” is about, it seems at first glance as though the story is about the same things we are—bettering one’s self, true love, enjoying the best of life with loved ones—but it’s not. Not truly, if you dive below the shiny surface.

Fifty Shades of Abuse

For those who aren’t familiar, the story centers around an attractive, controlling, and sadistic millionaire CEO with a tormented past who seduces a sweet, inexperienced college girl into his selfish world of painful bondage sex. The explicit nature of the content in the books deal with a twisted and nonconsensual version of sadomasochism (or S&M for short), and even more than that, it normalizes and romanticizes Christian Grey’s stalking, possessive, and manipulative behavior as being somehow affectionate and expressive of love. The movies aren’t much better, unfortunately.

Even worse about “Fifty Shades,” is that this pretty much is the story. There’s no quality plot, there’s no big surprise ending where he gets real help from a mental health professional for his childhood trauma and Ana leaves him because of his sexual and mental abuse and stalking. It is just an entire series—and now an entire movie franchise—about a handsome, rich businessman who seeks to sexually abuse and act out sexual punishment on unsuspecting women who are coerced into signing a contract that gives him permission to do what he pleases.

Also, if you didn’t know, E. L. James wrote the Fifty Shades trilogy loosely based on bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism & masochism (S&M) practices, or BDSM for short. But not even those within the BDSM community accept Christian’s behavior as being okay or representative of what happens during “scenes,” or encounters between BDSMers. Instead of a sexual interest, they too call it abuse.

Abuse Isn’t A Grey Area

That is why we choose to fight for real love with our #FiftyShadesOfLove campaign, as much as we are fighting against the normalized abuse that’s found in porn as well as the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. Rather than focusing all of our energy on fighting against pornography, we feel it is just as important to fight for love. We want people to feel and experience the rush of being with a real partner that completely understands, loves, and appreciates them. As human beings, we are wired to give and receive love and to be intimate with another person. When we see and understand all that real love can offer, we can also see that porn is cheapest and most hollow counterfeit of it.

We fight because both porn and the “Fifty Shades” trilogy glamorize abuse.

#FiftyShadesOfLove encourages individuals to take a stand against abuse in all forms and fight for healthy relationships that respect consent, promote equality, and are devoid of physical and verbal aggression. Simply put…

Porn and “Fifty Shades” both:

1. Minimize or ignore consent.

2. Use wealth and power to glamorize abuse.

3. Encourage lopsided power dynamics in couple relationships.

4. Promote acceptance of verbal and physical aggression against women.

Research shows: 

1. Porn perpetuates the idea that women secretly enjoy being raped.

2. The vast majority of porn—violent or not—portrays men as powerful and in charge, while women are submissive and obedient.

3. Porn desensitizes both men and women to violence against women.

4. Those with higher exposure to violent porn were six times more likely to have raped someone than those who had low past exposure.

Love is all about:

1. Communicating honestly and respecting the other’s desires.

2. Encouraging mutuality and equality.

3. Putting the other’s interests above your own.

4. Promoting the success and health of your partner.

 Fight For Real Love

In this movement for love, we’re not just fighting against the harmful effects of porn, we are fighting for something much bigger. Fighting for love means fighting for the things in life that are healthy and worthwhile. It means pursuing the authentic and meaningful experiences of love, and rejecting the counterfeits in our society like porn or abuse stories like “Fifty Shades.” Simply put: we think real love is sexy, not normalized abuse. Are you with us?

What YOU Can Do

Add your voice to the conversation and fight for love. SHARE this article to spread the word on the harmful effects of normalizing abuse!

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography and stopping the demand for sexual exploitation. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

Citations

[1] Stack, S., Wasserman, I., & Kern, R. (2004, March). Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography. Social Science Quarterly, 85(1), 75-136.

[2] Maddox, A., Rhoades, G., & Markman, H. (2009, December 29). Viewing sexually-explicit materials alone or together: Associations with relationship quality. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20039112

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