Anti-Porn Group Rallies Against “50 Shades of Grey”

I never read 50 Shades of Grey, nor do I really intend to, but I sure am intrigued by the movie. The trailer looks slick, if more than a little generic, Dakota Johnson is a pretty good actress, I liked Sam Taylor-Johnson’s NOWHERE BOY so I’m interested in seeing what she does. I don’t much care about Jamie Dornan but what can I say, I’m not into dudes. I’m sure there are people who disagree with me, and fine, whatever floats your boat.

The fun doesn’t stop there though. Morality In Media (MIM), an anti-porn group, released a statement urging young women not to go see this movie.

The newly released trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey deceives the public with a visually appealing melodramatic love story that romanticizes and normalizes sexual violence.

The main character is a childlike, mousey, young woman, lacking confidence and capability, who becomes the target of a powerful, intimidating, older man who puts her under contract to serve as a sexual “submissive.”

The implications of such a relationship—abuse of power, female inequality, coercion, and sexual violence—glamorizes and legitimatizes violence against women.

The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.

A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture. Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power.

In a voiceover in the trailer, Christian Grey warns Ana, “I am incapable of leaving you alone.” “Then don’t,” she purrs in reply. Again, he warns her, “You should steer clear of me.” Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into? With a stalker and a batterer? Do we really want our sons to become Christian Greys, practicing a violent masculinity that degrades men as well?¹

Fun, isn’t it?

There’s really only one statement I kind of agree with there. “Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into?” I’m not exactly psyched about imagining my friends entering a relationship like this, but I’m also not particularly enthusiastic about imagining my parents having missionary-style sex. I mean, it’s their life.

But that’s not even the point. The key word here is willingly. I mean MIM used the word themselves. This isn’t from the book, this is MIM literally describing Christian and Ana’s relationship as consensual. As in between two consenting adults who can make their own decisions without needing Mommy watching over them. What part of this do you not understand? People. Can. Do. What. They. Want.

They’ve kind of always done that. Crimes are illegal, people still do them. Other acts aren’t illegal, but frowned upon, people still do them. Further acts are totally acceptable, and people still do them. You’re kind of missing the entire point of being a grown-up if you think people need to be regulated.

Oh my bad, I forgot, Christianity is automatically the only source of morality and if you don’t do what the Bible says then you have to be moderated.

Since when is that the case? Even in the Bible they didn’t force others to do what they said. I mean, sure, they coerced them under threat of death, but that was still the risk the individuals took.

When that didn’t work, they just massacred entire civilizations. Is MIM suggesting we should slaughter anyone who watches this movie? I didn’t think so, because that would be crazy.

 

That’s not the only issue with MIM’s statement. Somehow we seem to have arrived at this ridiculous dichotomy where some people think rape can be defined as any kind of sex that doesn’t look like their kind of sex, and the other group who seems to think that everyone should be having a different kind of sex because it’s acceptable. Everyone else in between seems to have fallen quiet on the issue (probably too busy actually having sex to give a fuck – see what I did there?)

Rape is bad. Very bad. But BDSM is not necessarily rape, just as married sex is not necessarily consensual. It’s on an individual case by case basis. This is why we have to understand that one-time consent does not equal infinite consent, and why we raise awareness, and why we try to encourage rape victims to come forward and provide a safe space for them, and so on. Rape is a very serious, very seriously mishandled topic, but cornering it into a one-or-the-other definition that allows certain fundamentalist small-imaginative organizations to condemn a movie for being… what, a form of entertainment?

Like, watching two consenting adults get it on in rather interesting ways is capital-B BAD, but watching two non-consenting mostly naked dudes cut each other’s heads off in equally “interesting” ways is somehow totally fine?

 

If you want to go see 50 SHADES OF GREY, that’s your prerogative. I’m not going to stop you. If you want to start a whip collection, buy a leather suit with holes in weird places, get some handcuffs, chains, spikes, all that stuff, what do I care? I don’t. If you want to be blindfolded and tied up, again, you’re the one doing it, not me, so I have no business to tell you if you like it. I can tell you if I like it, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Because here’s the next problem: rape fantasies are not rape wishes. According to Psychology Today, about 4 in 10 women admit to having rape fantasies… at least once a month. Does that mean that 40 percent of women want to be raped on a monthly basis? N-O! This is not what fantasies are for! Fantasies are our imagination, ways to test out our psyche, ways to stretch what we feel comfortable with. Sometimes I fantasize about flying, that doesn’t mean I want to jump off a building.

And what’s up with MIM thinking this movie attempts to “normalize” BDSM? Where have they been living? BDSM has been around for a loooong time, my friends. It’s just not something people talk about because of other people like you who condemn anyone who mentions it. Just because you think being a good Christian means only having missionary sex doesn’t mean… well actually it doesn’t mean anything.

 

What about feminism? Is 50 SHADES OF GREY anti-feminist?

What????

Feminism is about equality. It’s about people being able to do whatever they want regardless of gender, sexual orientation, social position, etc. It’s not about making women badass motherfuckers and making men finally feel the scorn they’ve deserved for so long and… I hope you see my point. EQUALITY means EQUALITY. It doesn’t mean some reversal of roles, it means an even playing ground. Asking this question about a movie just seems so petty.

Yes, some movies perpetuate misogyny and condone patriarchal dominance, but so do some books, music, video games… cultures, philosophies, religions… ideologies, scientific studies, family dinner conversations…

It’s not any one particular thing’s fault or credit for being feminism or anti-feminism.

If you think the movie is anti-feminist, then use it as a springboard for your platform. Why not? If you think the movie is empowering to women, run with that. Get the conversation going. At least the trailer ignited us, right?

 

But my point is, MIM’s statement seems to just brush past the entire possibility of a dialogue and try to enforce their own belief system down everyone else’s throat. Movies depict things that happen in real life. BDSM happens to be one of them. Accept it.

 

Anyways, you can watch the trailer below:

 

 

 

 

 

¹ http://www.mediaite.com/online/anti-porn-group-warns-against-women-lining-up-to-see-fifty-shades-of-grey/

 

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