What To Do With “Fifty Shades of Grey”

I watched The Grammy Awards on television Sunday night. About mid-way through, I saw my President encourage all of us to create awareness and help women out of violent relationships. His message was followed by a moving statement from domestic violence survivor Brooke Axtell and Katy Perry’s performance of her song “By the Grace of God”, which she admits is autobiographical and which alludes to suicidal thoughts because of abuse. In it, she sings these words:

“By the grace of God (there was no other way)
I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay)
I put one foot in front of the other
And I looked in the mirror and decided to stay
Wasn’t gonna let love take me out that way.”

All this filled my TV screen as I was doing internet research for this blog on the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”. (If you do that, be prepared for the web sites you’ll be offered as you search.)

I had to wonder, am I the only person who sees the sad irony in this very commendable Grammy performance coming days before the Valentine’s Day opening of a much-heralded, pornographic movie about sado-masochism and abuse?

Neither our President nor Katy Perry referred to the very obvious contradictory message displayed in the popular book and upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I only wish they had been so brave. In my opinion, what the producer of The Grammy Awards Show, our President and the performers did was to offer little more than a placating (though effective) gesture to those who believe “Grey” is glamorizing sexual violence.

Fifty-Shades-of-Grey

For anyone unaware (as I was until I did the research), “FSOG” tells the story of a man who seduces a young woman and lures her into violent sexual acts. His actions are justified because he was abused as a teen, and the story is all wrapped up with a redemptive outcome.

Opening on Valentine’s Day, it’s expected to be a sell-out.

A month ago, a young relative of mine proudly boasted in social media that she had her tickets for “Fifty Shades of Grey” reserved in advance. My heart broke for this intelligent young woman who has bought the hype.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. On Valentine’s Day, too many young couples will spend date night watching pornography. And they’ll come away believing this is love.

For three years, I worked with local youth to produce a drama about teen dating violence. We took the drama to local high schools, churches and youth groups and presented it in a public performance. Along the way, I heard stories from teens about ways they had been abused in dating relationships — mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually.

And now we, the supposedly responsible adults, are telling them that such abuse is excusable, even desirable, depending on the circumstances.

Sexual abuse and violence in the name of love are never excusable or desirable. #50ShadesIsAbuse Click To Tweet

There are several ways we can work to counter the damage that will be done by “FSOG”.

  • Boycott the movie. Better yet, spend your money on a campaign to help women escape abusive relationships. Run by www.stoppornculture.org, the campaign’s Facebook page suggests making donations to domestic-violence shelters instead of going to see the movie, because “Hollywood doesn’t need your money; abused women do.” If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtags #50DollarsNot50Shades and #50ShadesIsAbuse to protest the movie.
  • Educate yourself. We need to be able to discuss the topic intelligently and learn how to combat the movie’s negative impact. Many others have crafted well-written instructions for overcoming the effects of this movie’s publicity campaign on those who won’t even see the movie — our children. Two excellent places to go for information are an article at www.movieguide.org by Michelle S. Lazurek and a series of articles on how to talk to our children about violent sex by Miriam Grossman at www.miriamgrossmanmd.com. For another woman’s perspective, visit www.bronlea.com. Another very informative piece is found at www.foxnews.com.
  • Talk openly with your children and grandchildren about sex. If they walk through a shopping mall, watch television or pick up a magazine, they’re going to see explicit sexual images. The ongoing conversation about this book and movie has added to the need to address the subject of sexual sin with our children and grandchildren. You have no choice but to meet it head on. (I plan to share more about this in a future blog about pornography.)
  • Support an alternative to “FSOG”. If you want to go to a movie next weekend, consider “Old Fashioned”, a romance about Clay, a former frat dude who meets a free-spirited young woman named Amber. He’s interested in her, but turned off by the modern mores of dating. He wants to date in an old-fashioned (read chaste) way.” (Source: www.cinemablend.com). The movie is purposely timed to compete with “FSOG” and is openly promoted as a Christian movie that “offers a romance where sex will wait until marriage and God is a crucial part of its hero’s journey. It’s an approach that (producer/director/star) Rik Swartzwelder realizes will limit the audience of his movie. But–he argues in Old Fashioned‘s preamble–it’s a movie he feels needed to be made.”

The worst thing we can do as moral individuals in a culture that glamorizes abuse is to deny the attitude exists. It obviously does. Turning our backs will not prevent this movie’s message from impacting our world.

I’m sharing these thoughts today at www.blessedbutstressed.com.

Copy and share the graphic below on social media and help spread awareness.

Abuse2

 

16 Comments

  1. Ingrid—-THANK YOU for speaking out about the movie. I hope to as well. It nauseates me—and amazes me how blind we choose to be. So many choose their own pleasure over the common good–refusing even to recognize the common good. Thank you for writing this!!

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thank you, Leslie. I’ve been cringing for weeks over the release of this movie and God finally gave me the words. We must talk about it and fight for dignity for ourselves and future generations. I look forward to reading your essay!

  2. Bravo! If we don’t buy it, maybe they’ll stop selling it! The other movie you mention sounds like my kind of movie :). I didn’t read the books and I don’t plan on watching the movie. It saddens me that my students are talking about seeing the movie. Sigh.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      I know, Anita. How do we help young people see the truth without shutting them down when we mention purity in a relationship? Most want it — once they’ve chosen to give themselves away. Especially the girls.

  3. Tara

    It is sad how much hype the book and movie are getting. I really have no desire to read the book or see the movie. I want to stand up for those who have been hurt etc by sexual violence. So not right. Thanks for your thoughts friend!

  4. Angie

    What a wonderful way to display this Ingrid. I have no desire to read the books or watch the movie. But it saddens my heart that all these young teens think that this is the “greatest” series right now. How do they get their hands on these books? We need to stand together against sexual violence. Thank you for your insightful blog.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks, Angie. Society agrees that teen dating violence is wrong, then turns around and promotes a book and film that glorify violent sex. We’re sending our young people a mixed message — especially when Christians are reading the book and will probably see the movie.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks, Bronwyn. Your reasons for not seeing the movie are relevant for all of us — married or not. I’m hoping others will stop and think before they pollute their minds and promote sexual exploitation in the name of love.

  5. barb

    Not trying to start an argument but if sadism or best us a woman’s preference then let her be. There are lots of men that participate as a submissive and the woman as the dominant but yet no one is rallying for the MEN’S rights. Just seems to be one sided and ridiculous. It’s not you so you shouldn’t judge something that you really don’t know about

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thank you for your comment, Barb. The big issue in this fictional relationship appears to be control, and the fact our culture seems to be finding it acceptable to offer public viewing of behavior that should be private, consensual or not. I’m not judging people who make this choice, though it is disturbing. You’re free to choose, but I hope you’ll choose your own dignity and decide not to support books or a movie that portray victimization of either sex as love.

  6. emily dunafin

    Thanks for taking a stand Ingrid. I’m surprised at the Christians who feel this series of books and the movie, is no big deal. It is a big deal because we are allowing it to be absorbed into society as normal and acceptable. When will we ever learn. What you put in ….comes out. A children’s lesson we all learned long ago.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks for reading, Emily. I wanted to just let it pass, but I can’t believe how many people I know see nothing wrong with it. Just found out recently that it takes only 4 seconds for an image to be burned into your brain.

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