Okay. I told myself I wasn’t going to blog on this. I really, REALLY did. But, alas, there has been too much talk across my social media feeds about this damn movie for me not to exercise my God-given right as a blog owner!
There are essentially two sides to this Fifty Shades of Grey issue.
On one side: People who believe that a woman’s personal fantasies are empowering, and we should not be judgmental on another woman’s fantasies. Plus…it is a story–not real!
The other side: The books (and subsequent movie) are promoting rape-culture, domestic abuse, and the marginalization of women in intimate partnerships. Nowhere else is this feeling more prevalent, and vocal, then through the hashtag #50ShadesIsAbuse (go ahead, twitter stalk that, dirty girl! )
Now, I need to state that I’ve never read the books, nor do I plan to watch the movies, (I’m more of a High Fantasy kinda gal.) but, like everyone else with a laptop and a wifi-connection, I still have an opinion on the subject.
My thoughts: This is a personal fantasy (based on Twilight fan-fic) of a very specific woman; the author, Mizz. James. It seems others are identifying with it. Therefore, for me it is not a question of whether or not something is wrong with the franchise existing or being released. The real question for me is Why?
From everything I can tell from reviews, the books are filled with scenes that clearly depict an abusive relationship, that is lacking consent, with coercive sex, and a minimization of the female protagonist’s personal identity. So, yes. That is in fact abuse-porn. So again, my question is not how could this be released? but why is it so popular?
A slice of mommy-porn aside, Fifty Shades is more interesting for what it is telling me about the cultural mindset of women. (Yes, women. Not men. We know that the gazillion copies of books main consumers are women. And we know that women were the target audience for the film release.) I believe in the rules of supply and demand. Without a demand the franchise would have failed. And, frankly, women are eating it up, despite the heavy tones of sexual and domestic violence. So, what does this say about the female consumer?
In an era of Women can do anything, and they don’t need a man to do it! why is a story of abuse, subservience and domination, so popular? Is the subconscious of the modern woman trying to fill some hole? (haha, get your mind out of the gutter.) Is the modern woman caught in some dysfunction? Hurting? Lacking? Is the modern woman starved in some way that would allow a perverse and malignant example of love to entice her? Is this perverse and malignant love a counterfeit for something else? Something she really is looking for, but can’t get? (Like how those true-health snack-cakes just don’t got shit on the real thing…but hey, close enough when you are nearing the end of a sugar-fast! Anything nearing a real confectionery will satisfy then!)
Is this what it is? Does the modern woman crave true love, affection, and deep intimacy? Does she crave to be chased, desired, and held up as significant? All so badly she is willing to settle for a cheap counterfeit of that intimacy? The women I’ve met through women shelters would say YES! They know exactly what it is like to settle for an imitation of love, unable to recognize the real thing, or unable to see yourself as worthy of the real thing. Food for thought?
Now, should the Fifty Shades franchise exist? Meh. Sure. It is the personal fantasies of one woman, and I’m not one to suppress the success, or desires of another woman. Though, frankly, most gals have the decency not to globally publish their fan-fiction for all to see! (Oh, Sandor Clegane, such a bad puppy! ❤ ) But even still, it is out there and women are devouring it! So the question for me, again, isn’t Should this be consumed? but Why do we feel a need to?