So at this point everyone knows about the film “50 Shades of Grey.” It premiered in theaters this Valentine’s Day and has created quite the stir over the internet. There are many debates from both lovers and haters of the series, and, my dear friends, I feel the need to shed some light on both sides of the argument.
This movie features a young college senior Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who steps in for her roommate to interview businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). The storyline follows the two as Anastasia succumbs to Christian’s charms, and the two end up as lovers. The specific controversy in this film and book focuses on the BDSM aspect of Christian’s life.
For those of you who do not know, BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission and Sadism & Masochism. To put it bluntly, BDSM is a type of lifestyle, many associate it with sex, though that is not the main focus of BDSM.
Now before I delve into it, I want you, dear reader, to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. “50 Shades of Grey” is a work of fiction—badly written fiction, but fiction. My concern over this movie is the way it portrays BDSM. This life style is not for everyone, and it definitely is not for someone who does not understand it. The way this movie has portrayed this lifestyle is completely wrong and is not a true BDSM relationship. I will be blunt. The relationship between Anastasia and Christian is sexual abuse.
Throughout the movie, Anastasia is naive to what is truly going on. She has no understanding of what is happening to her. In response to Christian showing her his “play room” (where people keep their items for BDSM) she says “What like your X-box and stuff?” Christian never explains to her what his lifestyle means, nor does he allow her to ease into it and decide for herself. Instead, she signs a contract! A contract! Sex is not a contract my friends. It is not something you are ever legally bound to participate in.
On another note, in a BDSM relationship the submissive holds all of the power. They are the ones who decide what their dominant can and cannot do. It is a form of trust that cannot be broken. The submissive decides to place their safety in that of the dominant, and the dominant is expected to take care of the submissive. This is especially seen in “after care,” something that occurs after a “scene” (where the BDSM comes into play). “After care” is incredibly important, it is where both partners check in on one another and makes sure that each other are both physically and mentally safe. It is an intimate relationship between the two. Unlike Anastasia and Christian where he just sends her off to her own room where she can be by herself (which later Christian ignores). This is bad. Very bad. The entire point of “after care” is to allow for a check in and to make sure each other still feels safe and comfortable. By doing this he is basically using her for sex then sending her away.
Christian also ignores her attempts to say “no” every time. He ignores her when she tells him she does not want to be with him; he ignores her when she wants him to leave her apartment that he broke into; and he ignores her when she says no to some of the things on his contract. Look, if your partner says “no,” especially with BDSM, you stop immediately. There is no continuing, you stop. If you continue and ignore your partner that is rape. Every time.
On top of that, Christian also constantly gives Anastasia alcohol and then sleeps with her. Okay, let’s look at the law for a second. Oh yeah… Under the law a person cannot give consent to have sex if they are under the influence. This automatically makes it rape. If you are drunk, you cannot give consent to sex. Drunk sex = rape. On top of everything, Christian is also incredibly controlling. He stalks her work place, follows her on her visit to her mother, gets incredibly jealous when she speaks with her coworker and tells her what she can and cannot do. This is just the movie folks!
I’m not saying do not watch it. If you enjoy it, then fine. What I’m trying to say is that this movie does not portray a healthy relationship, nor is it a platform to base your BDSM preferences off of. If you want to get into the BDSM life style, I encourage you to look things up and find information. Do not use this as your basis. This is fiction not fact. A healthy relationship includes full communication on both sides of the partnership and allows room for mistakes and growth. If you want to try this stuff out, talk about it with your partner and find out more information.
“50 Shades of Grey” or 50 Shades of Fiction; knowing the difference is what is important.