50 Shades of Grey gone wrong


Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham | Opinion Co-Editor

It is all we have heard and seen for weeks. Many unfortunate boyfriends were dragged to the movie theater on Valentine’s Day to see it. The viral obsession with 50 Shades of Grey hasn’t gone unnoticed. If you are unfamiliar with the hype, this film comes from an erotica book series about a BDSM relationship (BDSM is shorthand for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism).

Before watching the movie, I had a different idea of how I would discuss 50 Shades of Grey. Earlier last week I was watching the news with my friend when a segment came on criticizing the film 50 Shades of Grey for promoting domestic violence. I was astounded at how much our society was over-reacting to the film. I’ll admit that I have read the first two books of the series, and domestic violence never crossed my mind (granted, I did read them two whole years ago).

Honestly, I did not understand all the hype about the movie and the books. There are at least hundreds of “erotic” novels published and available to read, many involving BDSM. It is a large part of our culture. Just listen to the lyrics of top hits:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me” – “S&M” by Rihanna.

With violent representation of relationships all around us, I am surprised that 50 Shades of Grey was even noticed.

But then I watched the movie.

That is when I understood the negative regard to the film. The way the movie perceived Christian and Anastasia’s relationship was vastly different than what I perceived when I read the book.

It seemed like Anastasia was portrayed as a girl that gave into Christian’s every wish just to be with him, even though it was uncomfortable for her. She did not want a BDSM relationship, but she wanted him. As a girl, I can say that females do give in to be liked. Maybe we wear clothes that hug our curves, or we sit through watching a guy playing video games, just for the sake of spending time together.

However, a girl should never let a man smack her around because he claims he needs to. It doesn’t matter if he is “50 shades of f****d up”, there’s no excuse to take it out on somebody else. This goes the other way as well, guys. Don’t give into something you don’t want to for the sake of the person you are with.

By the media portraying a lack of self-respect, it is hard for us to know how to stand up for ourselves. When I was sexually harassed in high school, it was difficult to confront the issue and not give in. Yet, the day I stood up for myself was the best decision I made.

One key point to remember is even though Anastasia should have stopped Christian from hitting her, she did confront him afterwards and leave (although that is not ideal, it is better than nothing). The movie ends with her storming to the elevator, but we know that since there are sequels, she eventually comes back.

Yes, 50 Shades of Grey is fiction, but it is an over drastic portrayal of BDSM relationships. It is important to keep in mind that pop culture and media have influence on our culture. It’s all fun and games, until somebody gets hurt.

Photo courtesy of Krystal Schulte