–Everything I watch or read since becoming a mom is just not the same. I have a mama-filter for everything. It’s no longer what I like and what I want. It’s not just “my” world. It is now my kid’s world. Their present, their future. Things that they will one day see. Questions that they will ask me.
With that disclaimer, I confess that before becoming a mom, I watched every “Sex and the City” episode, plus re-runs, and enjoyed the movie “9 1/2 weeks”. And now, as a mom, I still like the SATC re-runs, and look forward to watching some episodes with Y when she’s older. But I read half of the first book of Fifty Shades of Grey and I threw it in the trash.
Some friends couldn’t believe I didn’t like the book. WHY? They asked. And I thought about it a lot. What bothered me so much about it? Was it the feminist in me, appalled that this man wanted this young virgin to sign a contract and become “the submissive”? Was it the poorly written narrative? The empty characters? The over-use of lip biting scenes? The violence and abuse disguised as a love story?
This story creates a space for young men to think that it’s ok for them to treat women how Grey treats Anastasia. Hurting her and pushing her beyond her comfort zone. The fact that Grey was also taken advantage of as an adolescent doesn’t explain his behavior. I didn’t sympathize with him at all. He was not a likable character. His money, power, material possessions and language did not seduce me. What he explained that he wanted to do to her, and what he ended up doing to her did in no way excite me. In fact, it bothered me because of the message it’s sending to young men and women who watch the movie. Christian Grey is no gentleman. He is no hero. He is not one ounce the kind of man I want my two boys to resemble. It’s disturbing that we are planting these kinds of seeds in readers’ and viewers’ minds.
The movie grossed over $80 million its opening weekend (on Valentine’s Day). Why? Because we are a sex-hungry nation. Over-worked and over-stimulated. Rushed and confused by what the meaning of love and marriage really is. The book was not romantic, the story was not about love. It was about emotional and physical manipulation. Soft porn, erotica, lust-filled subject matter is temporarily pleasing to some. It has no room in a long term relationship.
Full of clichés and trite dialogue, this story is offensive for women who have been abused or molested. This upsets the part of me that was hurt one night by a guy who thought, like Grey, “that I was saying NO, but my body was telling him differently.” You selfish idiot. No is no. If you have issues, go get help and stop manipulating women.
Why did millions of women fall in love with this book? What if the $80 million went to shelters for abused women? Or use the money for better sex education in schools? Aren’t we perpetuating the confusion, the miscommunication, the ill-treatment of men towards women by supporting such movies? And why are we saying it’s ok to read or watch “soft porn”?
“It’s just a movie, Maria, calm down,” some friends say.
It’s not just a movie. It’s a movement. It’s a lifestyle, a philosophy, a stance that we have to take.
Let’s discuss sex, be open with our spouse about our preferences, try to understand how we are evolving in our sexuality, bring God to the bedroom with us, and discover how we can express ourselves more lovingly. But when it comes to porn, and how easily accessible it will be to our children through technology and their peers, let’s put a stop to it. Let’s talk to our girls about the purpose of sex. The value of it, the Godly gift that it is. Let’s talk to our boys about how to treat a woman properly. How to be romantic and gentle and funny and patient. And explain to them that no means no. Let’s make a decision and stand boldly in either the black or white of our thoughts. Let’s not be “grey”.