“This is supporting domestic violence!”
“This is all about violence against women!”
“This glorifies sexual assault and rape!”
Those phrases were everywhere as the books became popular; it was all over social media when the first movie came out. Of course, the same arguments would resurface now that opening weekend of the second installment is upon us.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is not about any of those things.
I read the books, have now seen both movies, and will definitely see the next one as well. I have also been a victim of sexual assault more than once and I have witnessed countless acts of domestic violence. When I watch or read this series, I don’t have flashbacks or cringe. I don’t see Anastasia Steele, the female lead, as a helpless victim nor do I view Christian Grey, the male lead, as an abuser.
S & M, the common term for sadomasochism, is the preferred method of sex for Grey. He creates contracts with his partners where he is the dominant and the woman is the submissive. These contracts have details such as what is or isn’t acceptable, safe words, and how to take care of any wounds that may happen. But the thing with a contract is that it is consensual and signed by both parties. The women he has been involved with know what they are getting themselves into. But this is a fictional story.
I cannot speak for what these relationships are like in real life but if someone is hitting you and you are not okay with it, that is domestic violence. If someone forces themselves into you or on you or around you in any way that you aren’t comfortable with, that is sexual abuse.
If you know the story, you know it is neither violent or abusive or anything other than two people who are working through their differences, their pasts, trying to meet on a middle ground. Steele is such a strong woman. She breaks up with Grey when things go too far for her liking. She tells him no when he tries to boss her around. She does not want a contract or her own room or to follow his rules; she is the embodiment of independence. Grey admits that what he does isn’t always right. He comes to terms with the fact that his reasoning and the psychology behind his actions are totally messed up. He literally says that he is a sadist. But he works past his demons and is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
But, you know what, even as he does start to change, Steele still wants a little of that kinky fuckery. She asks to be spanked and to use some of his toys. And that is great! She knows what she wants and who cares if it isn’t always vanilla. We all have the right to let our freak flag fly so why are we judging characters that do so?
It’s a movie; It’s a work of fiction.
If you are in a stable and safe relationship and you like some difference things, keep doing you but do so safely. Do not feel bad about what you like. There is no right or wrong way to express love or have sex as long as the parties involved are all consensual to how it’s happening. If you were a victim in real life, like I was, I am so sorry that something bad happened to you. If you are still living in the nightmare, I encourage you to seek help because there is a way out.
Feature Image via Fifty Shades Darker.