Let it be known:
As I write this post I have not seen the movie, nor did I read the book. Well, that is not entirely true. I tried to read the book.
A quick story:
I had never heard of Fifty Shades of Grey until my hairdresser, and friend, told me about it. I used to work at the salon, I was getting my hair done at one day, and all the girls were buzzing about this book. “What is it about?” I asked. “Just read it!” they said. They told me it was sexy and I was going to love it. Flash forward about a week. My husband and I went out for drinks and stopped by the grocery store on the way home. I was a bit tipsy; and after seeing that the store carried Fifty Shades of Grey, I exclaimed very loudly that my husband should buy it for me. He did. The next day I woke up with a small hangover and my husband asking me why I insisted he buy me fan fiction erotica.
WHAT????? What did you buy me? What kind of erotica?
I didn’t have a clue.
He then proceeded to explain to me what kind of literature was now sitting on our dining room table. “Oh well,” I thought, “I am very comfortable with my sexuality so I should enjoy this book. Everyone else is reading, it so how bad can it be?”
I can’t tell you how far I actually got because I don’t remember the chapter or page number. I can say this, I read it as far as Christian Grey taking the main characters virginity (NOT realistic in the least) and stopped when Ana (the main character) started reading the contract he gives her to sign so they can continue having sex. I use the word “contract” because I think that is how they address it in the book. It felt more like a waver saying she won’t sue him if he goes too far in the bedroom. And I do mean too far. I became extremely uncomfortable and promptly put the book down. I have not picked it up since. In fact, after moving four times since I tried to read it, I couldn’t even tell you if it is still in my possession.
So now this erotica novel is a movie, and people have issues with it. Are we surprised? We, and by “we” I mean America, are a puritan society. Don’t believe me? Think about how this country was founded. The puritans came here to escape religious persecution. Compared to other countries, our R rated movies get a PG rating elsewhere. OK, maybe not that extreme, but pretty close to it.
We are also a society of complainers. If you are not offending one person, you are offending someone else by trying not to be offensive in the first place. Everyone’s a pusher. Everyone’s a shover. And most certainly everyone wants their opinion to be known. This is why we have free speech. And blogs.
Back to Fifty Shades. Yes, I put the book down. I had to ponder on this. Why were all the women saying it was so wonderful? These were friends of mine whom I know, love and trust. What is it about this novel that makes it so great? And what does the movie have to offer in turn? Is it because it is so far-fetched and fantastical that reading the book would be akin to reading about unicorns actually existing? No, ladies. The BDSM community exists. I don’t understand it myself. I mean, a spanking now and then is fun and kinky but I don’t want anyone chaining me up and taking a belt to me.
I decided to talk to my best friend about the movie before I continued writing my advice for the week. She has not read the book, but did go see the movie over the weekend. Over cocktails and dinner tonight I asked her:
“First tell me your overall impression.”
“Disturbing” was her reply.
She then described the movie to me in detail, and mostly a whisper since we were in a public restaurant. From what I understand there are sexy moments, but also very uncomfortable ones. For the most part it is about control and who has the control over whom. Apparently it changes hands, even though Christian Grey has the upper hand in the beginning. Is this what makes it interesting? Being the victim of controlling relationships, I do not find this appealing. My best friend very wisely pointed out that it is all very personal. I think she is right. I think who you are and what has shaped you into whatever your sexuality may be is how you will react to this book/movie. It is no wonder so many people are up in arms, it is being taken very personally.
I will say this: I think it is a bunch of BS that this is the movie that so many people take issue with, when there are other movies containing much worse depictions of sex in them that have won Oscars. Think about A Clockwork Orange, or Monsters Ball (a movie I had to turn off because I was so disturbed). Is it because this is a female fantasy and women are not allowed to be sexual? It is much more difficult for a woman to admit things like watching porn than it is for a man. A man gets high-fived while a woman gets dirty looks. This is true.
My friend also informed me that we never see Christian Grey’s penis in the movie but there is vagina galore. Don’t even get me started on that front.
I have come to the conclusion that I need to see the movie for myself and then form some better advice and opinion. Next week is Robyn’s Rant and I will address all these issues and more.
In the meantime, I want to know your opinion. I especially want to hear from the ladies so I can understand the different angles this issue can take.
Please comment below and check back on Friday for what Skippy has to say. Then, tune in next Wednesday where I address Fifty Shades of Grey from a more informed perspective.