By Nick Anstett and Kaitlyn Fowler
Elm Staff Writers
This week, Nick and Kaitlyn are discussing the ever-so racy film, “Fifty Shades Of Grey.” Is it really a film about love? Or is it a film about sadness and violence? Nick and Kaitlyn unpack it all. Next week, our goose and gander will discuss the awkwardness of encounters after Birthday Ball.
Nick says… When it comes to pop culture sexual phenomena of the last decade, few seem to match the “Fifty Shades” series in terms of pervasiveness regardless of the criticisms thrown at it. It seems fair then that a book that began its life span as “Twilight” internet fanfiction should spawn a film adaptation that is remarkably lacking in soul, charisma, invention, entertainment, and, perhaps most damningly, actual sex appeal. However, even outside of just being one of the most grueling theater-going experiences I have suffered through in years, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a two hour exhibition of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
The influence of “Twilight” here is more than apparent. The film’s romantic male lead, Christian Grey, is prone to moments of stalking and psychologically manipulative behavior. Early moments in the film find Grey hunting down his partner Anastasia at bars and slipping into her apartment unnoticed. He’s a sexual being that thrives of control and personal dominance. He crosses the line very quickly between a sexually active loner and genuinely abusive individual.
Even more distressing is the fact that the much lauded sub-dom/BDSM sex sequences in the film represent a gross misrepresentation of how this subculture of sexuality behaves. I do not claim to be the most educated when it comes to bondage and other BDSM practices, but most, if not all, aspects of this sexual subculture are relegated to consensual bedroom behavior. “Fifty Shades of Grey” oversteps these bounds and takes the controlling and restrictive behavior outside of the bedroom and into real life. The behavior shown borderlines on sexual assault and physical domestic abuse. It’s far from romantic and more upsetting than anything. It’s natural for Hollywood to fudge the truth for the sake of entertainment, but here the results could prove disastrous as they unintentionally excuse harmful and potentially dangerous behavior. Men and women should be both aware of the fallacies the film represents and be careful of relationships that even tiptoe into the territory presented here.
It says something that the most sensual scene in the film by far is the first sexual encounter between Grey and Anastasia. It’s a short and steamy “normal” sexual encounter untouched by the perversion of sexual kink that the film has crafted.
Kaitlyn says… When it comes to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” there is a sort of glamour to it in the eyes of many. Whether you like it and whether it sells or not there is still an undeniable buzz surrounding this series. I’m not going to lie, I have read the books, but I don’t know if that colored my opinions with this movie or not. While I don’t think the book is a pinnacle of modern day literature, I do think it brings light to a lot of different aspects of relationships that our society kept in the shadows.
When it comes to the dominant-submissive relationships most of my knowledge is limited to what I learned via “Fifty Shades of Grey”. What I find curious, is the role that power dynamics play in the relationship between Anastasia and Christian. While there are power dynamics in every relationship rarely do you see one that is so heavy handed towards one partner. People have their reasons for preferring this type of relationship just as people have reasons, whether they know them fully or not, for why we like and dislike the things we do.
I don’t think that we should shame people just because they like certain things. I also think that we shouldn’t give it as much attention as we do. Don’t get me wrong I am happy that people are being acknowledged instead of ignored, but we sit, and stare, and point at people who like this sort of relationship and we treat them like animals on exhibit in a zoo. I don’t understand why we can’t respect and acknowledge them without having to mention them and whatever books or movies highlight them. I believe that “Fifty Shades of Grey” should just be a regular book, not highlighted for the kinky things its characters do that seem so unusual to many.
I think when it comes down to relationships, whether it is one in a book, movie, or real life, the most important thing is to be comfortable and happy. If you are uncomfortable in the relationship you’re in then you the only one who can change that. However, if you are in a relationship where you are happy and comfortable regardless of what you are doing, then what is so wrong with that?