It is amazing that, in 2015, sexual abuse can still be marketed as romantic after all of the campaigns against assault, but yet, the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” brought in over $90 million in just four days.
In “Fifty Shades of Grey,” college literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview the beautiful, brilliant and intimidating Christian Grey. Naïve Steele begins to realize she wants him and is desperate to become close to him. Likewise, Grey is unable to resist Steele’s young beauty, but wants her on his own terms. Grey makes the statement to Steele, “I exercise control over all things,” which is exactly where the problem lies.
“Fifty Shades” was first a fiction novel written by E.L. James. After the large success of the book, it was then made into a film. Although avid book readers have the tendency to ‘fall in love’ with their favorite characters in the story, back in their minds they know what they are reading will not and cannot really happen. But, when a book becomes a movie and a person can visualize the story, the characters and plot has just become that much more real to the person. They have seen a fictional book come to life where the characters now have faces they can remember from the book they have fallen in love with.
Turning “Fifty Shades of Grey” into a worldwide, multimillion dollar phenomenon has become a problem in many areas. First and foremost, the film is glamorizing sexual abuse. Grey uses manipulation, intimidation and violence to control Steele. Many fans overlook this because of his handsome looks and powerful position, but this is not love; this is abuse.
Even if Grey is suffering the consequences of his own past abuse, and Steele is able to forgive him time after time, violence is violence.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is not only a fanaticized lie telling women to be obedient to controlling men, it is telling men that unrestrained domination is what women want and they are okay with it. “Fifty Shades” presents itself with an unrealistic fairy-tale ending, convincing women that an abusive relationship is normal and they should just give in.
This is not entertainment or the fairy tale that Hollywood is claiming “Fifty Shades of Grey” to be. This film is a glamorization of sexual violence and abuse. This generation is so consumed with what the media is saying and portraying, films like “Fifty Shades” come at a steep price when sexual violence is on the rise in today’s society.
A study was done in 2013 with a group of women’s health professionals who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” and analyzed the material to define intimate partner violence. The study found that almost every interaction between Grey and Steele was abusive because of intimidation, stalking and isolation.
Grey claims he cannot go without Steele but the love that Grey shows is through whips, blindfolds and restraining devices; this is not the love God calls us to show. The Apostle Paul writes about love in the book of Corinthians. He says, “Love is patient, love is kind… It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
The genuine love that God calls us to show does not dishonor others like Grey displays to Steele. Love is kind and always protects. Grey’s love is not true love because love means to serve others and he is only serving his own desires.
The media has a way of receiving a large array of attention and getting people to listening to what the media wants them to hear but glamorizing sexual abuse is not an appropriate topic for entertainment, especially the film industry that can be so closely transitioned into reality.