I couldn’t stay silent about this weekend’s movie opening that has brought with it so much controversy. My husband told me, “You need to write about it,” and I was unsure, but ultimately I knew he was right. We will not be going to see Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend (or ever), and I am very concerned about what its popularity says about North American society right now.
I’m not going to say too much here, because I think the information and opinions are widely available online and my point has already been made. I’ll share some links below. But I do have some opinions of my own I would like to share. My opposition to the books and movie begins with my faith– it doesn’t end there, but it certainly is the strongest part. I believe that God designed sex exclusively for marriage, and that the sexual relationship should be one of love, trust, love, respect, and joy. I believe that external sexual/sensual images and words in the minds of one or both spouses can poison or even kill a relationship, and that the Bible tells us not to go there (1 Corinthians 6:18 is just one example). At the same time, I don’t think that relationship was designed to be boring by any means. But I do not believe that watching other people simulate sex as is done in this movie (or actual sex as with pornography) is a healthy way to “spice up” our own relationships. Off the top of my head, the book Sacred Marriage contains some really solid thoughts on sex within Christian marriage if you are looking to enrich your sex life in healthy ways. Also, weird as it may seem… ask your pastor for resources on the subject! I can pretty much guarantee that he or she will have some recommendations for you.
The only thing I did not read a lot of as I was following this movie was the way it twists God’s intent for gender roles. He established men as the head of the family, and I find it interesting that in such a feminist society where we have lost sight of this, many women are flocking to a story of a male who has total control over a woman. It is an unhealthy depiction, to be sure, but does it speak to a God-given desire for men to step up into their God-given responsibilities? Sadly, I think it might.
But here’s what’s most interesting to me about the negative “buzz” surrounding 50 Shades: many Christians, feminists, BDSM groups, and anti-domestic violence groups are all on the same page. When does that ever happen??? The core reasoning may vary from group to group, but the common thread is that this movie and book series depict an unsafe, unloving, and downright abusive relationship. From summaries I have read the story includes stalking, disrespect, sexual and emotional abuse, and even rape. The way the heroine’s thoughts and feelings are described is very similar to how victims of abuse describe their own thoughts and feelings. We all seem to agree that it is wrong for one partner to use control and violence over the other partner, and that it is dangerous for us to fantasize about (or engage in) such a relationship.
I think that’s all I really have to say. If you are considering seeing the movie I would encourage you to be informed before you welcome these influences into your mind and relationship. If you’re not seeing the movie I would encourage you to inform yourself, as well, and speak up about subjects of abuse, pornography, and marriage thoughtfully and respectfully.
Here are some links that might be helpful: