I didn’t want to do this.
I filmed the vlog (told you guy I’d do it) corresponding to this video first, and figured that was probably good. However, I realised that I probably should attempt something eloquent, since the video is mostly me ranting and pausing awkwardly so I don’t vomit hatred and frustration everywhere. I also realised that I haven’t heard anything about the movie/book/subpar toilet paper that is 50 Shades of Grey from any actual abuse survivors. I’ve heard from dumbfounded men, angry Christians and outraged parents, but no surivivors. So here’s my take. Any other survivors reading this are free to comment on this post with their opinion of 50 Shades. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I still didn’t want to do this. I just want this shit to go away.
I’ve noticed a problem with romanticising abuse for a long time. The biggest place I’ve seen it is in the fanfiction community. I read and write fanfiction (which I will post about at a later date), and have been doing so for around seven years. Not all of it is smut, but for real, a lot of it is. That’s okay. I’m not one of those puritan Christians who lose their minds if sex is mentioned. Some of the fiction dealing with sexual abuse is examining the thoughts and recovery of a survivor, and society’s reaction to them. And that’s awesome. However, a lot of the material dealing with sexual assault and abuse is meant to be erotic and sexy, or it begins non-con (the fanfic term for non-consensual sex) and ends with the victim enjoying it. Words do not even begin to describe how MESSED UP that is.
It’s not surprising, then, that 50 Shades began here. It isn’t news that the story was originally Twilight fanfiction.
A few names get changed, and bam. A best seller.
I wasn’t really aware of 50 Shades of Grey until it became huge. My writer friends were ranting about how something with such bad writing was a best-seller (hint: it had sex in it), my sister was reading it (and forcing big sis Kelsey to get it from the library for her due to age restrictions) and there were suddenly sex toys everywhere. I had read some excerpts and found the sex laughable and frankly unsexy (sniffing panties? wha….why?). I enjoyed the celebrity readings. I ignored it.
Eventually it was announced that a movie was being made. I was pretty sure, somewhere, that a porn producer had already adapted it so I thought the movie was unnecessary. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get made, but somehow it was. It was more “ha-ha, what a stupid looking movie” than “what the actual fuck”.
I started to look more closely at the story. After all, if it was making so much money, there had to be something to be learned. Plus, as a psychologist in training, I’m interested in what makes certain stories “click” in the minds of many.
I was horrified.
Grey stalks Ana and emotionally manipulates her. He’s jealous. He uses her naivete to force her into sexual situations she’s uncomfortable with. He berates her. He uses expensive gifts to win her favour. He shows no regard for her comfort. He threatens her with violence. He makes her feel bad for expressing her discomfort. He keeps going when she says no.
It isn’t hard to see where this is going.
I remember learning all of this and thinking, “this guy is basically a rich R.”
He’s a fucking rapist.
Let’s let that sink in.
This romantic “hero” is a rapist.
Does this mean that all women who read 50 Shades want this kind of behaviour? I sure as shit hope not. But that’s the message that’s being sent.
All of this is an example of rape culture, but a more subtle example than victim blaming. It’s telling women that this behaviour is romantic, that it’s something to be cherished. It’s telling women that doing what your man wants, no matter how awful it makes you feel, is what love is.That you can change a man with your love, even if he wants to give you 50 shades of black and blue bruises.
This is the attitude I held. Look where it got me. PTSD sucks ass.
Everywhere I look it’s 50 Shades of Grey. Every time I turn on the TV it’s the trailers, or the reviews, or the box office numbers.For everyone else, it’s harmless fun whether you enjoy the movie/book/excellent kindling or are making fun of it. For me, it’s like a giant, festering sore that’s starting to attract flies. It’s constant reminders of the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. And it’s eroticised.
All I have to say is this: what the fuck is wrong with you people?
Sorry that was so negative. Here’s some survivor love letters to show that not everyone has a distorted view on sexual assault. Want to read some romance and erotica that doesn’t suck? Check out Nola Sarina!