Two years ago I wrote a post about Fifty Shades of Grey. The movie was coming out and I was disturbed and disheartened by the number of female Facebook friends who were excited to see it, either on their own or hoping a significant other would take them.
This year I didn’t even notice that the sequel was released until a friend shared a post about how unhealthy the book trilogy and movies are. It’s sickening that both films were released Valentine’s Day weekend. I’m not a particular fan of the day, especially its commercialization, but Fifty Shades is the opposite of love. And, despite too many women’s refusal or inability to see the truth, its obsession, objectification, and desire to be idolized, aren’t romantic.
Why Women Want Christian Grey
From February 2015:
WARNING: ADULT CONTENT
It’s frustrating, disheartening, and disgusting by turns. Sometimes I want to dismiss 50 Shades of Grey fans as stupid. Or, at best, ignorant.
Then the ignorance breaks my heart. Don’t they know they’re worth more? I get fed up with a society that preaches exploitation of self as empowerment. Why is it so easy to fall into the trap?
We’ve created a culture in which it’s natural for women to want Christian Grey. Why?
We want to be desired.
I don’t know any woman, any human, who doesn’t want to feel validated. And most of us want to feel attractive. Beautiful. We want to be wanted.
Wanted to the point of distraction? Wow…
We feel powerful.
Being desired feels powerful. Up to a point it is powerful, just ask Beyoncé, though she probably doesn’t have much insight into how she’s harming herself and other women. If you want me, you’ll…
We enjoy the status of having an attractive sexual partner. Christian Grey is rich, powerful, and physically attractive. If he worked in a bowling alley, was socially awkward, scrawny, and homely, most women would find his creepy stalking exactly that. C.R.E.E.P.Y. They’d try to get rid of him. Maybe even call the police or get a restraining order. Notice I didn’t say all. Like I said, we can be suckers for attention and feeling like someone can’t get enough of us.
Fantasy is easier than real life.
Let’s face it, a man who captures our imagination from the pages of a book is safe, even if he’s dangerous.
Whether we invite him in as we read, or see him in a magazine, or watch him on a screen, even when we meet him in our day-to-day life, in our minds we have total control. The plot, the dialogue, the scenes are ours alone. We are infinitely desirable; he ardently adores. No one has bad breath or BO. He meets all our expectations and fulfills our desires. He’s not distracted. In our imagination, we are the center of attention. He won’t hurt our feelings or break our heart. He’s there whenever we want him. He demands nothing, and wants nothing but us.
Our sex-soaked society numbs us to the reality of porn.
About a decade ago, I sat with a group of new acquaintances, all moms. Around a table in a church basement, we worked on a craft I can’t remember except that it involved finding and cutting out pictures from magazines.
I believe the first to come up was Matthew McConaughey.
I get it. The man looks good with his shirt off. There were at least one or two other shirtless celebrities on the pages. The images were laughingly shared, with plenty of comments. I felt defeated. And annoyed. I’d connected with the group for fellowship and edification. Fun is part of that, but what they considered fun at that moment, I didn’t. I looked at them. None of us drop-dead gorgeous, none of us well-toned or particularly perky-busted. We’d all had at least one kid, for crying out loud. All I could think was, How would we feel if our husbands were sitting around commenting on half-dressed women like this?
I, for one, would be devastated to be a fly on the wall for that. None of our husbands lived up to the standards of male sexiness set in those photos, any more than we did to their female counterparts.
No one enjoys being unfavorably compared.
What we choose to look at affects how we see.
It’s interesting how women have become more visual when it comes to sex and arousal. Our willingness to objectify men is sadder as we argue that men shouldn’t objectify women… while preaching that confidence to objectify ourselves is admirable.
With the easy availability of pornography and its presence everywhere in our advertising and daily entertainment, we are encouraged to desire and pursue sex separate from emotional messiness. Whether it’s in bed or in your head (and by bed, yes, I mean anywhere because people have tried it all), disconnected sex is so much less than what sex is meant to be.
Mommy porn, ugh. Even when it’s marketed to women and found on the shelf of popular fiction at your local library, porn is porn.
We want to save the bad boy from himself.
Christian Grey has to be screwed up or there’s no drama for the heroine and no opportunity for her to “heal” him by, well, liking him and having sex with him a lot. In fact, and this may surprise a lot of fans of both series, but Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey are a lot more alike than people may realize.
In both cases you have an extraordinarily attractive, powerful, yet dangerous and damaged man becoming almost obsessive over a young girl he hardly knows because she stimulates so much desire in him. From the outside, neither relationship looks healthy, but the woman is determined to save her man with the power of her intense devotion and love. In other words, they have the same underlying theme, even though one features sparkly vampires and the other has light bondage.
John Hawkins, A Man’s View of 50 Shades of Grey
Lest anyone get squiffy with me…
about bashing women by portraying them as weak and stupid, everything above applies to both genders and how we view the gender to which we’re attracted.
If you want more insight into why you deserve better, you can check out the following post by a survivor of an abusive relationship.
Warning: If you know 50 Shades of Grey is garbage with which you do not wish to pollute your mind, you may not want to read this; you will know more about the books than you ever wanted to.
If you’re enamored or on the fence, you should find this woman’s position enlightening.
Christian Grey is abusive, regardless of how you feel about BDSM.
Anastasia Steele is stalked, manipulated, intimidated, and isolated. By an abuser.
Though they can be obsessed with them, abusers don’t love their objects.
They keep tabs on the person with whom they are in a relationship. They use emotional blackmail when they’re afraid their prey is beginning to see the reality of the situation; when their object may want out, they guilt them back in. They use violence, threats of violence, or emotional pain to control. They get their victims away from others they see as rivals or threats, and limit their contact with those in whom they may confide, especially those who are wise enough or care enough to recognize the signs of abuse and encourage the victim to escape.
You deserve better.
Want to read more? XXX Church founder Craig Gross wrote a great post: What I Learned from 50 Shades Darker.
Sex. does. not. solve. problems.