Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
Blog Section Banner
 
You are here: Home >> Blog >> Marie Fortune's Blogs >> Fifty Shades of Depressing, Part 2 (The Movie)

Fifty Shades of Depressing, Part 2 (The Movie)

Feb 17, 2015 — Categories: ,

First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. I have not seen the film nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read or a movie to see, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex or of watching soft-core porn in a theater just doesn’t seem very appealing. Life is too short. But I am intrigued by the apparent popularity of this book, now movie, and the discussions it has engendered. Sounds like a raunchy romance novel of the Twilight genre, expertly marketed and hyped to an adult female audience. Feminist? Anti-feminist? Liberating? Depressing?

First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. I have not seen the film nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read or a movie to see, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex or of watching soft-core porn in a theater just doesn’t seem very appealing. Life is too short. But I am intrigued by the apparent popularity of this book, now movie, and the discussions it has engendered. Sounds like a raunchy romance novel of the Twilight genre, expertly marketed and hyped to an adult female audience. Feminist? Anti-feminist? Liberating? Depressing?

If you don’t plan on seeing it and just want a quick summary, I suggest A.O. Scott’s review: “The movie…dabbles in romantic comedy and splashes around in melodrama, but the one thing it can’t be — the thing the novel so trashily and triumphantly is — is pornography. [The director] Ms. Taylor-Johnson’s sex scenes are not that much different from other R-rated sex scenes, though there are more of them and more hardware is involved.”

I must confess some fascination with the report that the most advance ticket sales for the film are in the South and Midwest. Has anyone cross referenced these numbers with conservative Christians?  Since most of our churches have historically done a lousy job of providing sexuality education beyond don’t do “it” until  you are married, perhaps people are interested in anything that is explicitly sexual and playing in a mainline theater.

Or perhaps Esther Perel, a sex therapist and the author of Mating in Captivity, is onto something: “I find it amazing that this country at this point is going to spill quantities of ink talking about Fifty Shades, when it doesn’t even have a basic education on sex. It’s like you’re introducing alcohol to people who haven’t had any water in years.

Some reviewers speculate that women who “have it all” don’t really want it all; they want to be sexually submissive. Whatever “having it all” means, it’s no picnic. Mostly it means having most of the responsibility for work, home and family while still earning only 78% what men earn. And here we have a young white college woman who works in a hardware store who is seduced and manipulated by a white billionaire playboy with kinky sexual tastes. Anybody want to offer an economic analysis of power and vulnerability here? Yet the topic of conversation seems to be whether heterosexual women really want to be sexually submissive and dominated by men. The director of the film, Sam Taylor-Johnson said she read it as “a deep, dark, romantic adult fairy tale.”

What does a battered woman think when she reads or watches a “sexy” portrayal of a relationship where the "hero" controls a woman, sexually and otherwise. Most of them report that in real life, controlling and stalking behavior is just debilitating, humiliating, denigrating, terrifying and exhausting.

And I also wonder: will we ever see the day when equality and respect are erotic experiences and when writing about them or portraying them in a film creates a media sensation?

We live in hope.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.FaithTrustInstitute.org
Subscribe to my blog

 

We welcome your comments. Please note that your comments will not be visible until they are approved by the moderator.

- See more at: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/blog/marie-fortune/211#sthash.tyGYJUzl.dpuf

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.FaithTrustInstitute.org
Subscribe to my blog

P.S.— I recommend the article by Emma Green in The Atlantic that included the quote from Ester Perel that I reference above.

 

We welcome your comments. Please note that your comments will not be visible until they are approved by the moderator.

Document Actions