I sincerely struggle to understand why any individual would want to share their love of erotica with the world. Maybe they have forgotten that this world includes children, elderly mothers, and creepy predators. I see people vocalizing their love for Fifty Shades of Grey on a daily basis, and I am always left perplexed. I would imagine you wouldn’t want to share your sexual fantasies (out-of-the-box or not) with the above listed people, and they (along with me) don’t want to know about them.
At this point, I would like to point out that what you read or view is your business. I can’t stop you, but I can try to change your mind. I think that being a porn consumer is a horrible idea, as do many people who were formerly involved in that industry. But at the end of the day, it is you who must choose what you participate in, just as your sexual behavior is your choice.
It’s Porn, OK?
If you are one of those people who reject the notion that this somehow bestselling book (and now major motion picture) is pornographic, please allow me to show you the definition of pornography, in an attempt to settle this portion of the argument once and for all.
Por-nog-ra-phy: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings. (i.e. erotica)
Can anyone tell me that this foul book/movie combo does not have these characteristics? I don’t think so. You can tell even by reading small excerpts or watching the trailer. It’s enough to make any sane person blush. Look up some excerpts; I couldn’t bring myself to include them. Every source I have found–even the ones which sing the book’s praises–point to it being “mommy porn.” A bookstore owner profiting from the sales of this book was quoted in answer to whether she would begin to carry more erotica: “…I can’t really endorse it. What can I say, hey, we have some soft porn on the table?” This next quote, from a woman advocate, sounds like a joke: “It gives women who never would read traditional porn a way to explore a different side of themselves. It’s not a classic like o or some of the Victorian writings on the same subject; it’s what women are talking about on Facebook. That has to be healthy.” Seriously?? Also, I would like to point out that this book women are raving about started as an amateur offshoot of another of the worst books ever written. That’s right: Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fan-fiction. That doesn’t say much for its quality.
And it doesn’t matter if it includes other things as well as perverted sex scenes. I don’t care if it is the greatest love story ever told (which reviews confirm it is not. I’ve actually read that the writing is some of the worst around. Again, read some excerpts.) But even if the writing was fantastic, would you want to eat the world’s greatest piece of pie if you knew that there was a chunk of nice, fresh dog poop in it? No! So why would you read a mediocre at best book which is full of it? Even the classics that include sexual content do it in a way that is less obtrusive and extreme, (although I still disagree on their inherent value in society because of these content inclusions). Even Shakespeare made sexual references, but he did it in a euphemistic, hidden sort of clever way. You had to have a brain to figure out what he was actually saying, but I can tell you it sure wasn’t S&M. The fact of the matter is, all “wonderful love story” details aside, this piece of “art,” Fifty Shades of Grey, (which includes none of the redeeming literary qualities of the classics arguably sharing its content category) is pornographic. And not only that, it’s extreme, sadomasochistic pornography. And there is nothing redeeming enough in addition to this major theme to make the story even a little bit worthwhile. No amount of profit or reassurances that this book is “ok” and “normal” can change the fact that it’s porn.
This having been established, let’s move on.
Pornography is Harmful
Thanks to the wonderful people over at Fight the New Drug, we now have a comprehensive resource to show the harmful effects of pornography. As they clearly state, porn is harmful to individuals’ brains, relationships, and society in general. It rips families apart. It causes immense pain and decreased intimacy in real life situations. I encourage everyone to read the Fight the New Drug Get the Facts page and support the organization. Especially if you don’t believe me. These people have the science to prove it, and their arguments are foolproof. Not only do they show you that pornography has a similar effect on the brain to that of drugs, but they also outline how “porn kills love” by putting unreal expectations on the real people in our lives and relationships. However, even if you don’t care about how much porn will harm you or your relationships, you should at least be aware of what this poison is doing to the world if you are one of the people contributing to it.
On a large scale, pornography is one of the largest reasons for sex trafficking all over the world. Do you understand what I am saying? If you watch porn, you might be watching someone’s 17 or 18 year old daughter, ripped from her life, promised niceties (or simply drugged), and forced into a horrible industry in which she is abused in every possible way. Is that what you want to be supporting? If people stopped buying it or supporting this debauchery with clicks, there would be much less incentive for those with evil intentions to keep forcing innocent people to enter that monstrous world. It’s no secret that many of the people being forced into the porn industry are girls and minors, and you, the porn consumer, are partially responsible for their fate. It is also true that porn and prostitution (another “industry” supported heavily by abduction) go hand-in-hand. Statistics show that men who go to prostitutes are twice as likely to have watched a porn film in the last year compared to the general population. Contributing to pornography in any way only continues the vicious cycle and leads to more young women being kidnapped, molested, humiliated, and sold.
Besides that glaring issue, pornography shapes our society’s ideas for the worse, and that change begins largely in the minds of children. Think about it. Perhaps the saddest aspect of this film adaptation is that no matter how much we try to keep it from happening, many children are going to see this movie trailer (and in many cases the entire movie). Some might also get their hands on the book by way of friends or parents or the department store. The result will be a generation of children with a warped understanding of sex (the effect of all porn). Teenage girls will see these things and begin to wonder, ‘Is it normal for a man to expect these things of me?’ And they will eventually come to the conclusion that it is. Girls will give in to a false reality that sex is violent, foul, and harmful, instead of a special thing to be shared at the right time in the right way. They will also go on thinking that if they give a boy whatever he wants, he will eventually come to love them. That is absolutely backwards. Boys will begin to believe that they can do whatever they want to girls, expect whatever they want. None of these assumptions are the reality of sex, by it’s truest definition, but things like this movie (and the people who support it) are telling them otherwise.
I don’t understand why we are willing to put this movie in front of children. It is sick, it is not ok, and its legality is questionable. I would consider it child abuse! At the very least, we should be protecting young, impressionable minds. Doesn’t purity or innocence mean anything anymore? Why is there a disconnect between five-year-olds and the teens they become? Would you want your daughter to meet a real life man like the character in this book? If she did, would you advise her to jump right in and try to earn love, or would you tell her to run away and find a man who treats her right? Surprisingly, Dirty Girls Ministries’ Crystal Renaud was the first I have seen make this point. But she hits the nail right on the head in her article, “Christian Grey belongs in jail, not in your bedroom.”
If you can’t insert yourself into the mother-daughter scenario, look at this through the lens of equality. Did you realize that the main characters are called the Dominant and the Submissive? Seriously, this is the most sexist idea I have ever heard! He ties her up and hits her! This is domestic violence! But women all over the world are willing to sacrifice their ideas about what is ok, their ideas of equality even, just for a little perverted pleasure! What kind of message does this send to the younger generation? A mixed one, that’s for sure.
So What is the Solution?
There are several things to be done, and we have a responsibility to stand up and do them.
Matt Walsh recently posted about this movie on his blog, calling for an all-out boycott. I would like to echo this. For the love of some kind of standard, please do not buy tickets to this movie, and do not buy a copy of this book. You have the power to vote with your dollars, so do it. Need some good alternatives for movie night? Try Pride and Prejudice (an actual classic), You’ve Got Mail, or An Affair to Remember. These all involve strong women plus true romance and love, not S&M garbage. There are plenty of other amazing books to be read as well! Look up She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell if you want a romantic book where the woman is treated well. Read classics by Jane Austen and others! If you take the time to get past your aversion to big words, you will be surprised to find out that Austen was wonderfully sarcastic and witty, with lots to say about society and its norms. Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers is a little bit sensual in my opinion, but it paints an absolutely beautiful picture of unconditional love. I could go on and on with suggestions, but the point is, Fifty Shades of Grey is not the only thing out there, and it is far from the best. There is nothing redeeming about it.
If this piece of garbage must exist, the least we can do is keep it out of the reach of children. Good gracious, even toothpaste has a warning imploring us to do this! It is our responsibility as adults. Those responsible enough to distinguish right from wrong ought to be doing all we can to get this movie out of the way of minors. I, for one, will be writing a letter to the MPAA (address at the bottom of this page) and letting them know that this cannot slide. This movie is not an acceptable thing to be put in the path of children, and I believe that at the very least, it should be given an X rating. Maybe my letter won’t do anything, but at least I won’t be sitting on my butt while someone spews poison into movie theaters and producers laugh their way to the bank. Write a letter with me, so at least they know there are some who will not stand for this.
You can also make your voice heard to booksellers. Right now, the Fifty Shades of Grey book is available to everyone in America in stores like Target, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else books are sold. This makes very little sense. You can’t buy porn magazines from these same stores, so why can you buy this book? It’s because people have demanded it, and the stores cannot stand to miss out on huge opportunities to make profit! If people would stop buying them, they would stop stocking them! It would be wonderful if we could get them moved out of these stores and into the “adult” stores where they belong. (NOTE: I’m not trying to ban this. I’m just trying to save kids from it. I understand; you’re an adult, and you can read what you want. So no one throw fruit at me.) But, if you agree with what I’m saying, you can write letters to this effect too. Write to the publisher and to store corporations who sell the books now. Exercise your opinions and your convictions. Don’t be silent!
I realize that some people are still going to read this book and see this movie, even some who fully know its harmful effects. And they are going to be vocal about it. But pornography used to be something its consumers hid from public view. Now, it’s on our bookshelves and our Facebook pages with glowing endorsements! People who look up to us see these things and follow our lead, resulting in the spreading of more poison and mind-warping. Do you want your kids to learn the 5 horrible lessons Fifty Shades of Grey has to teach? Would you be comfortable reading this book in the presence of an elderly grandmother? Probably not. So please, read what you want on your own time, but for goodness sake, don’t put it in my face or anyone else’s. If, however, I’ve convinced you, join me in taking a stance against this filth–a protective stance over the children of America.