Christian Grey Belongs in Jail, Not in Your Bedroom
I wasn’t going to write a blog post about the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer because literally (and that “literally” is not exaggerated) everyone else has and we’ve already discussed the craze here and here. However, after actually viewing the trailer yesterday, I can’t get the following thought out of my mind:
“Christian Grey belongs in jail. Not in your bedroom.”
Okay, so JAIL may be putting it strongly, but I don’t think I am too far off.
Perhaps it is because I was once the young, mousey girl taken advantage of by an older, stronger man, but the appeal of Christian Grey is totally lost on me. In fact, if I ran into him in the grocery store aisle (or I think a dark alley would be more fitting), I would probably pretend I got a phone call and walk the other direction. Why? Because he strikes me as a bonafide predator with extreme emotional disturbances…
The kind of predator with a desire to play out his twisted fantasies with a weak and vulnerable partner. Which is exactly what he does to Ana.
This is not a “we hate all porn in all its forms because we’re Christian” kind of post. In fact, I will ignore that Ana and Christian aren’t married as well as the spiritual/demonic undertones presented in the “red room of pain” as it is described in the book (furnished with chains, whips, ropes, what have you). And I will even ignore that Ana was a virgin upon meeting Christian. I just want to have a very honest conversation with all of the women, specifically the Christian women, who believe this book is fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom. I see you in my Facebook newsfeed.
Many women start to read this book out of curiosity, but they continue to read it out of a deeper inner longing. They long for a man who shows them the kind of “love” and “attention” that Christian shows Ana, but the truth is this guy is more like Ted Bundy than he is Ted Mosby. And now that the movie is coming out and the trailer has been released, I see even more women posting openly about starting ladies book clubs to get prepared for when the NC-17 rated film debuts on Valentine’s Day 2015. How romantic!
Everything is permissible. But not everything is beneficial. And not everything is honoring.
Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
So unless you can prove that Christ tied the Church up in rope, beat her with whips, and dominated her physically, emotionally, and sexually, then a bedroom full of BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) is not how husbands are called to love their wives. And it is not what wives should desire from their husbands. And it is not what women (single or married) should be filling their heads with until it all seems so fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom.
Let’s Talk Real Life For a Moment
Imagine you have a college-aged daughter and she meets Christian Grey in a similar fashion as Ana did. And she begins to talk to him, things start out slow, but then she begins to partake in this violent sexual relationship. Would you think all of this would be fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom then? I believe most would think not and would strongly encourage their daughter to find a man who will treat her better, honor her well, and love her like Christ loves the Church… like she deserves.
So why is it okay to make this your fantasy (or entertainment)? Why is it okay for Ana to be treated this way? Because she’s fiction? Because she signed the “BDSM contract” and “knew” what she was getting herself into? Unfortunately, the truth is she’s not fiction. There are many young women just like her who are coerced into doing the very same things by a man who is very much like Christian. It is called manipulation. It is called being a sociopath. And no meek and lonely girl is going to say no when a man with a presence like Christian is doing the asking.
This is not a matter of what one can and cannot do in the bedroom. That’s not my business. It is a matter of what we should and shouldn’t accept as normal, right, and good in our society.
I believe our friends over at Porn Harms/Morality in Media said it well when they posted:
“The popular series promotes torture as sexually gratifying and normalizes domestic violence, particularly violence against women. This type of material cultivates a rape and sexual violence culture and is now permeating our society. With the popularity of this book, mainstream opinion-makers (like Oprah, the Today Show, Planned Parenthood and Broadway) are telling the public (especially youth) that humiliation, degradation and torture in sex is normal and to just give it a try.”
And that is exactly what is happening. And before one argues that reading a book or watching a film based in fiction can’t change a person or make any difference in how a person lives their life, according to a leading fetish company, there has been an increase in their sales as a direct result of this book and now, impending film.
A man who is willing to hit you and harm you “for pleasure” in the bedroom is capable of hitting you and harming you “for no reason” in the kitchen.
It doesn’t take a long leap to get from A to B. I am the granddaughter of a victim of domestic violence. Not a “he lost his temper and hit me once” kind of domestic violence. But a “I feared for my life for years. He left me bruised and broken on the floor” kind of domestic violence. Domestic violence is never okay. Sexual violence is never okay. Violence toward women OR men (whatever the kind) is never okay. Violence ≠ Love.
So what are we teaching the next generation of women when our entertainment contains physical, emotional, and sexual violence? They learn what is acceptable by observing what we deem acceptable. And I believe books and films like Fifty Shades of Grey take us back to a time when women didn’t have a voice and were supposed to do whatever their husbands commanded of them.
Well, that is not the world that I live in.
Or at least I didn’t think so.