50 Shades of abuse

Background context: 50 Shades of Grey is an erotic film directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenplay by Kelly Marcel released in 2015. In this review I will be referring to the trilogy as a whole with the first movie in 2015, the second (50 Shades Darker) in 2017, and lastly the third (50 Shades Freed) in 2018, respectfully. I will also be briefly mentioning the novels by British author E.L. James. 


Warning: Mentions of s3xual violence, abuse, and of course erotica will be featured in this review. Please be cautious. 

This review is mostly going to be of an underlying theme I see in all erotic fiction targeted towards women. The reason I picked 50 Shades of Grey to be my victim, is because I think it's what really popularized the trope in the 21st century. But let me be very clear, this trope has existed for many years and is by no means a new concept. With that out of the way, let's begin. 

summary: 50 Shades of Grey is about a 21-year old Ana who is an English Lit major at Washington State University. Her roommate/friend Kate falls ill and cannot interview the 27-year old steamy billionaire business man for her college newspaper. Ana decides to take Kate's place and record the interview for her. Ana arrives at the interview face planting immediately just so the audience can really grasp how vulnerable and clumsy she is. Anyway, Christian takes an interest with her and visits the hardware store at which she works. Christian invites her to a coffee shop and immediately gets up and leaves after she states that she's a romantic and tells her to find a different guy. After the tense interaction, he sends her first edition copies of two Thomas Hardy novels as a gift. Later that night, Ana and her friends are celebrating their graduation at bar and Ana gets wasted. In a drunken haze she calls Christian and tells him she doesn't want the books and berates him about his pushing and pulling behavior. Christian shows up to the bar she's at and takes her to his home. When she wakes up, she's in a different set of clothes and in Christian's hotel room. he feeds her breakfast and warns her not to get drunk like that. Christian and Ana start seeing each other a lot more after that. He insists she signs a NDA because he is into bondage and BDSM (more on that later). Ana reveals that she's a virgin. They talk about the set of rules (he gets to pick when she goes out, who she sees, if she can drink, etc etc) and he shows her his playroom. Then they have conventional sex, thus losing her virginity. Ana mentions to Christian that she is going to Georgia to visit her mother. Later, Christian is upset because Ana wants more out of their one sided relationship. So when she's in Georgia, Christian unexpectedly shows up and takes her out of the party. They return back to Seattle where Christian wants to get more freaky and Ana consents. He whips her butt with a belt and makes her count each strike. He's emotionally distant and after the whipping he gives her no aftercare and she cries in the bed. She later leaves disgusted and horrified and tells Christian they're over. Obviously this is not the case because they get married in the next movie and she get's pregnant in the third. 


Christian Grey shows clear signs of being an abuser. Firstly, he isolates Ana. He shows up to events she's at without telling her and whisks her away. He constantly warns her that she's too innocent and acts like he's protecting her. And according to his NDA, he has complete possession of her. 

Grey also pushes and pulls Ana away which is a common behavior in abusive relationships. He get's really close to Ana and then turns the other away and then comes back to her. He does this when he goes on a date with Ana, then he tells her to leave him alone and they can't be together, and then he sends her a gift as an apology to draw her back in. He does this many times throughout the series starting with their first romantic interaction. 

When Ana reveals she's pregnant to her husband in the 3rd movie, he grows livid and cusses her out for getting pregnant (side note: correct me if I'm wrong Mr Grey, but it does in fact take 2 people to have a baby). He leaves the house and get's drunk with his ex/past abuser. She confronts him and he said that they didn't do anything, she just comforted him. Throughout the majority of the movie he abandons Ana and ignores her. Towards the end he gets a change of heart and decides to support her after wringing her through hell. I don't think I have to explain why running to your abuser when in a stressful situation for comfort is a HUGE red flag. 

Now, I do understand what a Dom is. I do understand what BDSM is. And in no way am I saying BDSM is inherently abusive. The problem here is consent. Yes, Ana does consent to Grey's punishment. But let's go before that, when they were mere acquaintances. Showing up uninvited and taking her to your hotel room where you undress her and put her to bed is so weird. Also illegal. No, he wasn't just "looking out for her". It's one thing to give your friend a ride home when they're wasted, it's another to change them without their consent and sleep next to them in a random bed. Now keep in mind, Ana is a virgin. She admits she doesn't even know what buttplvgs are. So she doesn't fully understand the extent of what she's getting herself into here. She just heard of BDSM in that little time she knew him. Not only that, but he provided ZERO aftercare and left her traumatized and sobbing with no comfort. 

So, why was this movie so well received? One answer: pretty privileged. If Christian Grey was a wrinkly bald bastard, it would be a horror movie. Constantly there at every turn, threatening any man that looks your way, hitting you and then leaving you to wallow. Even when you inevitably leave, he comes back to you in the second movie and continues his toxic behavior. But what makes it okay, what makes it sexy, is that he's a conventionally attractive white man. And this trope applies to majority of popular romance films such as the Twilight series (2008-2012), The Notebook (2004), Passengers (2016), Grease (1978), Revenge of the Nerds (1984), and many more. These movies might not seem like they have a lot in common, but they actually do.  One underlying theme is men being possessive, manipulative, abusive, sexual assaulting, and it being presented to the audience as not only an okay thing, but a romantic thing. Women should like men violating their privacy, they should like men taking what they want. But it's just fiction, right? This media that we are consuming does affect the real world. It's telling men it's good to invade women's privacy, it's endearing in fact. And it tells women that this is normal behavior, "boys will be boys" mentality. 

Again, let me restate, that I do not think BDSM and sub/dom relationships are inherently toxic. But when you manipulate, threaten, and essentially force someone into this dynamic, that's when it's not only toxic, it's sexual abuse. And the fact this movie glorifies this behavior is disgusting. If you like being degraded, that's okay. As long as both parties are consenting participants who know what they're getting into and have after care. But that's not what this film and many others demonstrate.


If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

What do you think? Is there any other films that show this dynamic? 



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Bag Of Operators

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Yes girl slayed!

replace buttplv w/ bootyplvg


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kk thx grl

by CATGUTZ17; ; Report