|James in May 2012, courtesy of Wikipedia.|
I consider myself an independent, self respecting woman with fairly intellectual literary tastes, and that's my excuse for having paid little or no attention to Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. On the other hand, I respect The New Agenda, and its headline, Unraveling the Troubling Themes Behind Fifty Shades of Grey, belatedly caught my eye. In response to Molly's astute interpretation of Fifty Shades of Grey, posted at TNA prior to Valentine's Day weekend, I feel utter disgust toward James' novel and the potential damage it might wreak on the lives of young women; incidentally, James' real name is Erica Mitchell.
In the heart of college, otherwise known as the “sexual experimentation years”, there is no doubt that the popular novel-turned movie Fifty Shades of Grey will be on the menu for discussion this Valentines Day weekend. While this infamous pop culture reference might present itself as just another playful Hollywood movie that “pushes the limits”, its underlying themes are anything but playful. Fifty Shades of Grey is not a story about romance, or even sex, it’s a story of the loss of power and control of an innocent women, the story we know all too well.
For people who haven’t read the book the plot has a basic “romantic” story-line, an older established man charms himself into mind and body of Anastasia Steele, a modest and insecure 21 year old. The twist, however, is what gave this novel its claim to fame. Once the man, Christian Grey, hence the title Fifty Shades of Grey, coaxes himself into Steele’s otherwise average college life, he manipulates her into joining his world of sexual bondage.
While I am all for some healthy discussion about new trends, sexual liberation, and fulfilling ones needs, there is nothing healthy or normal about this movie. In light of the recent sexual offense cases on college campuses around the country, the media has been beating the public over the head with information about sexual assault awareness. Yet the media is simultaneously releasing a film illustrating taboo details that romanticize the acts of sexual abuse. These mixed messages can be confusing to the public and it is an issue where light should be shed.