Why Fifty Shades is Exactly What We Want, and Not Just because of the Sex

         On February 14, 2018, the third and final film in the Fifty Shades Franchise, Fifty Shades Freed, will hit the theaters. The book-turned major motion picture has amassed huge profits, with Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker coming in at 200 and 300 million dollar profits respectively.

           The movies and books are soft porn targeted for women; a scenario in which a simple girl captures the attention of billionaire Christian Grey. Originally a sadist, Grey turns into concerned—albeit controlling—boyfriend/husband of Anastasia Steele due to her unintentional and modest charm. The movies are a hit for fans everywhere as they can watch the steamy romance come to life on the big screen.

             But sex isn’t the primary motivator for consumers paying to see these films or reading the books. And while the excitement at the danger of an S&M based relationship is also a selling point for these books and movies, it also isn’t the biggest reason hordes of people are  buying into this franchise.   

            The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise is so incredibly popular because it prays on a common fantasy of being more than just special; Anastasia is the exception. Romantic fantasies such as Twilight, Cinderella, and Divergent focus on an utterly unremarkable female lead who effortlessly captures the attention of a boy completely out of her league. Furthermore, Anastasia not only captures Christian Grey’s attention, but he is so infatuated by her, that he changes his lifestyle completely over her.

            Grey has lived his life being in control over women with no emotional ties. Yet, Anastasia through no outstanding effort, transforms Grey into a dedicated significant other intent on both emotional and physical intimacy.

            The books epically describe a controlling boyfriend showing hundreds of red flags in a relationship. The movies encompass poor acting, and terrible direction. Yet, the trilogy enchants consumers simply because Anastasia represents the fantastical role many hope to play in relationships; not only being special, but being the exception.

            By the collegiate age, most can understand the beauty in flaws, recognize their personal strengths despite their weaknesses, and that each person is special in his or her own way. When a hook-up snubs a friend, it’s common to reply that it is his loss, or he doesn’t understand what he is missing. We are constantly promising ourselves and our friends that we are special.