50 Shades of Not Okay


Next week is the long-awaited movie premiere of one of the best-selling books of our decade, Fifty Shades of Grey. Many fans of the book are excited to see their favorite characters come to life on the screen, as but many others question the message of the book, and consequently that of the movie, and claim they glorify unhealthy relationships and incorrectly portray the BDSM (Bondage/discipline sadism/masochism) lifestyle.

To those who are unfamiliar with the premise behind Fifty Shades of Grey, main characters Anastasia Steele, a Washington State University senior, and Christian Grey, a business magnate, meet during an interview. It's awkward, Anastasia barely stumbles through it and she leaves his office feeling it went badly. To her surprise, he manages to find out where she works (a sweet gesture or stalker tendencies?) and from then on becomes overprotective of her. After several outings, Christian Grey lavishes Ms. Steele with gifts, trips and by talking sweet nothings to her. Many people found this book endearing, and argue that Christian Grey as a role model for men and this is just another erotic story to fantasize about.

But is there a line to be drawn? Is this book (and now the upcoming movie) a problem? According to members of BDSM community, Fifty Shades of Grey portrays their rules and customs in a wrong way. To understand the uproar, this community has campaigned hard against this movie and has been promoting an awareness campaign to set the record straight about their own rules and customs.




BDSM is a practice that goes back to 1969. Since then, it has improved into an array of different scenarios that require a lot of psychological stability and consent from each part, the dominating partner and the submissive one. BDSM isn’t “wild sex and playing around with toys”. It has its own regulations that ensure the mental, emotional and physical health and pleasure of both parts.

People from the BDSM community have been campaigning against this movie ever since it was announced. Many are certain that the relationship portrayed by Ana and Christian Grey isn’t one of a healthy nature. One of the most resounding criticisms is the fact that Ana is not “what a [consenting] woman should be”, as she is portrayed to be child-like, lacking in confidence and easily manipulated.  Part of these type of relationships are born from the base of an agreement of consent and trust. The moment you’re forced into something, much like Ana was in most of the book, then it threatens to cross the line into abuse.




The community is not coercing you into burning the books or your movie theaters, no. Movements such as #50DollarsNot50Shades invite you to analyze if Fifty Shades of Grey is glamorizing abusive sexual relationships and getting away with it. Pictures circulating Tumblr show excerpts from the book that serve as proof of just how abusive this relationship can be. Remember: not every case of abuse comes from the physical form, it can be verbal too. This book, but hopefully not the movie, has a lot of verbal abuse coming from Christian Grey himself.



Again and again we speak against abuse, but we often forget to really think about how it sneaks into our every day life when we're presents with works like these. If we preach anti-abuse it also includes books or movies that often glamorize an abusive lifestyle. Whether or not you agree that Fifty Shades of Grey is an example of this is up to you. Reading the book or going to watch the movie is a choice only you can make, but keep in mind the differences in Mr. Grey’s lifestyle and the comfort the BDSM community really offers.