It seems that I cannot escape 50 Shades of Grey. Talk of it is all over my newsfeed, I hear the title all the time in my classroom, and its trailer flashes on my computer screen every other ad on YouTube.
As with anything controversial, several prominent bloggers have used their online communities to either rant or rave about this box office gold mine and the trilogy from which it originated. How appropriate that I decided to do a three-part series about love in honor of Valentines Weekend; this is a conversation I cannot help but join, and I’m thankful for the prime opportunity to do so.
I have several friends planning to see the movie, which is totally cool. I’m a live and let live kind of girl. While I respect every individual’s decision about whether or not to see the movie, I am choosing to refrain. Other than its rad soundtrack which I plan to check out on iTunes, I see no reason to see the film. On the contrary, I’ve found about a million reasons not to see it. Do not worry. I will not write them all, but here are 14 reasons I won’t be watching the flick this Valentines Weekend or ever. Spoiler alert: this post is going to be in list form (come on; you knew that was coming).
14. This is the most superficial reason on the list, but none of the actors on the movie are ones that I am dying to see on the big screen. I have seen trailers for films that looked mediocre that I ended up watching, simply because I liked the people casted. Colby and I joked that if Chace Crawford had landed the role of Christian, we might have reconsidered our absence in the crowded theaters this weekend. But joke is exactly what our sentiment is, because there is a plethora of other reasons for not patronizing this film. Even if Chace was the lead, I would not see it.
13. This story is a fan-fiction of Twilight, which I do not want to watch again.
To any parents out there who just spit out a Coke on their computer screens in horror… you have done so rightly. Although Twilight seems like a fairly tame, wholesome series on the surface, the same issues of physical and emotional abuse from 50 Shades of Grey are in this paranormal saga. Ms. James simply added the concept of bondage to Stephenie Meyers’s depiction of a love in. Think about it: both novels have an overly-fragile woman who is smitten by an inhuman person who could realistically kill her. Honestly, I read the Twilight books and saw all of the movies. They are not my favorite, and I do not care to relive the story with whips and floggers involved.
12. I am quite certain that 50 Shades will be a lot like Magic Mike: a lot of sexuality and very little story. I may be the only woman in America who feels this way, but no thank you. I would rather not be bored to death.
11. Even the cast of the movie hate it. Don’t believe me? Read it here. If they can’t even enjoy the movie when they made a fortune starring in it, I am not confident about the film at all.
10. I could not even make it through the first book in the 50 Shades trilogy. It is so poorly written that it vexes me, and I know that its lack of substance will translate to the big screen. I genuinely believe that the only reason it has made so much money is that the books are so shallow that anyone can throw the one of them in a gym bag and finish it in a day at the beach. My English major has afforded me the opportunity to read much better stories (and then watch their film adaptations). At the risk of sounding pretentious, I have better taste than 50 Shades of Grey. If you want love stories, let me point you in the direction of some amazing novels and their only slightly less amazing movies. Why settle for tuna when you can have lobster tails?!
9. Instead of spending my Valentines Day at the theater where I would probably be mortified by the pornography I saw on screen, I found it more appealing to spend the evening painting pottery with my mom and sister. Tomorrow, I get to spend the afternoon with my husband and see what surprises he has planned for our belated Valentines Day. I’ll undoubtedly find better things to do the next day, the next, and the next, until the movie goes out of theaters. And, when it comes out in RedBox and on Netflix, I know I will have better selections at my disposal.
8. It kills me that this movie premiered on Valentines weekend. Knowing the historical context of this holiday (Saint Valentine breaks the law of Claudius of Rome, and risks his life to help marry couples), I feel like 50 Shades cheapens this day even more than I thought corporate America ever would.
7. I like a movie with a strong heroine, and I do not think Ana Steele really encompasses that description.
6. My literary mind cannot wrap my brain around the idea that the protagonist and antagonist of this story end up in a romantic relationship. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester’s estranged union has always perplexed me a little, but even they seem to make more sense than Christian and Ana. I am not bound to rigid literary archetypes (see what I did there), but Ana and Christian defy everything that makes sense to me about the fiction world.
5. I like books and movies that give me characters to root for. Janie and Teacake from Their Eyes Were Watching God are perfect examples. I cannot relate, much less root for anyone in the 50 Shades trilogy. There is no one in the series I want to date, befriend, or be. Yeah, I’m not interested.
4. I think ABC’s The Bachelor is more progressive regarding women than 50 Shades ever could be. For those who read my first blog in this three-part series, you know that is saying something.
3. Christian Grey is not only physically and sexually abusive, but also mentally and emotionally. Up to the part I read in 50 Shades of Grey, he had stalked, ridiculed, and tried to control Ana. Relationships with those elements are obviously unhealthy. Anyone in them should walk no, run, away for good. Emotional abuse lends itself to physical abuse, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. While gender inequality is rampant in our world, we have made a lot of progress the last few years (consider Malala Yousafzai’s legacy and Emma Watson’s “He for She” Campaign). I do not want all of the advancements made for women this decade to be completely reversed with one trashy romance novel and film. I cannot stand the thought of the contributions of Yousafzai, Watson, and other incredible women being eclipsed and invalidated by this series.
1. 50 Shades of Grey not only sets unrealistic expectations of women and sexuality, but it also sends a dangerous message that only further promotes the rape culture we have in the United States. If we glorify a movie in which a woman’s most prominent and desirable quality is submissiveness, what will happen when the young, vulnerable women of our nation decide that they are willing to find “love” no matter what the cost?
The relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey is not love.
Love is a spontaneous road trip on a Saturday afternoon.
Love is dancing in the living room with Taylor Swift on full blast, not caring how ridiculous you both look.
Love is a bear hug at the end of a long day.
Love is giving a puppy, not a “red room,” to someone on Valentines Day.
Love is picking random, petty fights only to make up within 5 minutes.
Love is sacrifice, but on both sides.
Love is complicated, chaotic, and messy.
Love is grey.
Abuse, on the other hand, is black and white. So, it seems that 50 Shades of Grey might have been inappropriately titled.