The Shades are black and white, people.

Okay, I know. There are about a million perspectives being written about the movie 50 Shades of Grey and how bad it is . And well..you caught me, I’m about to write another perspective. #SorryNotSorry

Some of the perspectives have included thoughts on whether or not 50 Shades of Grey is the quint-essential depiction of an abusive relationship. Many have said that Christian is manipulative, confusing, emotionally abusive by loving Ana and then pushing her away, not to mention the severe beatings and control he takes over her life. However, there does not seem to be a firm consensus on whether or not the film DOES indeed depict abuse, or if it is an erotic film containing much sexual deviance?

After reading many of these perspectives over the past couple days, I am still left wondering: HOW is it possible that one would be unsure about whether or not this relationship is abusive? Is it because she consented to it? Is it because the violence took place during sex, and somehow this is confusing to people? What is it exactly that makes one question the nature of this relationship?

The confusion and the subsequent normalization is created through the language used by the author. The language is used to make a horrific relationship seem normal, and blur the lines. The language is used to make a black and white issue, SEEM GREY. It is my belief that by even using the title, “50 Shades of Grey”, that the disturbed woman (and sick people who influenced him) who wrote it would like people to further to question the boundaries around sexual violence, abuse towards women, emotional manipulation, sex, love, and dignity. 

So…watch how the author achieves this:

She made the abuser beautiful.

She made the woman sexually vulnerable, unsure of what to expect and therefore willing to try anything (she was a virgin).

She made the violence occur during sex so it would look sexy, naked and intriguing. By introducing violence during sex, she kept the reader interested.. turning pages..Human beings are naturally intrigued by sex because of its intimacy. By coupling something so intimate, with something so violent, one begins to think that perhaps sometimes, violence IS loving.

By making the violence occur during an intimate time, she blurred the lines between intimacy and violence. The violence never occurred outside of the times they had sex. The message: violence is okay if it’s in the bedroom Violence is part of love. It’s not abusive if it’s during sex. (If the violence had even occurred ONCE outside of sex, there would be no discussion around the question of abuse.)

She blurred the lines of “what is abusive” by having her ‘consent’ to it, and stay. By introducing consent into the relationship, the author makes the reader believe that if  ‘consensual’ abuse occurs, is not abuse at all. her (and many readers) believe that because she consented, there was nothing wrong. (When was the last time you talked to someone who told you a situation that was confusing them, who after explaining a clearly unhealthy relationship was able to tell you IN THAT MOMENT, that they were in an abusive relationship? Last time I was in that situation (which was last week actually), the person was unable to see the unhealthiness of their relationship clearly. Why? This piece explains it perfectly: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/why-didnt-you-just-leave_n_5805134.html

She made her confused. Not angry, not scared..just confused.

She blurred the lines between hero and abuser by allowing Ana to be wooed and abused at the same time. He saves her from being hit by a bike, he kisses her passionately. And then he hits her.

She made toying with someone look like its just part of being in a relationship. It’s okay to tell someone exactly what to eat, be extremely critical of someone’s life, buy them a computer specifically for the purposes of being able to contact them as long as you bring a nice gift after to make up for it, right?

She did not plant any truth-speaking friends in Ana’s life. At no point in time (based on the description), did any of Ana’s friends encourage her to get out of her relationship with Christian. The author had NOONE in her life encouraging her to leave. This leaves much room for her to normalize the relationship between Christian and Ana without rebuke, and secondly, gives the reader the impression that if no one is questioning the relationship, then it must be okay. It couldn’t possibly be that she had surrounded herself with weak-minded people?

There is a scene shortly after Christian and Anastasia meet, where Ana expresses that she does not feel beautiful enough for Christian to be interested in her. What an interesting platform for this relationship, and actually so accurate to a real abusive relationship. Generally speaking, women in abusive relationships genuinely do not believe that they deserve better. As such, they believe that if they continue to try hard to create intimacy in their relationship, the abuser will change, or the abuse will stop (ps. they don’t call it abuse- it’s usually called hitting, or deserved punishment for bad behaviour.)

This is NOT a GREY issue. By definition, the color grey is defined as a neutral color between black and white. Are we to become neutral (sometimes i feel like saying neutered instead of neutral) on abuse as well? Heaven knows that we have become neutral on all sorts of things today that  should EVER be neutral about. Are we willing to throw abuse against women into the mix as well? 

I do not present these arguments or these questions to you as rhetorical. I literally mean that you have opportunities in your life to do something to stop this movie, and to stop abusive. Here are a few very short suggestions:

1) Do not buy, watch or encourage others to buy or watch this movie/book.

2) You may sign this petition to boycott the movie: https://actright.com/petition/122

3) Speak to women and men in your life who are in broken relationships. Talk to them, encourage them, walk with them.

It’s actually very interesting and horrific. IF the author wanted to depict the realities of an abusive relationship, she did a bang up job. The fact that she did so to make money, under the guise of sexy and NBD, makes HER BOOK abusive to women. So congratulations, E.L James, your book and now movie is in and of itself an abuse to women. You are now preying on young, vulnerable women, NOT Christian. You are now teaching them to stay, NOT CHRISTIAN. You will be held responsible one day for making the world ONE MORE deeper shade of grey and making it a more confusing place for my children.

As a mother, I am angry at you. As a human being, I feel sad for you, and will pray for your soul.

A balanced, description of the book can be read here: http://www.thebookspoiler.com/Spoilers/50Shades.html 

Unfortunately, there is no way to write a description of the book without being graphic unless you want it to be completely innacurate like I did above. So please read the description with caution as it is disturbing.

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4 thoughts on “The Shades are black and white, people.

  1. Great article Ruth!! I always admire your boldness in speaking truth.

  2. Janelle says:

    I’ve never read the book, nor do I plan on seeing the movie. You’ve just confirmed what I’ve already heard, plus some. Why did she even do it? What’s sad is that she has made money and fame out of it, and people keep on buying and reading this…

  3. A says:

    wow Ruth, thanks so much for writing this! 😀

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