I will not be going to see 50 Shades of Grey this weekend...or on any other weekend. I wish it had never been made and I am embarrassed that something like this is being made public. I feel this way about some other movies as well...but this one particularly troubles me because it is reputed to be very explicit and extreme in its portrayal of sex while simultaneously being marketed as a film for mainstream audiences.
At least a year ago, before I'd ever heard anything about the book, I saw it in our local library's express section; it must have been newly published at the time because it was only available for a week's use. I thought the cover picture looked interesting enough and I actually assumed it was a murder mystery book because of where it had been placed on the library shelf. So I popped it into my book bag along with a few others and took it home. I got only a handful of pages in when I fortuitously heard an interview on CBC radio about a book that was generating a whole new cult following - a book that was introducing a societal shift towards written pornography for women. The person being interviewed said that this book would mark a turning point in our society. At some point during the time I listened, they mentioned the title and I realized that it was the same book I'd picked up a few days earlier.
I decided to stop reading it, and I returned it to the library that night. I didn't want to fill my head with what I understood the book to be about.
It almost seems like we are involved in some giant game of one-uppmanship in our society right now. Something is produced (written, filmed, whatever); then something else has to be made more extreme; and the competition keeps getting ramped up. And of course, in the interest of relativity and free speech and an 'anything goes as long as it feels right' attitude, heaven forbid we say anything against it.
Where is it all going to stop? When will it stop? Can we no longer find pleasure in the simple and the beautiful, the classics, the things that leave something to the imagination, the lovely that inspires us?
It says something to me that the lead male actor in the film is apparently uncomfortable with seeing himself naked on screen and that he covers his eyes during certain scenes. It says something to me that his real-life wife will not be seeing the movie despite her expressed desire to support her husband - she apparently finds it very uncomfortable to contemplate. (I wonder what their tiny daughter will have to say about it in about ten or fifteen years.) It also says something to me that the lead female actor has apparently asked her parents and other family members and friends not to watch the movie.
What does all of this say to me? It says that even the lead actors know that there's something wrong with portraying some things on screen. If even they are not comfortable, having signed on to do this thing that will earn them the big dollars, why on earth should we be comfortable with it? Why is it, other than an innate sense of violated dignity, that the two lead actors were both careful and quick to say that he always threw blankets overtop of her when they finished filming a sex scene so that she would be more comfortable?
Would you be comfortable if your daughter or sister or mother or son or brother or father were portrayed in such a manner? Really, would you be? If your answer is no, will you still go see the movie?
Why do we as a society have to be so terribly explicit and extreme in what we read or watch in order to be entertained or captivated? Why are we so sex-addicted that we need to see this played out in public? Does no one have concerns about where this is all headed? Why are we so attracted to books like Fifty Shades of Grey and the like? It's not that it's well written - in fact, I read somewhere that it is so poorly written that it makes the Twilight series read like War and Peace.
Are we not at all worried, at the very least, that young people watching this movie will be influenced in what they see as being normal, healthy relationships? I've heard this book repeatedly referred to as 'mommy porn,' but does that explain why so many teenage girls are reading it and about to watch it in the theatre? I would never want my children to view their god-given sexuality in this manner and assume this denotes a healthy relationship.
Are we not at all concerned that other people, men and women who choose to read the book or watch the movie, are filling their heads with these kinds of things? Do we think that we remain untouched by willfully inviting these things into our minds and hearts?
When will we have the courage to say 'enough is enough' and simply not put our hard-earned money towards supporting these kinds of books with our readership and these kinds of movies with our attendance?
So...call me a prude if you will but I'm not going to pick the book up again and I'm not going to be seeing the movie. There are simply so many better things to be filling my heart with.
P.S. It's a day later and I was just reading the morning paper...apparently the male lead in this movie plans to "flee the country" after film promotion is done, and he confirmed that he understands why his wife doesn't want to see it. I guess he really isn't comfortable with what he's done. Can't say I disagree with him...just wish he'd thought this through a little earlier.