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When ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ came out 3yrs ago, I heard whispers about it through the grapevine. I originally thought that it was about homosexuality because of the words in the title, “shades of grey,” and then someone told me, “No, it is about a man who has a sex dungeon.” unsure emoticon So then I had the desire to find out what all of the hype was about, but never got around to it.
When the film came out last month, I read a few reviews before going to see it. The BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) community said that the movie doesn’t truly represent them and seems to represent domestic violence. I follow a lot of women’s rights groups and pretty much ALL of them have complained about the film, even encouraging women to boycott it due to what they perceive to be domestic violence. However, being that I am from the LGBTQ community, I know what it’s like to engage in relationships and/or sexual relations that more mainstream people can’t quite seem to understand. So I decided to research BDSM, watch the film, then decide for myself whether or not the movie was harmful. However, after viewing the movie, I still can’t say that I fully understand whether or not the line between what is domestic violence and what is the BDSM lifestyle got crossed. One thing I thought to myself for sure was, “My, my, my, isn’t human sexuality such a complex thing! Wow, that was a lot of kink!”
From beginning to end…
The drama begins when Anastasia, a Senior in college, goes to interview billionaire, Christian Grey for the school’s newspaper. Mr. Grey was very intrigued by Anastasia’s virgin-like innocence. Spoiler alert: It turned out that she was actually a virgin. So anyway, he was intrigued by her and they began a courtship. Well, there is pretty much nothing else that you really need to know about her. Mr. Grey had the most character development!
Mr. Gray had a tragic past, one of physical and sexual child abuse, before and after he had been a adopted as a child. As a matter of fact, he had been introduced to “the lifestyle” by an older woman at the young age of 15. At 15, he had served as the “submissive” for an older woman. Since then, he had never had a “normal” relationship with a woman. In his purely sexual relationships, he became the “dominant,” presenting his sexual partners with a contract that clarified their roles and rules, as well as all the different sexual positions, toys, etc., that the woman would be willing to have used on her.
So after presenting a flabbergasted Anastasia with this information, what occurs is what I like to call the “Beauty and the Beast” theme. She was able to change him! He went against protocol and had sex with her without having her signing the contract, even in the “playroom.” One reason that he ended up breaking some of his rules about sex was that he wanted to give her more sexual experience so that she might have knowledge of what she liked and didn’t like. He basically fell in love with her and ended up breaking more of his rules. They became a couple, went out on dates, and had a budding romance. He even decided to share a bed with her and take her home to meet his family.
My opinion: I think their relationship had elements of control and possessiveness that you would NORMALLY see in a domestic violence relationship. A lot of the film reviews mentioned concerns about stalking, jealousy, control, and possessiveness. Mr. Grey always knew or found out where she was, and he popped up uninvited and unexpectedly. However, I saw that she did tell him no, she expressed her opinion freely, and he respected her opinions as well as her “No.”
I was concerned about the boundaries in the relationship. Anastasia was really confused and the boundaries were unclear, despite them negotiating his dom/sub contract. The actual “rules” of the relationship hadn’t really been defined for either of them. At one point in the movie, she cried because she couldn’t touch him. In another scene, she cried after Mr. Grey put her over his knee and spanked her, then had to leave unexpectedly.
The BDSM play and the sex dungeon itself, is not necessarily domestic violence. BDSM role-playing is not always harmful, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. A huge problem came in the relationship of Christian Grey and Anastasia, because she had no real clue what she was getting into. However she was willing to explore it with him. Mr. Grey always asked Anastasia if he could engage in the BDSM play before they did. Afterwards, he asked if she liked it and wanted more. She enjoyed rough sex, getting spanked, and being tied up, but she was horrified by the thought of receiving a real beating from Mr. Grey.
Most of the time, she did enjoy being “controlled” and “punished,” until at the very end when she asked him to show her the “worst.” At the end she told him she was done and walked away from him. Then the movie went off. The End. No really, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering if it was really the END!
#FiftyShades #BDSM #FiftyShadesOfGrey #domesticviolence #kink