Popular film and book series promotes harmful practices
March 2, 2015
By: Julie Ratcliffe
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa- The film “50 Shades of Grey” earned $81.7 million dollars its opening weekend and sold over 100 million copies of the book worldwide. This success is followed by some controversy. Film and literature fans alike are not pleased and the franchise has come under fire by many critics. Publications like the The Atlantic and organizations like American Family Association claiming it’s glorifying an abusive relationship.
The book features a young, recent college graduate, Anastasia Steele who finds herself in a relationship with a self-made business man, Christian Grey. The twist enters as Christian revels his unusual taste for dominance in the bedroom.
The story features BDSM which is a sexual practice that includes bondage, domination, sadism and masochism, when practiced correctly, is considered a healthy expression of sexuality. In the movies and books some aspects of their relationship are seen as unhealthy and controlling. Anastasia often feels uncomfortable with some situations she is put in but says nothing because she is intimidated or is shot down by Christian. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape Spokeswoman says, “The film romanticizes the significant imbalance of power between Christian who is older, experienced and wealthy and Ana, who is young, inexperienced and not wealthy. Christian uses that imbalance to manipulate, coerce and silence Ana.” This imbalance of power creates an unsafe environment for Ana.
The franchise is consumed by a mass audience and influences them to behave similarly to the characters. The weekend after the film’s release a Chicago college student was arrested for assaulting another student as he tried to re-enact scenes from 50 Shades of Grey. According to police reports he continued to hit the victim, who was bound to his bed, even after she repeatedly asked him to stop. This franchise can be harmful to those who use the information from the book incorrectly.