50 Shades of Grey is not about your tired marriage

I have been bombarded this week by FB posts of friends excited about the 50 Shades of Grey movie.  These married women act as if this movie is nothing more than a boost for their tired marriage.  I rarely blog on anything to do with sex because 1) my mom reads my blog and 2)  my dad reads my blog.  But friends, I'm fired up on this one, so here's your warning - this post contains both sexual content, and curse words, if you're not game to that, stop reading - if you are then read on.



Dear suburban housewives,
50 Shades of Grey is not about your tired marriage.  This movie is about much more important matters - here are three of them:

1.  White rich men living under a different moral code than the rest of us. 

Think that's a bunch of liberal crap?  Okay, let's play a little game.  Let's change the setting of 50 Shades, to a trailer park in the deep south and Christian Grey is actually an African American young man named John.  John works at 7-11 and has a secret room in the back of his trailer.  Sexy?  Or maybe Christian Grey is actually named Jose Ramero and he lives in the projects of any major city.  He manages a McDonalds where he recently started seeing the new young cashier.  He controls which days she wears underwear and which days she doesn't.  Hot?

Make Christian, John, or Jose and my dear suburban housewife you aren't so turned on are you?  You're grossed out, and outraged.  You might actually call the police.  Why?  Because somehow we think when a rich white man controls a woman it's sexy and powerful, when a poor black man does it - its abuse.

50 Shades of Grey is not about spicing up your marriage, it's about giving your approval to the idea that whatever rich white men do with their power is hot, entertaining, and most importantly - okay.  Haven't we had enough Penn State's?  Haven't we had enough stories of local football stars gang raping girls?  I know I have. I am not interested in encouraging the rise of any more Christian Greys.

My friend posted this week that 50 Shades of Grey is 50 steps back for women. Without a doubt it is, but it's also 50 steps back to a time when the actions of rich white men were viewed through a different legal and moral lens than the rest of our society.


2.  It's about teenage girls trying to define love.  

I have two daughters that in a blink of an eye, are going to be out in the world looking for love.  This morning our devotion was from Song of Songs.  It's an awkward breakfast table read.  Using words like lover with a 9 year old makes this momma blush.  But here's the thing -  I am praying one day she finds her Lover, and he calls her, and treats her, like his Beloved.

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
~ Beloved (the woman) speaking about her Lover Song of Songs 2:4 

I pray that my girls will find great love in their life.  I pray that they will be treasured, and cherished, and loved, and that they in return will know how to equally, treasure, and cherish, and love their husbands.  I'm not so delusional as to think my daughters are going to develop their thoughts about love, and passion from the Bible.  I know I didn't - I learned it from popular media of the 80's.  
I watched the blockbuster hits of my teenage years and I dreamed of a Westley and and a pink prom dress.  I wanted a love story directed by John Hughes.  As misguided and ill informed as I may have been, my definition of love was molded in large part by Hollywood's choices during my youth.  

Young girls and teenagers will always dream of love.  There's a generation of girls today looking to Hollywood to figure out what that means.   When 50 Shades comes out next week (on freaking Valentine's Day of all days) millions of teenage girls will watch that movie and take in those images and think this is what it means to be loved.  

Just like we dreamed of this: 

They will dream of this (and that pretty much breaks my heart):  


While you might think that this movie is about you learning some new tricks to spice up a stale bedroom, what actually is happening is that a generation of teenage girls is learning that to be controlled, hurt, or hit is to be cared about.  To have your cell phone tracked is to be loved.  That the price of being in a relationship is putting up with the moody whims of an emotionally damaged person. 

I think all the women over the age of 30 who have read this book, or will go see this movie collectively owe an apology to our younger sisters.  We've sold you out for an orgasm, and we're sorry.  

3. It's about teenage boys trying to figure out how to be men:

I can't imagine the awkward pressure placed on teenage boys.  Somehow they have to figure out how to be a man - with all that comes with.  How do I court a girl?  How can I be an awesome lover?  Pair that with the fact that innately all teenagers dream of obtaining power, wealth, and respect.  Teenage boys are looking role models,  and they too are looking to society and media to find their mentors.  (I wish it wasn't that way but it is!)  

Come Feb 14 they can find power, wealth, and the sexiness that women apparently can't say no to - all wrapped up in one package - Christian Grey.  

You see ladies, while you are fantasying about having sex with Christian Grey, teenage boys across America are fantasying about being him.  When you pay your $14 to go see this movie and pack the theaters in the coming weeks - I want you to look down the row at the teenage and college aged young men who are there with their dates.  For many of them there's a length of rope and a gag out waiting in the car.  That's what women like right?  Your presence filling the theaters confirms that for them.  

As if the epidemic of 1 in 4 woman being raped in America isn't bad enough - let's teach a whole new generation of young men who are just trying to figure out what the hell it means to be a man - that control is sexy, and pain is erotic, and gagging and tying up your date in the back of your car is what Valentine's Day now means in America.