“Today there is no day or night / Today there is no dark or light / Today there is no black or white / only shades of gray…”
The book and film apparently glorify what would legally be considered rape, where Mr. Grey takes advantage of an innocent girl and forces her to do things against her will. Many people are upset about this book (and now a movie) which makes this desirable and appealing to women.
But it is. That’s the problem. There are many women who love this book and its sequels and are dying to see this film. Who am I to criticize them for what they find sexy and attractive?
I mean, come on, there’s plenty of pornography out there that appeals to our worst instincts — things that make me go “What the hell? Who would ever find that sexy?” but clearly someone does or they wouldn’t be making it. It’s not my job to tell people they can’t watch porno made by consenting adults doing things I would never in a million years find sexy.
…But that stuff doesn’t get financed by the major studios and shown in theaters. It doesn’t show up on the New York Times bestseller lists.
So dammit, I am confused. Someone likes this and wants to see the film and read the books. No one is forcing them to like it; they really do like it. I don’t want someone judging what I like and telling me I shouldn’t like it. Someone has this fantasy for whatever reason.
There have been plenty of right-wing groups that protest whenever a film has a gay love scene, because they disapprove of it. I certainly don’t want to be like those guys, who want to censor things that don’t match their personal views.
On the other hand, I also don’t think we should let people think this is acceptable behavior. Mr. Grey is clearly the Bad Guy here. The problem is that he isn’t being portrayed as one; instead, some women desire him. Many women, based on book sales.
Sometimes literature is about bad guys and might be told from their point of view. That doesn’t mean we are supposed to agree with them. There have been stories where people get mistreated terribly. That doesn’t mean the person telling the story thinks that is a good thing.
So I’m torn between my dislike of bad messages (and bad writing) and my desire to not censor or criticize what others might want to see.
I think the most important thing to do is to say, “This is a fantasy. In real life, this would be legally rape” — but I would never stand in the way of those who want to see it anyway.