I’m posting this as I’ve been involved in several on-line discussions about the film and I wanted to make my own views perfectly clear before I bow out of any further discussions on the subject. I’m not stopping talking about it because I don’t care, quite the opposite in fact. I care too much because I was in a relationship which was emotionally abusive. It’s hard enough for me to watch the publishers, film company and the author dismiss the visible problems with the way they are marketing Fifty Shades without having people I like and care about do the same.
I am not saying that people can’t read the book or watch the film. I wouldn’t presume to censor their lives. What I do wish is that they would listen to what people who have experienced emotional abuse – and find the dismissal of them highlighting the abuse within the books and film as “it’s BDSM stop being a prude” upsetting and hurtful – have to say.
I realise that, most of the time, the dismissive reactions of those who enjoyed the book or film are mostly generated by the fear that, because they did enjoy it, it would make them a bad person if they accepted that it was actually abuse. It doesn’t. But dismissing the issue as people not understanding the difference between sexual fantasy and reality isn’t helping. Because, guess what, THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE DOING!
We’re not objecting to the story being told, we’re objecting to how it’s being presented.
If the marketing people and EL James had acknowledged that it was an unhealthy relationship, that the “BDSM” was merely a mask for Christian Grey’s abuse of Ana then I wouldn’t be shouting, I’d be cheering. Because we need more of a spotlight on this form of abuse which is insiduous, easily hidden and very, very hard to walk away from.
But they haven’t. They’ve done what every abuser does. They’ve said Christian’s actions are romantic, they’ve said it’s out of love, they’ve tried to make out that the people who are raising these points are crazy, overreacting, fools who should be ignored and isolated. AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SICK.
I don’t want to stop people enjoying what they enjoy, but just because you enjoy something doesn’t automatically mean it’s good or acceptable. So please, please don’t ignore the people who are speaking up just because it makes you uncomfortable. Unpack the discomfort, analyse it, learn!
No one deserves to have a partner acting towards them the way Christian Grey does to Ana. No one should be made to think that it’s okay. But by hand waving the issue to make yourself feel better, you’re doing just that. You’re telling victims of such abuse they don’t matter, that they’re wrong.
Well that’s what I hear, anyway. And it hurts.