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Fifty Shades of Grey: Glamorizing Domestic Violence

Fifty Shades of Grey burst upon the popular novel scene brazenly. Readers, mainly women, across America delved into the salacious tome, often surreptitiously, vicariously experiencing the seduction of the heroine, Anastasia Steele, by the kinky millionaire, Christian Grey. The screen adaptation of this best-selling novel is slated to be released on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, across America. Fifty Shades of Grey is anticipated to be one of 2015’s largest movies, with observers predicting a US opening of over $60 million. However, not all women are growing weak in the knees, eagerly waiting the film’s release.

Domestic violence campaigners are calling upon movie goers to boycott the film. Advocates for domestic violence victims believe that the dollars spent upon movie tickets, babysitters, and concessions would serve a greater purpose if used to support women’s shelters and domestic violence programs. Advocates label the heroine of the film as a victim.

Dirty little confession time, dear readers. This writer read the first novel in the trilogy, penned by EL James, spurred by the public frenzy. I too would classify the starry-eyed female protagonist as a victim. Life, unfortunately, is not a romance novel, even a provocative one. Real women do not live “happily ever after” with their “masters” who succumb to their feminine innocence. Real women find themselves in domestic violence shelters and emergency rooms, protesting that they “fell down the stairs” or “hit their head on the door”. Violence escalates; moving from the “discipline” described in James’ novel to broken bones and damaged psyches. These women are objectified and considered subservient by their abusers. Their humanity is stripped from them, along with their human rights. They perceive themselves as somehow less than their abusers; they blame themselves for the violence heaped upon them. James’ novel elevates violence against women a glamorous and titillating. The film based upon her book will perpetuate the objectification of women, giving domestic violence a stamp of approval.

The myth of consenting behavior is just that, a myth. In an appallingly short amount of time, the psychological damage perpetrated upon the victim becomes inherent within them. They believe that they “deserve” what is happening to them. Many believe that the outbursts of violence prove how much their abuser loves them. Much like innocent Anastasia.

The #50dollarsnot50shades campaign is backed by the US National Centre on Sexual Exploitation, Canada’s London Abused Women’s Centre, Stop Porn Culture, Antipornography.org,and numerous other similar organizations. Organizers stated, ““People are really upset about this movie and its potential for glamorizing stalking and abusive behaviour, so they’re happy to have the chance to do something positive to help offset the damage.”

So what say you, ladies. Are we willing to continue the exploitation of women and girls, glamorizing domestic violence? Or will we take a stand, spending the dollars we would have spent at our local movie theaters to aid the victims of domestic abuse?

This writer will be donating the funds to a local shelter for abused women. And by the way, I am really glad I didn’t purchase the book, borrowing it from a friend.

Fifty Shades is a horror novel, masquerading as a fairy tale. Let’s unmask it.

Featured image: Youtube screen capture

Hannah Hochstetler is currently chasing a degree in Creative Writing and Philosophy. She has had work published in the literary magazines, "Meat for Tea: The Valley Review", "The Carillon", and "Exposed". Hannah is a passionate progressive, trapped in the middle of a red state!
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