I really don’t have time to spare to write this blog today. I have interview blogs that are due, client consultations to send out, not to mention a ton of family, home, and business responsibilities to attend to…plus a brain shattering toothache, and yet here I am. Why? Because this is… vital…and more overdue than any of that. And because I cannot stay silent any longer.
WARNING: I rant, I curse, I tell it like it is.. or at least how I see it.... and I am unapologetically long winded and verbose.
I have posted my fair share of disgusted comments about ’50 Shades of Grey’, shared articles about how it is not romantic, sexy, nor a fairy tale, nor high voltage fantasy but is actually the glamorization of abuse.
I have turned down paying gigs to review this movie, to write Valentine’s Day articles and columns with Shady Grey overtones. I refused. Trust me – this aching tooth, my car loan etc, could’ve used the not so spare check BUT … there is no price on my soul, or heart, or conscience. End of story. ( I will add here that as a freelancer/self-employed gal, I have that luxury and many who review for periodicals etc did not have that freedom to dodge this crapfest movie.)
In turn I have been chastised on Twitter that ‘it is fantasy’ – as if that negates the violence, the infliction of pain, the stalking, the control, the abuse.
I have been called a prude, told to lighten up, informed that I am not the target demographic audience for the movie so I don’t get it…. THAT one gave me pause since this movie was industry dubbed as ‘mommy porn’, and I doubt the original targeted viewers were the same virginal twenty-something as the movie’s female lead….
I have been told I clearly was not a feminist while others said I was too much of one to be open to this movie….
Here’s the deal… I am neither as old as some think, nor perhaps as young as others think, certainly not naive, FAR from a prude, and the only label I will accept is ‘human being’.
This – my opinion – of this book and film – does not stem from being sexually closed minded, anti-BDSM or any such. None of that is my business. I strongly feel that everyone has what flips their switch, curiosities, and interests and is entitled to partake therein with CONSENTING adults… not coerced, threatened, controlled, pressured, or intimidated, but CONSENTING adults. I point that out, as I recently read statistics on how many rapists went free because victim testimony honestly stated that they did indeed stop struggling against their attacker (which was then accepted as no longer being force/rape) …once a gun was to their head, and/or their children or spouse were threatened. Coercion and intimidation is force. That clear and that simple.
Asked years back if I accepted gay clients, my response was a blunt ‘I really don’t care who you are f***ing as long as it is mutually and truly consensual’. I do not need to understand or share your desires. I think the female body is a stunning and wondrous thing (they are fairly gorgeous AND can – if one so chooses – be a vital part to making little humans… fairly cool apparatus… just saying) but I don’t have any lesbian interest. By the same token, I can be interested in men just as much as gay male friends of mine are, and my interest and desires are STILL different from theirs, because I have different anatomy, needs, wants etc. You can like blindfolds, groove on pain (personally no I do not – I cuss worse than I will be in this blog when I drop something on my foot let alone at the mere concept of a whip), want someone else in full control, etc etc ..whatever does it for YOU is for you.. and truly is not for me to even HAVE an opinion on. What DOES matter to me – and what IS romanticized in the 50 Shades franchise - is abuse.. of power, of body, of sexuality.
“Oh were you abused? Is that why this movie triggers you?”
“Is it because you have daughters?”
“Are a woman?”
NOOOOOOOOOOO. Dear Lord… is dumbfuckery SO rampant??? Are people SO intent on not facing their own fears, so determined not to look at why they react to things as they do, that they do not see the bottom line????
SO to be clear…
This movie does not trigger me. This movie appalls, disgusts, saddens, and angers me.
Because I am a human being.
One need not have been abused, nor free from abuse, male, female, old, young, straight, gay, into S&M, BDSM, tantric sex, well versed and practiced in the kama sutra, or are just very ‘vanilla’ in their tastes … to be HORRIFIED at this movie and book.
A woman (of any age though young in this movie), SO desirous of the affluent, hot man’s attention, affection, glamorous lifestyle – will do and embrace ANYTHING to achieve it. How the fuck is that empowering? Equal? Safe? Non-abusive? How is it not prostituting oneself? How is his stalking not TERRIFYING? That is not romantic loving adoring attention – that is control and intimidation. That is the controller’s fear of losing their subject to others’ input, opinions, attention. That is abuse. Control and isolation to keep abusing.
I have heard how she is an empowered young woman – heroine even – as she has him so besotted with her, so taken by and grateful for her servitude, that he starts to indeed emote and not just control for sexual gratification. No! That is her using her sexuality as a tool – a manipulative weapon – to keep him as hers and her as his for as long as she can…and she has her level of tolerance/price she is willing to pay for that. Is she empowered or SO conditioned and groomed by culture and her insecurities that she feels THIS is her only tool, her only way to gain his attention, love… to bed and wed him??!
She lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvves him. Nope. Post orgasmic euphoria and the addiction thereof is not love. The relief and happiness that comes with the illusion of security from being in a relationship, from pleasing someone & therefore getting a reward and acceptance (in any form) is not love.
I am NOT saying that all good romances, let alone sexual liaisons have to be fueled from love to be healthy or successful. Not at all. Romance can be affection, mutual respect and friendship and a million other ingredients. Sex can be lust plain and simple or it can be from other sources and causes (hopefully still heavily laden with the passion bit). Just NOT for control, not for venting one’s own pain and issues, not getting off on another’s misery and pain.
When the BDSM community has protests, rightfully upset that 50 Shades says Grey is like this because he ‘had a rough start in life’, it depicts the desire for BDSM to stem from trauma, pain, inner brokenness. So my issue and that of many is NOT anti-BDSM if that is what does it for you AND your partner.
It is fine.. awesome…common, NORMAL.. to love someone who is scarred, a mess, broken, shattered even. We All have scars, flaws, and past trauma to varying degrees. To justify or negate them therefore ‘paying it forward’ in control, dominance, and inflicting physical pain, is NOT ok.
Tell me… If there were sounds of abuse (yelling, struggle, screams) from the apartment next door, and you went to check and see if everyone was ok or needed help… and the guy comes to the door and says ‘I was abused as a child – Daddy beat me, Aunty Beth touched me in private places – so yeah I am beating the shit out of my wife’ – would you then say ‘oh ok Man, I hear ya… no worries…’ and feel he was JUSTIFIED? You damn well better not! But if you think Christian Grey is a romantic, sad broken little boy in a hot adult male body being romantic – THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING!
Our current day culture lives in such a dichotomy about sex. On the one hand it is EVERYWHERE. Preteens are having sex, kids younger than that want to look ‘hot’, it is in every ad from cars to condoms, travel to taxes, food to furniture….There is so much of it in image, song lyrics, TV, movies, media…there are bare asses threatening to break the internet, debates over teen boob jobs, provocative selfies covering Instagram and Facebook that look like the submission desk at Hustler…anything goes…everyone is free to sexually flaunt… EVERYWHERE. Monica Lewinsky has become a verb, Beyonce has gone from being merely bootylicious to now drunk in love all over her kitchen and the back of a limo and that is fine but… now we all know, hear, and sing along to it. (Not me – I don’t sing). Supposedly we are more open, empowered – both sexes, any orientation or proclivity ….yet…
Yet - at the same time – there is more shame and crime and abuse linked to sex than ever before. Now if a woman dresses in a short skirt, or bares her ‘torso’ on Sports Illustrated, she is empowered and being herself… unless she is attacked or shamed and then she was asking for it and being a slut. If a woman chooses to be responsibly yet actively sexually ‘sociable’, she is not equally in charge of her sexuality and body as a man doing the same, but she is a slut.. promiscuous, must be drunk or depressed or angry and acting out. Must hate men, overly love men. Maybe she just wants to get laid!
If a woman talks about sex, people get embarrassed or she is a feminist (not a bad thing at all – shhh… hear me out)… feels women are superior. MAYBE just maybe, she is a human being with a healthy body that has a phenomenal system for pleasure as well as relaxation and other physical and emotional benefits….Maybe she is actually ‘old fashioned’ in her preferred gender roles and LIKES making dinner for her husband and wearing his favorite color lace to bed for him each night. Maybe she LOVES being a woman SO much at least partially because of how it allows her to connect with and please her partner… and herself. (One young actress recently got slammed for saying such anti-feminist things. Shame on her for loving her husband and liking taking care of him… oh yeah… and the way he takes care of her in turn as well. But please, let’s jump all over her, shame her, force an apology so she can recant her true feelings to make the confused shamed sexually terrified public more comfortable!)
When something as simple as wearing a push up bra can be judged as promiscuous and at the same time be labeled as empowered, it is time to realize that neither gender, no sexual act, no preference or tendency or habit in and of itself is WRONG nor RIGHT… all that is either of those is HOW we use it.
Here is where my ‘feminist’ issue comes to play… As with ANY word or group (political, religious, philosophical, cultural etc), at some point it parts company with its true origins and meaning and it branches off into an extreme wherein people hide and use it as an excuse for their weak choices and behavior. Spelling the word ‘womyn’ does not distance you from the testosterone laden of our planet, just as not shaving one’s legs or armpits does not make you more of a feminist than some chick who maintains her Brazilian waxing routine. Valuing yourself as a woman – not making yourself the same as a man – but valuing yourself as a woman and what you bring into our world – the character traits, the strengths, even the weaknesses (that is NOT a bad word people!!!!), the physical form, the heart, the soul, the passion… when you value and respect that – THEN you are a feminist. Bashing men, emasculates them, is unfair as a generalization, and does NOTHING to further equality among humanity.
YES women are treated as less than. They are more susceptible to sexual predators and violence. This is not just a woman’s problem and a man’s blame. This belongs to ALL OF US… to humanity. Raising respectful and self respecting sons is JUST as important as raising our daughters to be strong, confident, and empowered.
The fact that women use rape as a weapon against men does nothing to further equality and feminine power. I believe EVERY single accusation of rape should be investigated thoroughly. Abso-fucking-lutely. Every rapist should be found guilty. Yes! Women should be shown how to be prudent yet not fearful. Yes! HOWEVER… we all know that for as many cases – public and those far less so – that come to focus of women raped and who were afraid to step forward at the time…there are women who know that it is hard to prove some time later and it is the best revenge tool on the planet. Just like some women use their ability to become pregnant as a manipulative device. The minority of cases? Perhaps, BUT my point is hateful, abusive, manipulative actions by ANY gender – harm, disrupt, traumatize, demoralize, and destroy… individuals, families, communities, and society at large. In case you are wondering why I give any word count space to such a minority albeit a loathsome one… this year alone I have had clients, and people much closer to me, men – be on the receiving end of false accusations of paternity, been drugged and blamed of all kinds of things later deemed to be impossible.
This brings me back to only accepting the label of ‘human being’… for I believe it take strength, compassion, love, respect, dignity of self and others, on the part of BOTH genders… to create a new way of being… it cannot just be women… it cannot just be men…. It takes all of us working together, equal but different.
Now back to that horrific abuse-fest of a movie….
E.L. James – I find it despicable that these books were written at all and especially by a woman and especially touting them as ‘women on top’/in power/empowered material. You have sold out sex, you have sold out women, men, sexual diversity, and humanity. You have demeaned those traumatized in their childhood. You have INCREASED mostly your own bank account at others’ expense via sex (that’s illegal on the street corner here in Hollywood – how about as an author?). ANYONE who depicts a woman ‘enjoying’ rape, is vile to me. It is actually even hugely damaging to those who have and are INTENSELY traumatized by reflexive pleasure response during rape which is NOT the same thing as enjoying it. But hey you carry on with your millions at others’ expense and be your ‘empowered femme’ sellout self.
To those viewing this as fantasy… There are people who fantasize about killing their neighbor, sleeping with their stepmom etc etc - that does NOT mean it is healthy nor responsible to encourage it, to glamorize it, to neutralize the dangers in it… instead of looking at why and where those urges came from in a non judging and just sorting out safe space with someone trained to do so. Cultivating a mindset in young women (or even older ones) that it is ok to be stalked, your every word, friendship, coming, going, cup of coffee, stop at the dry cleaners etc MONITORED – that that is devoted love is DANGEROUS. How many women will now just shrug off being abused and stalked by a classmate, coworker or boyfriend,husband, boss... thinking it is normal, exemplary even and they are the ones too broken to appreciate it!?!?!? Such women conditioned to accept that end up raped, abused, and more often than not – dead.
To those SO repressed and scared of their own sexuality, desires, needs, and passions that they have grown numb to more ‘moderate’ (ie non-violent) forms of TRUE seduction, lust, love, and romance… let me assure you it does NOT take pain, such extreme submission, nor (ever) isolation to be turned on, nor to turn on and please your partner.
So while I can get cute with wording and turn a phrase as well as (usually far better than) the next person with jokes and wordplay about ‘Grey’s anatomy’ and ‘being too tied up all weekend to get anything done’ etc etc… Let’s all get a grip… call an abuser, an abuser… realize that if the same behaviors were exhibited and acted on by your beer gut sloppy neighbor, or a homeless man under the pier, or someone other than an obscenely affluent white buff chisel jawed male… EVERYONE would be screaming kidnapper, stalker, rapist, abuser… instead of ‘Yeah Baby… let’s go get some duct tape and rope’.
And for the record – all I am is a rambling, over-analytical, opinionated human being that does their best to be comfortable in their own skin, heart, soul, and mind each and every day…and bakes really good cookies.
In : Society
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