The Fifty Shades of Grey franchise has been no stranger to controversy since it was first released in 2011. The movie is getting a higher rate of protests from religious groups leading up to its release last week.
The book describes an explicit BSDM relationship between a wealthy man and a virginal college graduate in great detail. The content of the book has spawned all manner of protests from religious groups on the grounds that it is smut and also that it poses harm to real relationships. Now that the movie has been released, there are renewed protests surrounding the film from religious groups that are protesting its showing in major cinemas. Juli Slattery, one of the authors of Pulling Back the Shades does not approve of the triology’s message: “It’s normalizing sexual immorality and sexual sin to the point that Christian women are passing around the books,” Slattery said.
Glorifying Domestic Violence
One of the reasons that this film has gotten so much negative publicity is the way that it approaches the relationship between the two main characters. Among some of the more unusual aspects of their relationship is a contract that binds the female character to never speak about the nature of their BSDM relationship. That is why some people, like Lynn Stevens, have claimed that the film glorifies in a relationship that amounts to domestic violence. Stevens is a member of We Are Cherished Ohio, a group that promotes the Christian message to women in the sex industry, as well as an advocates against domestic abuse.
She worries that people have come to idolize the type of man that Christian Grey, the wealthy domineering businessman, is in the books and film. Simply, Stevens describes him as a man who abuses and manipulates women. This is being mistaken for romance, and is being purveyed on Valentine’s Day, which is supposed to epitomize care and intimacy.
Lynn Stevens is not the only person that is taking aim at the new film. Several protests have been mounted online in an attempt to get women to spend their money on women’s shelters instead of the film in a protest called “50 Dollars Not 50 Shades.” While the leader of this protest, Natalie Collins, is not necessarily concerned about the sexual content, it is the stalking, skulking, and abusiveness that Grey exhibits that has her concerned. She believes that the suggestion that a man with such horrible tendencies towards other people can be looked upon positively is a mistake.
Ok, signing off with this image again… A page folded down for every instance of abuse in the Fifty Shades trilogy: pic.twitter.com/EUdq8b5KfN
— 50 Shades is abuse (@50shadesabuse) February 15, 2015
However, there are more conservative religious protests against Fifty Shades of Grey that are spreading a more severe message. The American Family Association has denounced the film as “evil”, and says that it can have a severe lasting effect on people who watch it.
While it is obvious that the protests will not die down for weeks to come, the effects that the film have on audiences and the industry as a whole will take some time to determine.
The film broke Valentine’s Day weekend box office records by racking up $81.7 million in ticket sales.