3 reasons you should boycott the Fifty Shades of Grey film

Image via the6thsiren on Tumblr

Image via the6thsiren on Tumblr

It’s not long until Fifty Shades of Grey releases in the cinemas, and although you may be considering going to see it with your other half or friends for “a bit of a laugh”, there are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t see this film at all. If you truly don’t believe there’s anything wrong with the film or books, here are three reasons why you should give it a miss this Valentine’s Day.

It’s about abuse, not love

There is nothing romantic about domestic violence, yet Fifty Shades continues to try to convince us that stalking your partner, forcing them to do things they don’t want to, and making them feel frightened you’re going to beat “seven shades of shit” out of them (yes, that’s an actual quote from the book) is what true love feels like. There is nothing wrong with having a kinky sex life, or indeed living the BDSM lifestyle, but Fifty Shades’s interpretation of submission and domination is downright dangerous. Around two women a week are killed by either a current or ex partner. Domestic violence is a real problem and films and books like this do nothing to help solve it.

It doesn’t portray the BDSM community accurately

Want to spice up your relationship with whips and blindfolds? Fantastic! There are lots of great sex shops you can go to, experts you can speak to, and books and films which accurately portray what BDSM and kinky sex involves. Fifty Shades is not one of those films. Being dominant in the bedroom does not mean you force someone into sex – you agree what you do and don’t want to do with your partner beforehand. You lay down some house rules and agree on a safe word, if necessary. Mr Grey does not pay attention to safe words. This doesn’t just make him a bad dom, that makes him a rapist. A rapist who managed to convince a virgin girl to have sex with him, on his terms. Doesn’t sound so sexy now, does it?

There are much better, sexier films out there

Fifty Shades isn’t ground-breaking in any sense of the word. There are numerous, much better films out there that portray kinky sex the way it’s supposed to be. Secretary is a personal favourite of mine, and if you haven’t seen it, you should. James Spader, also called Mr Grey, plays a boss who likes to dominate his newest member of staff, Lee Holloway, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. It’s dark, sexy, funny, and, most importantly, it has a heart. Lee is never abused or forced to do things she doesn’t want to – she falls in love. In this film, BDSM allows the two characters to be themselves, to be free. It isn’t about a man who beats women because he’s long harboured a hatred for them.

I urge you not to go and see Fifty Shades of Grey in two weeks time. It will undoubtedly do well at the box office, and this worries me considering how poorly it demonstrates what a loving, kinky relationship should be. Fifty Shades may be marketed as ‘porn’ for women, but at its very best it’s a misguided effort to convince women to experiment more in the bedroom. Whether you’re a lady or a gentleman, never let your partner do what they want to you because society tells you to submit to their desires. That is not what a loving relationship is, and don’t let anyone, or any film, tell you differently.

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Do the Oscars prove Hollywood is mis-representing us all?

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I stumbled upon a very interesting video that talks about something called The Bechdel Test. The test goes like this: There has to be two female character in the film (with names) who talk to each other about something other than men. If the film fulfils these requirements it passes. Pretty simple and easy. I mean, most Hollywood films must pass this test with ease right? Wrong. It’s actually quite shocking to see how very little films represent women appropriately.

But this theory doesn’t only apply to women, the same can be said about gay people and other races. In fact the only people Hollywood don’t mis-represent are white men. For example, how many films are there featuring gay people where the film doesn’t just revolve around their sexuality or gender? And  in films where there are people of differing races, they’re often talking about white people. The best example of this racial issue is in The Help. The Help is about two black maids who look after a white family. Even though there are several black people in the cast, it only just passes the test because the characters are almost always talking to or about, a white person. Making the film less about the plight of black people and more about white people “solving” racism.

Now we all like to think that today’s society is far more equal than it used to be and we’re accepting of different genders, races and sexualities and yes, having films incorporating these things are good but it doesn’t mean the problem is solved. Out of nine of the Oscar nominated films talked about the video I mentioned before, only two of them pass The Bechdel Test. Two! Now, tell me if I’m wrong but last time I checked there are just as many women on the planet as there are men. So why is it so hard to have just two female characters who talk to each other about something other than men?

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Now just because a film revolves around men doesn’t make it a bad film. We’re not talking about the quality of films here and sometimes it’s necessary to have an almost all male cast and that’s fine. What the problem is is not portraying women enough in the right light. There are plenty of female-centred films but a lot of them portray women in a stereotypical way; Sucker Punch, Sex in the City and any other chick-flick film you can think of are good examples. There are quite a few LGBT films too but many of them only centre around being gay, again, there’s nothing wrong with that but would it kill to have more gay characters in every-day films? For example, Scott Pilgrim VS the world does a great job of having a gay character and not making a big deal out of it. It’s represented as being normal which is the way it should be shown. And of course the same could be said about representing other races, we need to do it more and make it less about white people patting themselves on the back.

The problem is though, Hollywood is still male dominated as almost every other big industry is. If there wasn’t an award for best actress, would women ever win best actor? Probably not. (That’s another gripe of mine too, I never called female actors actresses, that insinuates it’s a lesser role than actor). Hollywood needs to wake up and realise what audiences they’re catering too these days, they may not care but we need to show we care, otherwise things may never change.