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.

Let’s talk about sex more, baby

Nymphomaniac - a four hour plus long epic about sex

Nymphomaniac – a four hour plus long epic about sex

I love sex. I don’t just mean the act itself, but everything about it. I love how it binds people together. Why people have it and how they have it. Like love, sex is a lot more complicated than it first appears, but whilst people love to talk about love, sex is an entirely different matter.

You’ve had probably heard of the controversial new film, Nymphomaniac, which  follows the life of a woman who claims she is addicted to sex. Now, apparently there is no thing as sex addiction, but personally I believe you can be addicted to anything. After all, for most people, sex is such an amazing experience. It’s not hard to see why someone would do almost anything to have it, to get that rush of endorphins. What really surprises me is when films like Nymphomaniac come out, they’re always seen as controversial. We see female nudity all the time and no one blinks an eye, but real erections on the big screen? *Gasp*.

Of course the real problem that many people have with Nymphomaniac is that it doesn’t really show sex in a good light. The sex she has isn’t loving or caring – the only type of sex that is considered normal. We teach our children that mummy and daddy have sex to make children and while I agree this is the correct thing to tell very young children. We should be more frank and honest with older children and even, ourselves.

As a young adult I never really spoke about sex with my friends. I was only when I got to university that this became a widely talked about subject, and you know what? I loved it. Finally I had met people as open as me, who were happy to talk frankly about something that is, in the end, completely natural.

In fact it’s generally considered okay for men to openly talk about sex or in particular, masturbation, but not so much if you’re a woman. I have never really understood this. Indeed society tells us that men have bigger sex drives or even enjoy sex more than women, but we all know this simply isn’t true. Men masturbate and so do women, it’s just not talked about as widely – or even shown as much (unless it’s in porn for another man’s pleasure).

Fifty Shades of Grey - not the best erotica in the world, but it was a huge hit

Fifty Shades of Grey – not the best erotica in the world, but it was a huge hit

The whole world seemed to go mad when Fifty Shades of Grey rocketed to number one in the book charts and became such a huge hit with all kinds of women. Young women were reading it and older women were reading it. It almost reignited this whole revolution that women love sex too and it became acceptable, normal even, to see a girl reading erotica on the train to work. A huge number of similar books tried to profit off this popularity, but to me it is a shame that this trend didn’t seem to last for very long. Weirdly, I never did read Fifty Shades of Grey, because the sections I saw were so poorly written and too full of innuendo. See. Not only can we not talk about sex, we can’t write about it either.

There was some good news announced today that teenage pregnancy rates have declined to the lowest level seen in 40 years. Of course there is still a lot more to be done on the issue and I believe the main problem is a lack of sex education. I received okay sex education in school, but I have heard too many stories from people who had no sex education at all, or the lessons they had were very poor and taught them next to nothing. My mother is the person to praise for mine. She got books out from the library, she rented tapes and most importantly, she wasn’t afraid to talk about it. She always made it clear that I could come to her for advice, no matter how embarrassing. Whilst I haven’t always shared everything with my mum, I share an awful lot with her, probably a lot more than other people do with their parents. I think that willing to talk to someone about something that is potentially embarrassing shows that person that you trust them and love them. They may not come to you for sexual advice (I didn’t), but they’ll come to you for emotional advice, which is arguably a lot more important.

It has already been proven that better sex education leads to lower teenage pregnancy rates, but it’s possible that being more open about sex could lead to other benefits too. For example, a couple of the men I know have told me they turned to porn to learn about sex. This is potentially dangerous. Whilst I am all for porn, as it can have many benefits as well as disadvantages, it is one of the worst ways to teach young people about sex – for obvious reasons. If we were happier to talk about sex casually, children wouldn’t feel the need to turn to the internet for guidance. They may still turn to porn for entertainment, but at least they would be able to put things into context. When/if I have children, I will tackle the subject of porn when the time is right. It’s only a matter of time until they or their friends discover it exists, so surely it is best to educate them beforehand than to leave them confused.

I can only hope that the next few generations will be happier to talk about the things we get up to in the middle of the night, morning and afternoon. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s a natural instinct and one of our basic needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). Not to mention there’s a whole number of health benefits – it’s great for your body and your mental health. Even if you’re not currently having sex, masturbation can be incredibly good for you too. Of course not everyone wants to hear what you got up to last night with your girlfriend, but the next time someone bravely comes to you advice, open up and share a little. It’s only sex, wonderful sex, after all.

Are we brought up to see men in a negative light?

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Does anyone remember the phrase from their childhood: “Don’t trust boys. They’re only after one thing”? I certainly do and it’s likely it’s affected me my whole life, I just haven’t realised up until now.

Thinking about it, I have always been surprised men have emotions. It may sound strange or you may understand exactly where I’m coming from but let me explain. When listening to love songs sung and written by men, I used to find myself thinking “do men really think like that? Wow.” Or now when I see a man cry, I treat as a big deal, whereas a woman crying isn’t, because they cry all the time. I’m shocked and almost, can’t believe it. After all, we’re brought up with the notion that men are after one thing, who could have thought they could love another human being so much? When bringing up boys, it’s not unusual to skip all the emotional stuff – when they fall over, you tell them not to cry, get up and be strong whereas a girl is comforted, hugged and kissed. It’s true that girls are often more emotional than boys, a lot of this is down to hormones, so women are known to fluctuate in mood quite rapidly which men, often, do not understand. Men aren’t brought up to understand women’s emotions or menstrual cycles (which mess with our emotions quite a bit) so it’s no wonder they spend most of their lives confused about women. At the same time, girls are brought up with the idea that men are dangerous, want to force you into sex and that they’re generally bad news.

While this may be true of some teenage boys and some men, it’s not true for the majority and it seems hugely unfair for both sexes. What if inciting such beliefs led to the self-fulfilling prophecy? For those who aren’t familiar with that term, the self-fulfilling prophecy is when you tell someone they are “X” so much, they actually end up becoming it because of you. For example, if you are taught in school you’re going to fail no matter what, it can actually lead to you failing. Boys are supposed to be obsessed with sex, that’s what we teach them, so is it any wonder some turn sour? We are also taught that only boys are obsessed with sex during their teen years, not true – or else how would so many teenage pregnancies occur? We cannot possibly believe that every single girl was forced into it. No, due to those fluctuating hormones I mentioned before, girls can be just as sex obsessed (or rather, curious) as boys – they’re just not as vocal about it because they’re not allowed to be for fear of being seen as sluts.

I realise I’ve gone off on a tangent but my point is I feel as if we’re brought up to see boys and men in a negative light. Men don’t help themselves either, I’ve lost count of the amount of men who’ve judged another man’s actions on the basis of “that’s what men are like”, as if one gender follows the exact same emotional path set out before them. What I have found is that in fact, one man is very different from the next (funny that!) and that any man who says he can tell you what another man’s motivations are is a liar. But because of what men say about men, I don’t know what to believe sometimes, my boyfriend tells me things that lots of men (and women) would say is a down right lie. Now I don’t know if these things are lies or not, and unless I invent a machine that allows me to read others minds, I will never truly know. The fact that I doubt someone, just souly due to what others day is “true of all men” is sad though and I don’t think we should be brought up like this. 

Do you agree? Is it a similar case for what men learn about women? Please let me know as I’d be fascinated to learn more.

50 Shades of Grey – is it sexually liberating or encouraging abusive relationships?

Hello, I realise I haven’t written here on my blog for well over a month now and I apologise, I have been swept up writing for Geek.com and therefore haven’t had much time or brain space for an idea for this blog. However, last night a friend of mine on Twitter was making a very good point about erotic novel sensation, 50 shades of grey, and I realised it’s important for this issue to be discussed.

If you’ve been living under a rock over the past month, 50 shades of grey is an erotic novel, aimed at women about a young, innocent virgin girl who’s taken under an older man’s wing who teaches her all about the world of kinky sex. It’s poorly written and, from what I’ve read, not very sexy. But it has had a positive impact on women, many have found it sexually liberating, sales in sex toys have risen notably and more and more women have been visiting erotic novel book stores. It’s important because women tend to not be so open about sex, stores like Ann Summers have arguably made spicy sex more acceptable in normal society but it’s predominately men who are open about sex, talk about it more and it’s seen as much more normal for men to look at porn than women. 50 shades of grey, whether you enjoy it or not, has made BDSM more acceptable.

The BDSM community, those into bondage, domination, submission, sado-masochism, role-play, etc is generally not seen as normal. Everyone is a bit kinky when it comes to something, everyone has a fetish, but BDSM takes it one step further. 50 shades of grey does NOT accurately portray that community. The issue is, 50 shades depicts BDSM as a controlling, bordering on abusive relationship, anyone within that community will tell you that is not true. It’s about trust and love just like any other form of sex. 50 shades seems to say this kind of relationship is normal and desirable, it’s not and it shouldn’t be. No one should be forced to do anything inside a relationship. Most people understand this and if their partner was abusive to them, they would leave but there are some people who are easily manipulated by abusive men and women. I would hate to think someone would be stuck inside a horrible relationship because 50 shades says it’s okay.

Now that may be taking things to an extreme but it’s important to know the difference between a loving BDSM relationship and an abusive one, older readers will likely understand the difference but the younger ones reading could be susceptible to people like Mr Grey. There is nothing wrong with books like 50 shades of grey and there is no way it should be censored at all but please, do your research, be careful and don’t be afraid to ask questions before getting into such a relationship. 50 shades has done some positive things but if you want an accurate erotic novel about BDSM, this isn’t it.

Are we jealous of Samantha Brick? Not really.

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Today, a lady who writes for the Daily Mail (I’ve already ruined her reputation haven’t I?) said that it’s so difficult being beautiful because other women are so mean to her! Why? Because they’re jealous of course!

Let’s just make it clear what kind of woman this Samantha is. She’s the same woman who said she uses her sex appeal to get ahead at work and that any woman with sense should do the same. If that wasn’t bad enough she also said she was “sexually attentive” to her husband so she could go out and splurge his money on make-up and other luxury items. Well ladies and gentlemen, here is the female role model of the month. First of all, using your sexual charms to get ahead at work is just cheap, you should be moving up in the work place because you’re good at what you do, not because you flash your tits to the boss. Secondly, she treats sex with her husband like she’s a prostitute. She does it for money. Not for love or for her own, or his, enjoyment. For money. I haven’t heard anything more shameful.

Let’s get back to the current point at hand though – do women hate her because she’s beautiful? Well no they probably hate her because she uses her gender to get ahead in the work place. Now I’m not one to judge, I’m not a perfect picture myself but that face? That smile? It’s not good is it. It’s not attractive. No, if she does supposedly get attention from men like she says she does, it’s because she tries so hard to. Almost any man is going to admire a blonde in a short dress with her boobs out. That’s just a fact. Maybe they don’t even admire it, but godamn it’s distracting (even I can be distracted by cleavage and I have boobs). 

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In my experience, women who say other women hate them because they’re attractive, say it to make them feel better about themselves. Those kinds of women go out not wearing much, tits out, arse out and they take the dirty looks to mean “they must be jealous of my awesome body”. Well no, when I see a woman dressed like that I’m not jealous. I like my body thank you very much, it’s not perfect but just because it’s pretty good doesn’t mean I want to show the world that. I actually look at those women and think you must have self esteem issues or I feel ashamed on behalf of them, on behalf of my gender. If I’m genuinely jealous of a woman’s looks or body I will say so out loud because I don’t bullshit and I speak my mind. I’m honest.

So women, next time you wonder why other women dislike you, take a look in the mirror. It’s more likely to do with the way you live your life, and not your looks. My gender is a naturally jealous bunch but I’d like to think it’s not always about looks.

Sex & Gender: Why do we segregate each other?

Stereotypes are boring. Boys are tough, girls are weak, used to be the old one and now it’s apparently gone too far the other way, there are too many feisty girls and too many weak boys in stories.

So how can we win? We can’t really. Stereotypes are bad, we all know that, but when we try and get rid of those stereotypes, we end up going too far the other way. One gender is always crushed by the other at all times. Why? Aren’t we both the same underneath?

Religion and ye olde times state that males and females are suited to different roles. Females are more emotional so their “role” is to be the supportive and caring part of the family. Males are more physical so their “role” is to go out and provide for the females. We all know this standard stereotype and to some extent, it is true. Our different hormones and brains are what make us different from each other, not only physically but it also affects how we act and think. How much though can this be applied to our sex?

Men are known to be naturally more aggressive but it also completely possible to have a very passive male who would never, ever get into a fight. It is also possibly to have an extremely aggressive and violent female. Yet when these things happen it’s seen as “wrong” because it’s not the way things have happened before. Remember a few years ago when the media went nuts about girl gangs? I believe our genders are down to society and not our brains or hormones. Sure, they influence us a lot but there are any possible number of personality types and they stretch across all genders, all races, all sexual orientations. We only believe it is unnatural for a girl to be violent because in the past, when men were always dominant, women were brought up to be meek and weak. Society has changed and so has our genders.

I find it damn right insulting to be told girls should be brought up on stories about boys, make-up and clothes. I also find it equally insulting for people to insinuate boys do not have emotions. Men are just as deep as women when it comes to emotion. They may not express it as much but to claim they are shallow is insulting. We need to get past this silly idea of men should do this and women should do that. Gender shouldn’t matter. Yes, we all have instincts, animal instincts that can differ from gender to gender. Just don’t get me started on people who think men want sex more than women…