There is that tinge of shame when I scroll through Facebook lately and see the stones being thrown to the 50 Shades of Grey movie. “Boycott!” urge the titles. “Stop Pornography!” To which I say, yes. Please. Stop it.
I read the articles of damnation, the strong language in blogs with phrases like “stylized sexual violence” and “abuse” and “twisted.” I get it. And I was there only months ago.
The mental judgments came automatically. Never. I will never read that crap. It wasn’t something I declared publicly, it was more of a quiet resolve because actually, I know much on the subject of sexual addiction. A subject I take seriously.
Until the first trailer came out and a single phrase wouldn’t let me rest: “You’re the one who’s changing me,” Christian said.
Aw, come on, I thought with the eye-roll of a teenager. That sounds…like a story…worth reading. But it’s, you know, erotica, which clicks off the tongue like a sin and is not a genre I have ever, ever read. Like, ever.
So I did what I had to do. Cautiously and with copious amounts of trepidation I lifted the book jacket with the silver, textured tie. Two weeks later I finished the last chapter in the series. I know. I can hear your gasps of fright, but just bear with me for a minute.
Here’s the problem I’m finding with these well-intentioned bloggers who want everyone to donate to women’s shelters and scream with tear-stained compassion to save the generations, many of them haven’t read the books.
Since I have, I’ll give you my perspective. It might just be one you haven’t heard.
It’s Not About the Sex
I’m. Serious. In a fierce wrench of irony, this story is about abuse, freedom, and redemption. (Are you gasping again? You’re even covering your mouth with one hand, aren’t you?) Did you know that most addictions start from childhood exploitation? That the cycle of bullying and shame lead a person to try to survive in any way that will allow them to escape the pain of what they’ve endured? Meet Christian Grey. A very wounded man who was objectified first, then finds a woman who opens him to an emotion he’s never allowed himself to feel- love.
“The image of a powerful man who’s really still a little boy, who was horrifically abused and neglected, who feels unworthy of love from his perfect family and his much- less- than- perfect girlfriend…” – Anastasia Steele
I’d even go so far as to say this is an example of the kind of love we’re called to exhibit.
“And it strikes me like a thunderbolt- that’s what he needs from me- unconditional love.” – Anastasia Steele.
It Isn’t a Perfect Story
Duh. You may be completely uncomfortable with all the bombings. The F-kind. You might not be able to read the types of scenes E.L. James orchestrates because you know what it will do to your heart, or rather, your crotch. Great, have boundaries. I’m all about boundaries. I came across plenty that could be triggering to someone who’s a victim or recovering from addiction and it matters. Tread carefully, be aware when reading, and if you find yourself in a real relationship that is unsafe well, run like hell.
Are there ways other than blindfolding to speak the truth of love? Obviously.
Could she have left out all that sex? Yeah.
Was it a little codependent? In the end.
What The Characters Taught Me
“And now here you are- brave and strong…giving me hope. Loving me after all that I’ve done.”
“I’ve avoided intimacy for so long- I don’t know how to do this.” -Christian Grey
There is hope for those who have lost their way. Sure, we all make our choices and some of them have grave consequences, literally. Selfless love, however is powerful enough to bring the darkest of circumstances to light. The deepest of scars to healing. Christian had to face his demons, do the work, and stretch himself consider change that made him more authentic. Anastasia had to ask herself if she could love him through the process.
I suppose if I’m being this honest I can say that I have had to ask the same questions. Do I want authenticity in the face of pain, shame, failure? Yes. When my relationships fall short, wound me, need forgiveness, am I willing? I want to be.
Know Why Society is in a Tizzy
I was raised to be fearful. “Don’t let your lips touch alcohol! Don’t utter a single disrespectful swear word! Don’t even think it,” they’d say at a whisper. These can be helpful principles. Instead, it left me disconnected to the extreme that I was afraid of anyone who didn’t believe the same as me. Of four-letter words that frankly, some situations call for.
I often think of the adulterous woman in the New Testament who was dragged naked to Jesus’ feet. Or Solomon, who was likely a sex addict himself with all those concubines, and didn’t hold back a racy few poems in the Songs. Or David, who was a murderer that needed the sultry legs he saw on top of the veranda. Truth tells me God uses the broken, the damaged, “the bottom of the barrel sinner” (as in all of us who know we need grace). Fear can keep us from coming eye to eye with people who need to know they aren’t alone.
This is not some sort of have-to-it’s-the-absolute-best-book kind of rant. Maybe you’ve read all you want to know from this post and I respect that. I also support all manner of efforts to cease pornography. With nearly $3 billion dollars a year in revenue and the average age of exposure at eleven, it’s an epidemic that is ruining our marriages, culture, our souls. It alters brain chemistry, for goodness’ sake. Perhaps we should consider 24,000,000 adult internet sites combined with the accessibility of smartphones which lends me to think, this single movie may not be the ultimate tipping point.
The movie, I have not seen. I may never see it nor am I condoning that it’s a good way to spend your time. You’ll have to decide that for you.
What I am saying is this is a shockingly moving story of the power of unconditional love and healing.
Oh and that women’s shelter? Let’s give whether we see the movie or not.