Some young women lament how it is difficult to find a guy who wants more than just a sexual relationship, but in some cases it is women who want more than just plain “vanilla,” a term used in the popular book series “Fifty Shades of Grey” to refer to traditional sexual behavior.
This Valentine’s day, a film of the erotic and best-selling novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” written by E.L. James, will be premiering in theaters. While fans are anticipating how the twisted sex scenes will all play out, others are uneasy about young teens reading the trilogy or watching the film.
The storyline itself has elicited controversy; some readers see the premise of the novel, which is based on BDSM (Bondage/Discipline and Sadism/Masochism; a relationship in which the two play either dominant or submissive), as a form of pornography — while others see a much deeper meaning behind the dark romance between the owner of the “Red Room of Pain” Christian Grey, and innocent college student Anastasia Steele.
Many have refused to read the book because they believe that it is pornography and they say the films trailers only confirm their beliefs. Fans of the novels, however, say it’s okay to talk openly about the idea of erotic fiction.
“I haven’t read the book but from the movie’s preview, he [Christian Grey] treated her [Anastasia Steele] aggressively leading to what looked like torture,” a junior who asked to remain anonymous said. “But she welcomed it with open arms.”
However, Christian Grey reassures Anastasia Steele that she may pick and choose her limits beforehand with a “safe word” if she feels that she cannot endure anymore. If Steele were to use the safe word, Grey would immediately stop. Steele must also respect Grey’s “hard limits” such as never touching his chest.
Throughout the novel, readers see Christian Grey evolve from a dominant who seeks a beautiful brunette to submit herself to his lifestyle and 50 shades more. Critics of the film are offended either because they believe it promotes domestic violence, or because the woman is participating in a seemingly degrading relationship.
Being a dominant who practices control in all things goes beyond the typical sexual relationship for some, but is that so wrong?
While the book itself is referred to as a “provocative romance,” the message that it sends can be interpreted in several ways. Many have related it to sadism and masochism, while others cling to the idea of a sad man who needs “hearts and flowers.”
“I think it’s dark and mysterious,” junior Julianne Tran said. “There are a lot of things Mr. Grey doesn’t elaborate on and it leaves a sad side to him that he only seems to show to Steele.”
Many would argue that the book romanticizes domestic abuse and could potentially influence young people to believe that the behavior throughout “Fifty Shades of Grey” is normal. However, blogger Jenny Trout, author of the “Jealous Hater Book Club,” says that James claimed to have been “freaked out” when allegations that her book contained abuse surfaced and that these accusations would actually demonize those who enjoy the BDSM lifestyle.
The sexual preferences of a dominant and submissive relationship do not necessarily relate to abuse, but having a “dom” of a relationship may suggest to some that it is right to victimize the submissive. BDSM typically refers to two consenting adults who mutually enjoy this type of role playing.
In the novel, Grey says to Steele, “There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other.”
While disagreement remains whether or not Grey’s lifestyle is just a form of BDSM or actual abuse, most people agree there’s nothing wrong with having different tastes.
“Some people like to try new things; there’s nothing wrong with a BDSM relationship,” sophomore Eurasia Williams, who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” said. “If a fictional character that the reader falls in love with does it [BDSM], it might influence them.”
Is “Fifty Shades of Grey” a twisted love story or an excuse to make others believe domestic violence isn’t all that bad? It must be a matter of taste, but if the number of weeks — 137 — that the novels have remained on the best-seller list is any indication, fans will be flocking to the theaters on Valentine’s Day.