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The Mass Media

‘Fifty Shades’ of Maybe Not


When the first movie in the “Fifty Shades” series came out, it was met with a myriad of worries of how it would dangerously affect fans. 

Before I start, it should be noted that I have neither read nor watched any of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy. Not just because it is over-hyped every time it comes out, but because of the connotations and nuances behind the story of the series. I would sooner stay curious than read and watch the series. I have done my research on the books, enough to make the claims in this piece.

While many reading this are not likely to go ahead and venture into the dark nether regions of the world to find their own Christian Grey, please remember one thing: this movie is a fantasy—a sexual fantasy based off an equally steamy romance book.

Nothing like this ever truly happens in our world. In our world, Anastasia Steele would be a broken shell of a woman, submissive to every word and demand of Christian Grey. I apologize. I’m an extremist. What I mainly mean is anything stemming from a delve into that world would not end so sexily.

I’ll stick to my supernatural, sometimes trashy, romance books when I need one.

In the first movie, Christian does not allow Anastasia any play time with him until they sit down to a very dense and heavy contract. The contract contains a safe word, red, for when she needs to stop their sexy time; 21 clauses, 24 bullets, five appendices, and a list of foods she can only eat whilst in her relationship—if you dare even call it that—with Christian is also a part of the contract.

“Fifty Shades Freed” contains another contract of the like. Two, if you consider their marriage. But I must say, it is more romantic than the first contract between them since Ana has broken the steel wall around the heart of the man that once so loosely abided the contract he had her sign.

For nobody following stuff like this, when the first movie in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series came out, it was met with a myriad of worries of how it would dangerously affect fans. Experts in the field even went as far as saying Ana showed signs of a sexually abused victim. She would hide details of things that happened from others in fear for her safety.

Now, it’s being commended as portraying Ana as an icon for the #MeToo movement, following six months upon release.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how I feel about this turnaround. But that’s not my point.

If Ana really were who she grows into being by the third movie, she would realize how Christian has manipulated her from the beginning. By using her virginity against her, he teaches her only what he knows about sex. There is even at least one time in the first movie where Ana uses the safe word which Christian all but ignores.

BDSM is all about consent and comfort, and while, according to The Variety, in an article by Amy Nicholson on Feb. 9, 2018, titled “Why the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Trilogy Is an Ode to the Idea of Consent,” Nicholson says: “The movie, like every ‘Shade’ movie, has been ridiculed by critics because, frankly, girl-beds-BDSM-billionaire is a ridiculous premise, and the books are as well written as a Craigslist casual encounters post. Even fans of erotic novels seem embarrassed that this trilogy represents them to the public. The Ripped Bodice, the only all-romance bookstore in the United States, understandably refuses to discuss it.”

Frankly, I don’t understand how the entire series is an “ode to consent” so much as this one alone is in itself. The first movie was exactly the opposite, with Christian being as Ana is over him now, only more abusively so. There’s honestly nothing realistic about any of the development in these movies. Had Ana been afraid for the safety of her life in any instance regarding Christian in the first movie, she wouldn’t be marrying him and christening their office tables two movies later. Because, well, there wouldn’t be two more movies.

Amid the Valentine’s Day frenzies surrounding “Fifty Shades Freed” this year, just be careful with yourself: close that Craigslist tab and write yourself into your own steamy fantasy romance novel if you must. This world is full of bad people as well as it is good people. And for as much as you may wish you were Anastasia Steele, not every Anastasia Steele finds their Christian Grey.