Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Dear Christian Grey: Go away.
Dear E.L. James, creator of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy: Stop writing.
Dear American media: Find something worthwhile to celebrate.
I am sick to death of hearing about Fifty Shades of Grey the movie. I'm tired of turning off the commercials as they air on TV. I switched radio stations about 4 times today because every station I tried was having some discussion about or parody of the movie.
When I googled the name of the author of the series, I saw that the Fifty Shades franchise (books, movies, "pleasure packs" that are advertised on the radio) is identified as "provocative romance." Yes, and ISIS is just a "bully."
There is a part of me that doesn't feel qualified to host this conversation here because I haven't read the books. I was going to. I had plans to borrow them from someone I know. Everyone was reading them and I didn't want to be left out.
Then a friend, who is also a child sexual abuse survivor and an author, posted one short message on Facebook. She said that proliferation of books like Fifty Shades of Grey made her sad because the idea of dominance and sexual power is what fuels so many child abusers. Suddenly, the books weren't just something to read and chat about on Girls' Night Out. They were...and are...seeds of evil.
So, I haven't read the books. I haven't tried heroin either and I'm still strong in my belief that it's not something that I want to get into.
As a mother, I felt an obligation to talk to my kids about the movie. Annie will be 18 (!) in two days, old enough to go to an R-rated movie. But that didn't stop me from asking her not to see it. Charlie is only 15, but I told him the same thing. I said that some kids may go see it, might sneak into see it, but that I was really adamant that he not watch the movie.
Sex, I told both of them, can be an awesome thing. But it's something for two grown, consenting, married adults to discover together. (Yes, I said married. Yes, several people will disagree with me and that's ok. They are my kids and this is how I choose to parent them.)
Reading a book or watching a movie that reduces sex to animalistic urges is not going to lead to a healthy adult sex life. Watching a movie is, in my mind, worse, because the images are provided to you. Nothing is left to the imagination. Instead, those images become burned in your mind. When I was a teenager, some of the families I babysat for had HBO. I watched a few of those "HBO After Dark" shows and I'm sorry I did. Why? Because now, 30 years later, those images still come back to me. There are some things that can't be unseen.
Both kids promised that they would not watch the movie or read the books. Of course, what else would they say? "Actually Mom, I planned to buy a ticket to the Spongebob movie and then sneak in to Fifty Shades." I'm not with them 24/7. But at least I made it abundantly clear what my thoughts about the movie are and if they are presented with the sad opportunity to watch it, I hope they remember our conversation.
Then I went to my husband. He is certainly an adult and can make his own decisions. But I wanted him to know how I feel about the movie and to ask him to respect me by not watching it. If we didn't talk about it, how would he know?
I'm not a Puritan or a prude. I wouldn't presume to tell people what they should or shouldn't do in their own bedrooms and their own relationships. But I don't need or want a front-row seat to what goes on behind their closed doors.
The only fifty shades I'm interested in seeing are variations of pink, yellow, lavender and green -- fifty shades of springtime.