50 Shades of MisogynyOctober 7 2015
50 Shades of Grey the movie was released this month and it has attracted a lot of attention. Many people had read the book and could not wait to see it on the big screen. I didn’t read the book but have seen the movie.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who plans to see it and I don’t want to stop anyone from going to see it. So maybe bookmark this for when you have seen it if you plan to, otherwise continue.
The movie is a story about a man with a lot of money and in some people’s opinion is very attractive. He meets a young lady who is about to graduate from university. They have an attraction to each other and using his money and power, he buys her gifts, helps her when in need and introduces her to his life of luxury – first edition books as gifts, a new car and a new computer – all to help her out or bring her closer to the lead – Mr Grey.
Mr Grey is a private man with a successful business. He is never photographed with women, but we find out that he actually has been with several women who have signed agreements of secrecy. We learn that he has a play room with a lot of apparatus for domination. Now I have no problem with someone wanting to keep their private life private and I have no problem with consensual domination activities.
To be honest, I don’t have a problem with this movie. What I do have a problem with is the image that it gives to men, women and in particular, the younger generation of today.
Mr Grey slowly persuades the young lady to lose her virginity to him, after introducing her to his play room. They don’t use the play room straight away, but eventually after some steamy scenes of sex and a bit of her thinking about it, the young lady, Anna decides to join him in the play room.
As part of the relationship, Mr Grey wants Anna to come to his apartment on a Friday and be on call for his sexual needs as and when he calls her right through to Sunday. So that he can make sure she does as he says, he gives her a contract to sign detailing what he is allowed to do with her, what she must eat and how much she can drink also how much she must be available to him. He makes it clear that he will not sleep in the same bed with her, amongst other abnormalities for a relationship between two people.
Mr Grey wants to know her schedule, where she will be and when, and if he can’t have this he will use his power to find out like turning up when she is visiting her mum out of town. He basically wants to have control over Anna. Anna resists and like any woman should, she did not sign the contract. Anna tried to follow the rules and would find this difficult because she knew she did not want to be under the control of anyone. She wanted to be her own woman and do as she pleased, while also wanting a relationship where she slept in the same bed as her partner and went out for dates and did things with her partner. Mr Grey found this hard to do and while she tried to negotiate’ the contract, he offered to go on a date with her once a week, a meal, skiing, ice skating, walks or anything she wished.
For a moment, you think “that’s nice of him” but then you remember that he is actually giving in to having respect for this woman which he should have anyway. Mr Grey makes it seem as if he is being kind and doing Anna a favour or letting her have her way, ignoring the fact that he wants her to be under his control and an object for his sexual pleasure. If she was to not follow the rules, he would punish her witha belt to her bare hind.
This is a message to young men that with the right amount of money, power or intelligence they can control women to become their sexual slaves. Not because of the domination, not because of the privacy agreement or the contract but because of his ultimate goal which is for a woman to be on call for his sexual needs when he pleases and if she doesn’t keep within the rules he can punish her like a slave master. Also the fact he wants to control her diet, her activities and so much more.
This movie made it very clear that despite the many advances towards an equal society, this type of misogyny is accepted if you look good enough, have enough money and can make it look like its ok because “This is who I am” then this is ok. He believed that he could say that he is just that way and this is what he does so it’s ok.
The critics who have generally panned this film have done so because it is boring, has bad sex or is just dull. But isn‘t the real criticismthatit tries to perpetuate an outdated, stupid and dangerously wrongview of the relationshipbetweenthe sexes?
Men must be conscious of the way in which they treat women and remember that women are people, not objects for their needs and women must remember to hold themselves with pride and not give in to a man because he says it’s just how he is. Really he just does not respect women.