As an amateur film critic, I have made it my mission to see and write about most of what comes out each week. I am going to school full time, but the free days I have are relegated to watching whatever has come out. For my holiday in December I saw four movies in a row and wrote a review for three of them. I hope to get paid for my work one day, but until then, I refuse see 50 Shades of Grey. No matter how many views I will get for my critique, nothing can convince me.
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Before I start, no, I have not read the book. I have done research and I will tell you right now, there is no reason for this movie to exist.
The book is fine because you can find a hundred just like it in the romance section, but why anyone decided to make an adaptation is a mystery. It is not that it is rewritten Twilight fan fiction, kind of stupid, or has misogynist undertones. On the contrary, I find the concept quite inoffensive, and this is coming from a feminist.
So what is my problem with Shades of Grey?
In general, I do not have a problem; it is a harmless trend that people seem to enjoy. It brings a touch of the risqué to the bland lives of stay-at-home moms and people with repressed hedonistic desires. It is a safe touch of “evil” that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. And we could all use a bit of that in our day-to-day lives.
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If is okay to have a around, then is it offensive?
From an outsider’s standpoint, the idea behind Shades of Grey; a woman submits to a man to fulfill his BDSM fantasies, would qualify it as simple erotica, that happens to be a best seller. Overall, it really is not that big a deal, but what I have found in my research suggests otherwise.
It is a consensus that Shades of Grey is poorly written and features a protagonist that is offensive to women. I have seen videos of people destroying this book because they were so angered by the submissive, naive, and dimwitted intelligence of Anastasia Steele. Normally I would agree, but here is where I present a differing opinion:
What were you expecting?
You are reading an erotic novel that started out as Twilight fan fiction, and you complain about the character not being a strong representation of women? I understand the need for better female characters, but you will never find it in BDSM erotica inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s evacuated abortion. Why even bother? In terms of genre, erotica is so minute it hardly qualifies as important. There is plenty more you can be doing with your time and money. Nobody has any reason to take this book so seriously.
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With that in mind, why do I refuse to see this movie, if I do not have a problem with it, and it is not offensive?
At the risk of ruining any reputation I hope to gain from this blog, I refuse to see Shades of Grey because it is not hardcore enough to be as infamous as it is. Believe me when I say that the real thing, a very profitable genre in the porn industry, is far more intense and female-friendly than this supposedly risqué book.
Let me explain:
When I first heard they were making a film adaptation, I asked myself why would you make a movie about something you can find on the Internet, if you know what to look for? Right now, I can find videos that make Shades of Grey look like Green Eggs and Ham, in less time and with less money it would take to turn out a feature length adaptation.
You think the book was something to swoon over?
I can show you Eva Angelina, a veteran porn star and mother, get bound by five to seven men, within the first 10 minutes of an hour-long scene. Your average stay-at-home mom will be reaching for the sleeping pills until the nightmares stop. In other words, Shades of Grey is amateur crap that stupid people think is professional.
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The most important takeaway from this whole breakdown is real BDSM, and porn in general, has more to say about feminism, and gender equality, than anything in Shades of Grey. You may not believe it because you have not been single as long as I have.
Here is what I mean:
Being in porn means you are having sex on camera for the whole world to see. You are exposed both physically and emotionally, something very few people can do. But those that can show they are proud of what they look like, no matter how they look.
In my opinion, doing porn equates to being a feminist because you are free of gender conformity and the bonds society puts on people based on how they physically appear. On top of that, women are paid more than men. An ordinary boy/girl scene has more to say about feminism and gender, in less time than it takes to read Shades of Grey.
If you think I am wrong, here are a couple articles by porn stars that support my argument:
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So that is why I will not see this movie. I have no idea how this analysis will affect my standing as a critic or as a person. My hope is that I have articulated why there is no reason for this movie to be important, or for anyone to see it. How it is a cultural phenomenon I will never understand. Unless I am being compensated for having to sit through it come February, I refuse to see 50 Shades of Grey.