Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Non-Ranty Insight About Why 50 Shades Isn't For Me

I know.  Another moralistic voice shouting in the wind in faux outrage over the flavor of the week.

Except it's not.

I've read a blog post that exhorts wives not to watch the movie because it creates a false image and that our imaginations should be satisfied by our husbands.  Don't disagree there.

And yeah, the movie has A WHOLE LOT of nudity and sex.  But so do a lot of movies.

And let's be honest, even if I was curious enough to want to see the movie (I'm not), I wouldn't go because hello, middle Georgia.  You just know that you'd see the Chairman of the Deacon board in the lobby.

I was thinking about it tonight.  I try to be discerning in what I watch and read.  I think my passion for Hallmark movies and chaste, prairie romances is well-documented.  But I went to The Kingsmen: The Secret Service movie this weekend, a totally well-deserved R-rated movie with lots and lots of inane violence (skip it).  And I have been known to watch a Bravo series now and again.  So, why this movie?  Why the self-imposed restriction?

Because the degrading of another person is wrong, regardless of their consent. I'll go a step further: It's not just wrong--it's evil.

Let me be clear. I'm not trying to denounce anyone who would entertain watching this movie or reading the book as being evil or degraded.

What I am saying is the portrayal of a woman submitting to violence in the name of romance and fantasy is straight up wrong and scary.

What bothers me is that young teenagers will sneak this movie on video at a friend's house or grab their parent's copy of the book and think of it as purely escapist fiction.  No harm done. There's nothing cute about physical cruelty, and making the male lead a handsome, misunderstood billionaire doesn't change that.  The glamorization of violence in a physical relationship is not okay.

Maybe I wouldn't have connected the dots of my own hypocrisy if I had not watched that incredibly violent movie yesterday, and then followed it up with a Dateline episode to balance out the perfectly delightful Hallmark original I sandwiched in between the two that Alex lovingly watched alongside me.

The Dateline episode dealt with a young college student who had been assaulted and killed by a man involved in sadomasochism and bondage (eek, never thought I write that on a Mom blog).  He influenced his girlfriend,"the submissive," to bring home another person to be a plaything.  The man was 10 years older than his girlfriend, and had a history of abuse with a former girlfriend.  His "hobby" resulted in the brutal murder of a lovely young woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No.  I'm not saying 50 Shades is going to turn America's youths into sexual deviants.  But I am saying that this movie is subtly (or not-so-subtly, more like) sending the message that there are no limits in love.  I'm saying the searing of a conscience is a real and frightening possibility.

Love without limits is. a. LIE.  And friend, if you know me, you know where I think it comes from: the father of lies.  Oh yes, I just played the satan card.  I believe in the reality of evil and an enemy to the one true God.

Good, true, healthy love?  It has limits and boundaries.  It respects another's thoughts, feelings, body, and spirit.  Those entities cannot be separated.  True love does no harm. I appreciate these excellent pieces on real love by Ann Voskamp and Beth Moore that so eloquently expound on this concept.

I'm not going to yell and bluster about this movie.  We Christians get a bad rap for doing that already. I wanted to work out these thoughts for myself, and I was surprised at where they led me.  I'm terrible at debate and arguments of logic.  I always go back to the heart, and the bottom line is that I believe every woman fears abuse.  We cannot gloss it over as romance or call it a "grey" area, pun entirely intended.  We are worth more than that, both men and women. Each of us has a God given dignity. And I won't watch a fictional character demean hers, as it demeans my own.

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