No, 50 Shades of Grey Does Not Fetishize BDSM.

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BDSM is not the reason why 50 Shades is disgusting. In fact, the act of BDSM should be viewed as a supremely intimate one, cheapened by this book/movie.

The real problem is that 50 Shades uses BDSM as a cover for series protagonist, Anastasia’s subjugation into a wildly unbalanced relationship, and then fetishizes this imbalance and portrays it as a desirable thing.

Besides this serious letter to the fandom of 50 Shades of Grey, there has been no serious discussion about the underlying fetishes: A lack of consent, materialism and Self-Objectification.

Lack of Consent

At risk of losing my sanity, I read a part of the book which highlighted the “rules” of their relationship:

Obedience:
The Submissive will obey any instructions given by the Dominant immediately without hesitation or reservation and in an expeditious manner. The Submissive will agree to any sexual activity deemed fit and pleasurable by the Dominant excepting those activities which are outlined in hard limits (Appendix 2). She will do so eagerly and without hesitation.

And

Clothes:
During the Term, the Submissive will wear clothing only approved by the Dominant. The Dominant will provide a clothing budget for the Submissive, which the Submissive shall utilize. The Dominant shall accompany the Submissive to purchase clothing on an ad hoc basis. If the Dominant so requires, the Submissive shall during the Term any adornments the Dominant shall require, in the presence of the Dominant and any other time the Dominant deems fit.

There are others, but the sad thing about this whole story is that there is zero consent. The rules Grey lay out ensure that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to. Something no normal, healthy human being would be able to deal with. It’s also kinda illegal.

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The cover fantasy of BDSM and power play really just diverts from the true problem: That 50 Shades teaches its viewers/readers that duress can lead to consent as long as he’s a powerful, rich and desirous man.

Materialism

I don’t hate money, or having nice things. This movie, however, is really about excess.

Grey wears Omega watches, one of them worth $26,000.

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He’s also decked out in leather goods by YSL: Belts, briefcases, travel bags, wallet.

The character also owns almost every shade of Audi possible, and is seen driving an R8.

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If you really want to see a full run-down of what he uses, it’s here. This movie is luxury porn at it’s worst (or best). Grey uses every single bit of this wealth to exert duress on Anastasia. As my girlfriend aptly put it:

If Grey wasn’t rich, would Anastasia let him do all the things that he did to her?

In fact, this whole fetish is disturbing because this means that we have a lot of people supporting the idea that it’s alright to be sexually abused as long as he treats you like a princess outside.

Which brings me to the next point…

Self-Objectification

Women everywhere have trouble with the idea that they are objectified by men. There’s a serious problem, then, when the whole premise of 50 Shades is that it’s alright for a man to objectify a woman, and for said woman to accept that in contract form.

Yes, Anastasia is sexually self-objectifying in order to connect with Grey emotionally. In the movie, her self-objectification eventually “cures” Grey of his emotional problems. That’s right: this is what the show equates “Love” to.

So really, whether you’re a man or woman, there’s no reason to watch this show and enjoy it. I’d recommend you watch something from this list instead.

Until next time….

2 comments

  1. Honey says:

    i totally agree with everything you said in your post. I don’t understand the hype of this movie. The book was badly written as well apart from the storyline which makes it ok for society to think this kind of behavior is romantic

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