Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade

Here we are … celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015. It’s a long weekend due to the so-called Presidents’ Day holiday … which was initially a celebration for George Washington’s birthday (the 22nd) … but then was expanded to include Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (the 12th) as well … and when Congress suggested honoring all US presidents with a single holiday to be known as Presidents’ Day, they never actually approved the bill! Still, Presidents’ Day became the default – though unofficial – name anyway! So, Happy Presidents’ Day / Valentine’s Day or Happy Valentine’s Day / Presidents’ Day or if you prefer … Saturday!ValPresDayThis is also a highly-anticipated (by some) blockbuster movie weekend. According to BoxOfficeMojo’s forecast headline, “‘Fifty Shades” To Dominate Valentine’s Day Box Office, the film will “set a handful of box office records” this weekend. The same website’s Friday Report employs an apt headline:  “Moviegoers Submit to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

If I were inclined to stand in line for movie tickets this weekend, I would probably attend a showing of American Sniper (I know it’s not opening weekend, but I haven’t seen it yet) or Old Fashioned. But viewing Fifty Shades of Grey will not be on my watch-list … now or ever.OldFashioned

Nor have I read the books. In 2013, when the books were popular, my closest brush with the series related to my own seven-part series of blogs titled Fifty Shades of Screwtape. (If you care to read those, part 1 begins here.)

My frank admission – that I’ve never read the books and never will, that I’ve never viewed the movie and never will – represents a necessary disclaimer, because I am not writing this post as a reviewer.

However, I understand enough about the products, and over the last week, I’ve considered multiple reviews and posts on the phenomenal success of this franchise … assessments that the books are “dull and poorly written” (Maureen Dowd, quoting Erica Jong in The New York Times), “a sad joke, puny of plot” (Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post), and a “treacly cliché” (according to one 2012 article that quoted The Telegraph). Striking that The Telegraph now deems the movie “perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Really?!romance (1)

Though Fifty Shades has been described as “erotic romance,” I would argue it is neither. Eros (from its Greek root) describes sexual love. The animalistic aspect contained in the books/movie is a far cry from love. It is desire but not desire rooted in love. There’s a stark difference.

As far as romance is concerned, I fail to understand how (or why) anyone would misconstrue abuse and domination within a romantic (loving) context! I am especially shocked hard-line feminists generally seem non-plussed by Fifty Shades. I’ve heard no backlash about feminism having reverted to the Dark Ages when women cowered in fear! Do they have no concept of the incomprehensible insult this franchise delivers to all women?!

It’s important to address the notion of this abuse taking place between “consenting adults.” Christian Grey’s despicable treatment of Anastasia Steele is no big deal because both participants are consenting adults, so goes the justification. When individuals make poor decisions to which they have consented, don’t we usually consider them foolish? When it’s a self-destructive decision (say, driving drunk or jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge), do we simply look the other way? Do we shrug, Ah, your choice.

Love is not abuse

Abuse is abuse! I thought we’d begun to understand this concept when children were being molested and abused by priests. A woman who is abused by her spouse is urged to seek shelter for herself and her children. When Michael Vick was sent to jail in 2007, it was for his part in what the judge calledcruel and inhumane sporting activity” where dogs were mistreated and killed.

But the fictional Christian Grey can seduce and engage in cruel and demeaning sporting activity with a young ingenue … and people flock to the screen! Sadism – intentionally inflicting pain and degradation for self-gratification  used to be considered a psychological disorder. Moviegoers are apparently willing to look the other way … or to act as voyeurs when such “play” is brutally meted out on the screen.

In my title, I promised to provide a shade of deconstruction … let’s delve into that a moment. Is it a coincidence that the lead character’s name is Christian? (Meaning follower of Christ.) Is it also a coincidence that the ingenue’s name is Anastasia? (Meaning resurrection.) Since I haven’t read the books, I don’t know exactly when it happens, but Anastasia becomes Ana, a small detail I find meaningful.ValentineJohn316

God invented sex. He meant for it to be good; may I remind, Adam and Eve enjoyed a sexual relationship before sin entered the world. Sex is designed to be mutually pleasurable. Sex – as God designed it – is other-focused, the intent being to please one’s partner. When one partner seeks to degrade, to inflict pain as a means for self-gratification, it’s abuse! It’s sick! It’s narcissistic!

And don’t kid yourself. If the book Fifty Shades of Grey is something you’ve read or if you’ve attended the movie’s opening this weekend, the corruption is already rooted in your soul. That’s the way sin is. Sin burrows down into your soul and tarnishes whatever was beautiful, cheapens and degrades whatever was truly romantic, and turns putrid all that was true and good. Don’t be snake-charmed by the counterfeit that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

Renée
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11 thoughts on “Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade

  1. AMEN! Bret and I went to a showing of Gone With The Wind at our local theater tonight. Not exactly a story of marital bliss and true love, but definitely a great movie (and book.)

    1. One of my favorite movies/books! It certainly reflects that actions have consequences as well as what it looks like when a culture dies.

  2. I like your deconstruction.
    Like you, I’m never going to read any of these books or these movie(s).
    You can bet that much more of this filth is going to come and it will be much more violent and much more perverse because many will jump onto the success of the book/movie trying to make a quick buck.
    In the same way that Harry Potter or Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” inspired a wave of imitations.
    Inevitably those imitations will reach new lows because the readers will be desensitized and that requires ever more shocking material to cause new thrill and excitement. I’m afraid that this will quickly degenerate to new hitherto unimaginable breaches of taboos and truly hellish perversions becoming the “normal” in this kind of “literature”.
    I think that it will eventually end in bestiality and pedoppilia and even worse things that I can’t even imagine.
    Liberals/progressives love this, of course. They want all kinds of perversions to become acceptable. “We’re so tooolerant”.
    Don’t think that the names were coincidence. Maybe, Christian is implying that even good Christians can do such things and it’s OK and normal to do them.

    God, have mercy.

    1. You have posited a future which is frightening, but likely. You also make an excellent point about the name Christian indicating even Christians should feel “normal” indulging in BDSM. A total distortion of course, but some may be taken in by the allure. Indeed, may God have mercy!

      1. PS: I want to congratulate you for creating and mantaining such a beautiful blog. It really shows that you have put much love and effort in it. Read some of your poems and posts and I love your deep thinking.

        BTW, are your ancestors from Germany?
        I live in Germany and although the name Oelschlaeger is not as common as Müller, Meier or Schulz I’ve encountered it quite a few times.

        1. Thanks so much for your encouraging comments! Yes, my ancestors on both sides are from Germany. The Oelschlaegers came from Birkenfeld (?) about 1840 to central Missouri.

          My dad’s Stricker family came a bit later from Horste, Halle, Westfalen, Germany or maybe Bielefeld or Gutersloh? I’ve never been there, but my older brother has lived in Germany and Austria (though not now).

          Last fall, we visited with a family named Eppe who came to the US. (The Stricker relatives who stayed in Germany kept the name Eppe.)

          This is likely more information than you cared to know, but I am enthusiastic about genealogy! Thanks again for your comments. I hope you’ll stay in touch!

          1. Fascinating how the internet can connect two persons thousands of miles away while one of them lives just a few hundred miles from the other’s ancestors place of origin.
            Since you put a question mark behind Birkenfeld I just entered Ölschläger in the German Wikipedia and got the following results from this page http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oelschl%C3%A4ger

            Ölschläger about 400 surnames primarily from the Enzkreis district
            Oelschläger about 1700 surnames primarily from the Enzkreis district

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enzkreis

            Birkenfeld is part of the Enzkreis district.
            So, Birkenfeld seems right.
            The name stricker yielded no useful results though I’m convinced that one can find them elsewehere.

            Maybe this information is useful for you.
            I’m definitely going to visit your blog regularly.

            Cheers
            Artaxes

          2. Yes, the internet has made the expansive world seem small! Thanks for sending the links! I’m always in knowing more about our origins. I look forward to hearing more comments from you in the future! Don’t be a stranger.

  3. It makes me laugh (then retch all over my bondage gear !) how some Godless elitists think that S & M, bondage, domination/submission and similar sexual deviancy is somehow sophisticated and kinky. Where do people get these ideas? I can understand how the sexual repression of Victorian England may have formed some of these tastes… but in this day and age it is just vestigial perversity – a throwback. To me, it seems so weird to mix up power politics and ritual abuse with sex.
    I have zero interest in the “50 Shades” movie. Just another symptom of a nation that has lost its way.

    1. Yep, vestigial perversity that goes all the way back to Judges – “every man did what was right …” etc. and likely all the way back to Genesis. Sadly, I have to ask myself, what’s next in this nation/culture that’s lost its way?

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