Monday, August 4, 2014

Talk To Your Kids About 50 Shades of Grey


You should talk to your kids about sex, of course. But this isn't about that. I've seen teen girls on Tumblr say that their friends are talking about how sexy 50 Shades of Grey is, which is very disturbing. Not because it depicts BDSM. No, this is disturbing because 50 Shades of Grey absolutely does NOT depict BDSM.

This comes direct from the BDSM community. They hate this book. They've denounced it. They've written several long pieces about how what happens in the novel is not BDSM, but plain abuse. It violates many of the tenants of BDSM, which are all based around the idea that sexual play must be safe, fully consensual, and collaborative, with equal power given to each person involved (or giving more power to the submissive partner).

According to the BDSM community, the dominating partner in 50 Shades of Grey, Mr. Grey himself, is an abusive, controlling, selfish stalker who does not care about the safety, consent or desires of the woman he's partnered himself with. The fact that many young women are looking at this dynamic and finding it sexy is not a sign of the popularity of BDSM, but a sign of rape culture. It shows that the abuse and sexual control of women is a desirable norm in our culture.

If this is what young women have been taught to find appealing, rather than a sexual relationship based on continuous, enthusiastic consent and communication, then it's no wonder so many of them end up in abusive relationships. And it's no wonder so many men consider controlling women and making them powerless to be an essential part of masculinity.

It might be hard to talk to your kids about sex, and even harder to talk to them about kinky sex, but please, for the love of god, don't let them go about thinking that abuse is sexy. Please help them get into real, safe BDSM. Encourage them to explore their desires safely rather than with Greys. Same goes with any other family members, friends, Facebook acquaintances, etc. Whenever you have the strength, please, work to counteract the idea that 50 Shades of Grey is an acceptable depiction of a sexual relationship. Thank you.


Michelle White said...

Questions: What about rape fantasies? Could it be that they don't find the abuse portion of it sexy in real life but in a fantasy situation the pain and psychological torment isn't felt so its kind of removed? I've read a lot about how a huge number of women have rape fantasies but of course would never want to be raped. What is your take on all of that?

Lindsey Weedston said...

I've read the same thing, as well as that some rape victims like to play out what happened in a safe situation in order to process it safely. That is totally okay, it is not my place to tell victims how they're allowed to process their trauma as long as they're not hurting others. For other women, I just ask that they consider where their sexual fantasies come from and make sure that their partners are comfortable in any role playing.

For this kind of thing, can you post a trigger warning for rape or rape play? It's likely to be triggering to some people.

Choux said...

Thank you!!!! As someone from the BDSM community who has been practicing since high school , thank you. These relationships are horrifying and I talk to people whenever I can about this book! Excellent point about talking to your kids. They will read your " mommy porn ". They might think that's normal.

Choux said...

Rape fantasies are really about control. A man may give a woman the power to rape him, he is under her control. That's common. And some rape victims for many reasons get relief from it. But without SSC (safe sane consensual) practice, it's usually just abuse.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I'm seriously considering making flyers and passing them out to people at the movie theater.

Choux said...

I will join you if you do. I think the movie will hold back and try to make them more "romantic". But I will definitley protest with you!

blwpyrtv said...

For many child abuse activists, the elephant in the room with respect to this movie and all the intensive discussion thereof is how inadequately protected minors are from the kind of treatment Ana receives as a consenting adult.

It's worth noting that if Mr. Grey were a high school principal in, say, Texas, he could routinely spank teenage girls--including those 18 or over--without breaking any laws. The only consent he might need is that of the girls' parents. (For illustration, look up the case of Jessica Serafin and the School of Excellence in Education.)

See also: