No grey area when it comes to women’s rights

By Aaron Clark

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The pure and sincere connection between characters in Disney movies and classics like “Pride and Prejudice” is not what enticed audiences over Valentine’s Day. It was the deceivingly adventurous and sensuous relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” As audiences have lined up outside theatres across the nation, so have protestors. Movies that possess a great amount of nudity and intimacy are bound to outrage the more conservative population, but another group has stepped up and opposed the sexual relationship depicted onscreen. Women’s rights activists are demanding that the glamorization of controlling and abusive relationships be stopped immediately, and that audiences realize the many flaws of Ana and Christian’s relationship.


Two main arguments are expressed by women’s rights groups — first, that the physical violence in the film is not provocative and actually promotes domestic violence, and second, that the erratic behavior of Christian Grey is not romantic and absolutely should not be endorsed as such. In the novel, Christian Grey is portrayed as a very wealthy and attractive businessman who invites Anastasia Steele, a young student, into his kinky world of BDSM. The women who are protesting the film state that this relationship could be perfectly healthy and normal if it were not for the driving forces behind Mr. Grey’s actions. Christian Grey was sexually abused as a child, and it is implied that this trauma is the incentive for his violent and controlling sexual preferences. This creates the idea that BDSM is rooted in sexual trauma, and that everyone who practices the lifestyle is doing so in an attempt to counter their past sufferings. Because Christian Grey was abused, he now feels the need to inflict violence and control in a sexual manner, and that is often not the case in BDSM relationships.

Christian Grey strives to control Anastasia not only during sexual intercourse, but also in all aspects of her life. His stunts include tracking her phone, finding out where she lives and even buying the company she works for. He stalks her and dominates her life, and it is romanticized and construed as sexy. If he were not attractive and wealthy, would his actions still be arousing? Absolutely not. The flaws are not only in Grey’s character, but Anastasia’s as well. She is fully submissive to the actions of her lover and enables his volatile behaviors by doing nothing.

This epidemic of women complying to assertive male counterparts is a serious issue in modern society. According to a study done by Girlguiding United Kingdom, two-fifths of girls “believe it is acceptable for a partner to make you tell them where you are all the time,” and one in ten said that it is acceptable for a partner to dictate who you can and cannot spend time with. Movies that glamorize men and women who have a lack of balance in their relationship only contribute to this statistic. “Fifty Shades of Grey” makes Christian Grey’s obsessive and commanding behaviors erotic and even romantic, when in reality, stalking a partner and isolating them to gain control over their life is both illegal and morally wrong.

There is no such thing as a balanced, healthy relationship in Hollywood because balance is boring, and boring does not sell movie tickets. Feeding the “Fifty Shades of Grey” frenzy is not necessarily wrong, but believing the messages in the film is. Submissive women are not more desired by men, they are not more successful and they do not have hotter sex. Despite what the film industry would like its audiences to think, there is nothing functional about Ana and Christian’s relationship. Try tracking your partner’s phone and let me know how that works out.

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