Why I Won’t See 50 Shades of Grey

Ladies, let’s talk. Valentine’s Day is coming and with it, the movie so many of us have been waiting for: 50 Shades of Grey. I won’t be going to see it, nor did I read the book, and I’m going to appeal to you not to see it either. I’m going to appeal to you on two counts, first as a woman, and second as a follower of Jesus for those of you who have made that choice.

Women
First of all, let’s just call this what it is, all right? It’s pornography. Look up any definition of “pornography” and 50 Shades will fit into it. It’s even been labeled as “mommy porn,” which I find offensive and disgusting. As if “mommys” are in a category all our own desperate for an outlet such as this.

50 Shades is not friendly to women. It’s just not. Porn is never women-friendly. Porn objectifies women, even when it’s written by and “for” women. Porn is never healthy. Porn destroys relationships and skews our views on sex. The porn industry is horrible to women and the idea that we, as women, would support that is disgusting. I don’t want my husband watching or reading porn, and I’m sure he doesn’t want me doing it either, so let’s stop pretending it’s not porn. Call it what it is.

I’ve read enough reviews and several excerpts of the book to know that Christian Grey is not a healthy individual and his “relationship” with Anastasia is not a healthy one. It’s abuse! I would even go as far as to say that this kind of thing is highly offensive to those who have been in abusive sexual relationships. Abuse is not normal. Not in any circumstances. Women, stop buying this garbage! We deserve better. We are worth it. Our daughters are worth it. Let’s turn away from this crap before our young women grow up thinking it’s normal to be taken advantage of as long as the man is smokin’ hot and has a sweet soul underneath.

I don’t have a daughter but I do have two boys. I want them to grow up to be nothing like Christian Grey. They will be gentlemen. They will be kind. They will be respectful of women, treating them as equals. Let’s demand more of our children and for our children.

Followers of Jesus
This following section is for those of you who claim to be followers of Jesus, who have taken in his free gift of abundant and eternal life through his death and resurrection. In doing so, we have a higher standard, a higher calling.

I’ve been surprised again and again over the last year or so by the number of Christian women who have matter-of-factly talked about this book and movie without any shame. Ladies, porn is never okay in the life of a Christian. Porn is sin. The Bible is so clear on marriage and sex and we have no question that sex does not belong anywhere except in marriage. We are told to flee from this sort of thing, and here we are reading it and discussing it with giggles. Shame on us!

We must not go along with the culture and normalize this kind of thing. As followers of Jesus we must not read about or watch sex for entertainment. As followers of Jesus we mustn’t condone abusive sexual relationships, even if “consent” is involved. Throughout the history of our faith the Church body has been different from the surrounding culture in terms of sexual immorality. We are to be holy, “set apart.” This kind of “entertainment” has never been okay and we need to be disgusted by it.

I realize we all have different standards as to what is allowable in our own lives. For example, my husband and I grew up around people would pass out at the idea of Christians drinking alcohol. Yet, I really enjoy a beer now and then. This difference is okay; I don’t force alcohol on those who don’t drink, or even drink in front of them, and they don’t force their abstinence on me.

However, the standards of sex are not like that. The Bible calls us to a higher standard concerning sex. This doesn’t come from me, so don’t argue your point with me if you disagree, it comes from Jesus. I can find no interpretation of the Word of God that allows for sex outside of marriage or condones this kind of unnatural behavior that we read in 50 Shades.

I won’t be going to see this movie, and I beg you not to either, as women, or as followers of Jesus. Let’s set a higher standard. Let’s demand better for ourselves, and from our men.

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26 thoughts on “Why I Won’t See 50 Shades of Grey

  1. Pingback: The One Where Emily Turns 30 | The Dependent Life

  2. Pingback: 50 Shades of What Are We Doing? | The Dependent Life

  3. Amanda

    100% agree. I’ve heard the arguments about how this is a “love” story and it’s about Anastasia changing, helping to redeem Christian or whatever. I do realize this story is fiction but I think it is encouraging to women to stay in abusive relationships. That if you submit yourselves to a disturbed mans perversions and abuse, “stick it out” so to say, that he’ll eventually change into this loving person. Come on now!

    Reply
  4. elyseobserving

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so thankful to see that I am not the only Christian wife who sees what’s wrong with 50 Shades, and is not afraid to say something. I once spoke out about it and as a result had several people remove me from their friends list on facebook. So thank you for speaking out about it as well. Thank you for speaking the truth in love.

    Reply
  5. Burdened for women

    Also our culture seems to confuse lust and infatuation with love! One is temporary and self serving the other never fails!

    Reply
  6. Burdened for women

    Hi Emily! Well written and the facts you share are dead on. This book series is indeed fiction and seems to romanticize the idea of a woman undergoing horrible and demeaning abusive situations by this man in order to “save” or “change” him. I have heard personal accounts from women who have been in similar real life situations and even in marriages where they were violated in the way this woman was. They do not see it the same way. This was painful and damaging and no the man did not change!! This book is FICTION! It distorts the truth! Listen to women who are survivors of domestic abuse before you justify this book/movie!

    Reply
  7. jessica

    I didn’t read just the first book, I read the whole series. It’s not for everyone, but I loved the story, the growth of two people, and the redemption of one badly treated person. If you read the books, you would realize that “50 shades of Grey” actually refers to the psychological issues of Christian Grey, not the sexual deviancy most people think it does. Yes Christian is a controlling and damaged man, but Anastasia is a strong and unrelenting woman. Yes she goes back to him, but she only stays because he changes. If Anastasia had been cast as a God fearing woman, who brings Christian into the light of the Lord, would you feel differently? Cause it would be the same story.

    If you read the book, you would know that Christian and Ana never have anal sex, they only engage in anal play, some restraint and teasing. The sex scenes are never abusive.

    Every person deserves to be treated right and given the chance to be redeemed. Which is exactly what this story is. I am glad your boys will grow up knowing love and being taught how to respect others, as will my children. But what about the children who don’t have that privilege? What about the ones with horrible childhoods who endure abuse themselves(Christian)? They often grow up to be really messed up people, and I believe that just the right person can help them. They should all be given a chance, and shown love. Which is exactly what this story is. And exactly what Jesus does. He redeems us from sin and loves us unconditionally.

    I’m not saying women and men aren’t abused, it’s a truth, always has been and unfortunately probably always will be. I just don’t get why there is all this judgement. Judgement about how people enjoy sex is still judgement. Only the Lord shall judge. Open your heart and see the love here, don’t spread the hate. Read a book before you judge it!

    Reply
    1. The Dependent Life Post author

      Hi Jessica, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      I did get the wordplay on “Grey” actually, thank you for pointing that out. You asked if Anastasia had been cast as a God fearing woman, etc, would I feel differently. No, I wouldn’t. It would still contain the issues of the book that concern me. Namely, explicit sex scenes (porn), and an abusive man. I love a good redemptive story as much as the next person, however I don’t think the redemptive power of the story makes up for those other things.

      I never mentioned anal sex. And abuse doesn’t only have to happen in the bedroom. I have read enough excerpts and reviews to see stalking, isolation, manipulation, threats, which are all red flags to an abusive relationship. If you need more examples, read http://theramblingcurl.blogspot.com/2014/02/fifty-abusive-moments-in-fifty-shades.html . She chronicles 50 instances of abuse in the books. Or this article http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2014.4782 from the Journal of Women’s Health which claims that young women who read 50 Shades are more likely to show behaviors of people in abusive relationships. If that were my daughter I would horrified!

      I would agree with you 100% that we all need to be redeemed. But are you saying that those of us who have experienced messed up pasts can only be redeemed by passing on abuse? Or acting out? And I think it’s troubling to think that just the right person can help them. You mentioned Jesus, and I truly think that redemption can only come about through him. He can use us to redeem others but it’s dangerous to put all our thoughts for salvation onto a person, rather than God, because people are imperfect. And unfortunately, in real life, the real Christian Greys are rarely redeemed in this way. I can think of countless women who have gotten into a relationship saying, “I’ll change him,” only to suffer for years.

      I’m not judging how people enjoy sex, I’m judging this particular series, which is so contrary to what a healthy relationship looks like, in and out of the bedroom. It worries me to think that this is normal. I don’t want men thinking this is normal. I don’t want women thinking this is normal.

      Again, thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
    2. A Sister in Christ

      Dear Jessica,

      Colossians 1:28 says, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” That said, let me be very clear that I am admonishing you in love. Thank God for love, and may I be the last to judge you or anyone, but this won’t sound kind.

      Allow me start by saying that purity should not be defined as “not having anal sex.” In fact, Christ in Matthew 5:27-28 says looking at a woman with lust means you’ve committed adultery in your heart. You said, “Christian and Ana never have anal sex, they only engage in anal play, some restraint and teasing.” Let me tell you from personal experience: I am a virgin, but I compromised my purity because I “engaged in anal play, some restraint and teasing.” That was sin. God has forgiven me and covered me with grace. I will be a “virgin” when a marry but not pure. I did those things with a guy and stayed with him because I thought it would make him love me. It did not. You could almost even say there was some emotional abuse. I incurred many scars from that relationship. May I be the last to judge you or anyone because I have sinned too. Just like everyone has except Jesus, but now I am pursuing righteousness and purity. Instead of a list of “don’t”, I’m trying to live by a list of “do’s”. Do strive for purity. Do pursue holiness!

      Sex is not limited to anal sex. That’s why when we talk about anal sex we specify by saying “anal sex.” Also, later in your post you said, “Judgement about how people enjoy sex is still judgement.” Which means you also agree that sex goes beyond anal sex. Which means your argument about them never having anal sex is invalid.

      That said, God does not judge how people have sex, but he does judge sinners and sin includes having sex outside of marriage (Christian and Ana) (me) and looking on someone who isn’t your spouse with lust (Just a guess, but I’m pretty sure most women will be lusting after Christian Grey when they watch the movie) (porn would also be lumped in this category of lusting).

      I don’t know anyone (except maybe you) who thinks of 50 Shades of Grey as a film/book that is a redemption story, not a very sexy, sexual, or sexually explicit film/book. So let’s say it’s both. There are much better redemption stories you could read instead. Like, maybe the Bible and how God redeemed Israel and us. If you were reading 50 Shades of Grey because it’s a good redemption story, you wouldn’t have picked up the book in the first place because most people assume it’s mainly a book about sex. You probably read it because you wanted to read a romantic book with a lot of sex in it. Just call it like it is. Don’t justify it. Looking back, I can call my mistakes what they were. At the time, I figured, “I’m not having sex. I’m still a virgin.” Be honest with yourself; no it’s not always easy to be.

      You also said, “Only the Lord shall judge.” This is true, but you have completely taken scripture out of context. I’m assuming you are referring to James 4:11-12:
      “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

      I’m just going to assume that by reading that you can see you took it way out of context. It’s kind of ironic because earlier in the chapter it says:
      “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

      You are right: “Every person deserves to be treated right and given the chance to be redeemed.” All Christians should strive to treat people right! I certainly don’t sometimes, but oh, I try! Jesus treated people right, and he has given people the chance to be redeemed. BUT Jesus did NOT sin so that he could redeem sinners. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a PERFECT life, took on the full wrath of God that we deserved, and died on a cross that we might have the chance to be saved from the hell that we (that I) deserve. So do not for a second compare Jesus Christ to Ana.

      Other things to note:
      Malaysia has supposedly banned the film.
      Some anti-domestic violence activists are boycotting the film.

      Sincerely,
      a woman who has screwed up and sinned like the “Ana’s” of this world, who incurred a little emotional abuse, who Jesus saved and is continually giving grace and forgiveness to, who is striving to be pure but still is not close to perfection

      P.S. Do you think reading 50 Shades of Grey has improved your marriage?

      Reply
      1. The Dependent Life Post author

        Thanks for your comments. I agree with much of what you said, however I do want to point out that when God looks at you he sees you as perfect because of what Jesus has done. You are not “impure” you are forgiven. Time to let that go and forgive yourself, sister.

        Reply
  8. tisha

    You said yourself you havent read the books so how are you qualified to make these assumptions? Yes, these books are definitely edgy but it is first and foremost a love story. Christen grey had a rough upbringing was a troubled person and his relationship with Ana brought him out of that and taught him to love. Its not just smut. Half of this list is ridiculous and has no truth.

    Reply
    1. The Dependent Life Post author

      The thing about the internet is that I don’t need to be qualified to write about anything. I just need a blog and an opinion. 🙂
      But seriously, I don’t need to read every book with explicit sex to know that I shouldn’t be reading it, just as my husband doesn’t need to watch every kind of porn to know that he should stay away. I realize that it’s not all smut, that wouldn’t be a very good book. However, it fits the definition of pornography, which was my main point. And one would have had to stay away from the internet for the entire last year to not know what the book contains, so I think I know enough to make an opinion.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  9. Jonathan Waits

    Hi Emily! Great work with the blog. Lisa and I have been keeping up with you guys through it when we have time to sit and read…but you understand that. I’ve been blogging at Baptist News Global and that takes lots of time. I’m so impressed you are running your whole own blog. Awesome. In any event, this is a great piece. Would you be okay if I sent it to the content editor for the opinion page at BGN for them to consider linking there as curated content? I think the readers there would really benefit from hearing what you have to say on the topic.

    Reply

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