The Real Problem With ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

When a woman is screaming, crying and shouting at you to stop, I think there are at least a few indicators that she stopped enjoying it quite some time ago.

In recent additional controversy surrounding the sexually shameless movie 50 Shades of Grey, a recent sexual assault case came out linked with the motion picture. A 19 year-old University of Illinois at Chicago freshman was arrested for sexually assaulting a female he was formerly romantically associated with. After entering his dorm room and stripping down to her bra and underwear, the student proceeded to tie her wrists and legs to both edges of his bed, stuff a necktie in her mouth, blindfold her, take off her clothes, then viciously beat her with his fists and a belt before holding her hands behind her back and forcing her to have sex with him.

The excuse he told police when he was arrested? “He was re-enacting scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey.”

And people have the nerve to say the movie is as harmless as B-grade pornography (it’s actually C-grade, for those who were wondering).

Unfortunately, sexual assault is nothing new to America. According to a study conducted by the White House Council on Women and Girls, women make up the majority of victims, with one in five women reported to have been raped in their lifetimes. 98% of the perpetrators are male, with most of the victims previously knowing their assailants before they were assaulted.

However, the issue exists deeper than what can be printed on paper: it exists in the messages that the media is sending.

Take 50 Shades of Grey as an example. In the movie, the male character is a smooth-talking masculinist that angrily domineers over his sexual partner. The female character is an overly passive dimwit who is supposed to (literally) bend over and tend to her male master’s every desire.

Sex isn’t treated like a romantic act in 50 Shades of Grey. It’s treated like a service.

With that in mind, what message does the movie send to the masses that can’t think and act for themselves? One: that men are entitled to sex and that women should provide it to them because it is their role in life, and two: that if women don’t serve in this role, they deserve to be physically and verbally punished for their actions. It doesn’t matter what the filmmaker’s intentions were: what messages were viewers receiving when they saw a man being sexually aggressive and the woman enjoying it?

I am not placing the blame on either the man or the movie. What I am saying is that the gender stereotyping has to stop. Whether it’s in a movie theater or in a bedroom doesn’t matter. Women have the right to say “yes” or “no” just like any man does. We need to learn to respect that and acknowledge that so we can move on and improve the shabby society that we live in.

And before you say anything, yes, I am saying this as a 21-year old male college student. Look more at the words and less at the person writing them.

– David Dunn

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