I was trying to write about abortion when I got distracted and found this article on facebook: To the women of America: 4 reasons to hate 50 Shades of Grey
Like Matt Walsh, the writer of this article, I haven’t read the book, and have no real intention to. I certainly would if the options were between reading that book and never reading anything again, which is much further than he’s willing to go. After reading this, though, I want to go see the movie. Here’s why.
1. I’m not stupid.
Quote from the book: “Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose, I breathe.”
Well, that’s the purpose of the medulla oblongata, the lower brain stem that helps keep us breathing and maintains other bodily functions. It’s not a fancy term for “mind” or “brain” as Matt seems to think. This is the type of thing I might say; at least, I would identify more with a person talking this way. Anyone who wouldn’t at least understand that this is factual is possibly stupid, but likely just uneducated.
I don’t see anything too awful about the rest of the quotes he pulls out, either, but perhaps that’s just the flavor I would expect from this type of novel. After a bit more research, it is apparently very badly written, but that’s common for porn from what I’ve heard. Porn isn’t about the quality of the writing, guys. Although I admit having better written porn would obviously be better.
2. I enjoy corporate marketing ploys.
Disney’s releasing another princess musical, probably to sell millions of dollars of related merchandise? I’ll totally buy the collector’s edition DVD and the soundtrack. A sequel is coming out for a dragon movie, probably to sell a bunch of dragon toys? I love tiny multi-colored plastic dragons, and I am all over that. There’s a movie about a building toy from my childhood? I will watch that for a date and buy the DVD later. There’s a reboot of a Hasbro franchise to sell toys? I will watch every episode and buy ALL of the toys.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Hollywood movie, especially one made from a book, or a sequel, or a remake, then you ALSO love corporate marketing ploys. Indeed, unless you only watch Indie films and never buy anything based on brand name, you probably love marketing ploys.
3. I’m not a Christian.
I have no moral reason to be opposed to pornography in any form, although I do see a reason to be opposed to a man or woman using pornography instead of being intimate with his/her significant other. As Matt says, his reasoning only applies to Christians. There’s no non-religious reason to be against porn itself that I’m aware of, although plenty to be against porn where women are unwillingly abused or people using porn to the detriment of other parts of their lives (especially, as already mentioned, their relationships). As I hope anyone can tell, those are not problems with porn itself; those are problems with people who use porn inappropriately. An analogy might be that there is nothing wrong with an occasional beer or glass of wine, but there are certainly things wrong with drunk driving and alcoholism.
4. I’m a feminist.
“If you are a feminist, I can’t possibly understand how a disturbing fantasy about a wealthy man physically dominating a woman could ever be considered acceptable in your circle.”
Part of feminism is allowing women to enjoy sex and be open about that enjoyment. This even includes fantasies of being dominated, and if you want evidence that such fantasies are common among women, you ironically need look no further than the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey. The physical domination would only be against feminism if the woman is actually being raped or otherwise abused. Rape fantasies are not rape, although I understand some people have difficulty telling fantasy from reality. He admits he doesn’t know what feminism actually is, so perhaps if he understood that he would not have tried to argue that promoting a common form of female sexuality is bad feminism.
I will note, so as not to embarrass myself before going public with an uninformed opinion, that there is a legitimate argument that 50 Shades of Grey is bad for women. Promoting physical domination as a cultural norm could take feminism back a step by making women think they should be submissive regardless of whether that’s what they really want, and I certainly agree with that concern. Indeed, I could even argue that religion, especially those forms of Christianity which make sexuality bad especially for women, is at least partly to blame for the prevalence of submissive fantasies among women: if he makes all the decisions, she is absolved of the responsibility of being guilty for enjoying sex. My point here is more that the article I’m responding to has not made such an argument.
Matt gave 4 reasons to hate 50 Shades of Grey. As you can see, two of those work better, or at least equally well, towards the exact opposite conclusion, based on the examples given. Of the remaining two, one doesn’t apply to me or most of my contacts, and one doesn’t apply to most of America (if it did, we wouldn’t have McDonald’s or Walmart). Zero percent is a failing grade anywhere, or at least it should be.
Are you concerned giving money to this franchise could hurt women? Don’t give money to it. Just don’t act so surprised when people don’t buy into your reasons if they are this poorly supported.
Update: I revisit this issue here, with an updated opinion.