To recap – for the two readers who have been out of touch in the Amazon rain forest – the best-selling book Fifty Shades of Grey has – inexplicably and ridiculously – sold 100 million copies worldwide and has now opened as a movie. The film’s opening box office revenue on Friday totaled $30.2 million, with $76 million predicted for the long weekend including Valentine’s Day viewings. (It cost only $40 million to make.) That rivals Mel Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ opening weekend at $83.85 million.
Fifty Shades of Grey is about a steamy sexual relationship centered around bondage, dominance, and what fans of the fetishes call “discipline.” That is, the leading man’s “Red Room of Pain” includes physical abuse, whipping, miniature electric cattle prods, hot wax, and other acts critics refer to as torture. The feminists seeking to tear down traditional society by blaming all men for a mythical “rape culture” are now silent while Hollywood liberals simultaneously work hard to create one.
Following a familiar Hollywood pattern of making deviancy and perversion acceptable and attractive to society and “defining deviancy down,” the double-meaning of the word “Grey” includes the leading character “Christian Grey.” Mr. Grey – whose name “Christian” is surely no coincidence – is a handsome, wealthy billionaire playboy with expensive and fascinating recreational tastes such as soaring over the landscape in a glider. In typical Hollywood propaganda, deviancy is presented with the most handsome and appealing possible face.
Does the heroine, Anastasia Steele, fall in love with Christian’s corporate helicopter rides, glider flights, fancy cars, skyscraper office with stunning views overlooking the city, lavish apartment, glittering high-society, and the strong man exuding confidence and power? Or is it really Christian Grey’s riding crop that wins her heart? Or is the intent to associate the deviant elements of the story with the positive allure of the ideal man so that the bondage, sadism, discipline and masochism (BSDM) lifestyle will bask in the positive glow of the desirable, billionaire eligible bachelor?
Remember Richard Gere, the wealthy millionaire in Pretty Woman? To make prostitution seem positive and socially acceptable, the handsome, rich, kind-hearted venture capitalist with the exciting life is every woman’s dream man. He is reluctantly persuaded to hire the prostitute played by Julia Roberts. It is a chance encounter, assuring us that this is not a man who regularly cruises for street walkers. Then the encounter is shown as a beautiful romantic experience with a fairy tale ending. Richard Gere marries the call girl after renting her out on the installment plan. The call girl is the noble heroine while the elite women at a social garden party are the small-minded, ugly villains. The business partner played by Jason Alexander is the disgusting pig who helps us all collectively despise anyone who would view prostitution in a negative light. Prostitution is the way to marry a handsome millionaire while anyone who disapproves is the problem.
Following the same propaganda pattern, Fifty Shades of Grey invents the most attractive possible man. The female author plays every possible card to present Christian Grey as a man who is irresistible. Into that context of a handsome, exciting billionaire, E.L. James adds the secret and hidden “Red Room of Pain” where the perfect man wants to sexually dominate women. To leave no gimmick unused in her desk drawer, the author has Anastasia Steele’s love eventually win Christian Grey back from his fetishes. Yet by that point, the beautification of deviancy has already been fully achieved. Grey’s growth only emphasizes what a truly good guy he is, proving that normal men whip women, too.
So why are women flocking to see the movie? Why has the book, written by a woman, sold 100 million copies mostly to women? Why would women love a book and movie that features a woman being tied up, dominated and whipped? Could it be that women may tolerate the unpleasant aspects of this relationship, which they really don’t prefer, in order to experience something that is lacking in their lives?
There is a long tradition of best-selling romance novels aimed at women called “bodice rippers.” A strong, muscular, handsome, successful man is so overcome with desire for the young innocent heroine that he rips off her clothes (a bodice being similar to an old-style blouse) as they fall onto the bed or couch. The young woman resists as long as she can and the man struggles to be a gentleman until they can forego the temptation no longer. The strong man overcome by raw desire cannot wait to remove her clothes properly without ripping. So the formula goes.
Well, what are women longing for? Are women fed up with modern men with the texture of boiled cauliflower? Do modern, feminized, metro-sexual wimps leave women hungering for something more? Would women be just as happy with a man’s man chopping firewood in a lumberjack shirt, who isn’t afraid to speak his mind even if he ticks people off, even if he doesn’t own any handcuffs?
The Oxford Dictionaries defines “perversion” — as “Distortion or corruption of the original course, meaning, or state of something: ‘the thing which most disturbed him was the perversion of language and truth’”
There is an authentic original of which BSDM is a corrupt variation. There is the proper role of a strong but kind masculine man. And then there is the perversion. In order for one thing to be “twisted,” there must have been an original that was straight and true. A man’s strength and leadership is something for a woman to trust in and lean on. The perversion caused by sin turns what God created into male chauvinists degrading women as second class.
Power to the fallen mind is mean and demeaning. Fallen men seek power to be superior over others. To God, power is kind. Power shelters and protects, and even gently corrects. The proper role of strength is not to seek one’s own interests, at least not exclusively. A strong gentleman becomes twisted into a male chauvinistic pig through the sins of selfishness and pride, a cold heart, and an inability to empathize with others and care about them as real people.
Women love to go dancing much more than do men. Yet when a man and a woman go ballroom dancing, the man takes complete and total control. Every split second, the man decides what will happen, which way they will turn, and what the next dance step will be. But no one in their right mind would imagine that ballroom dancing is a man being inconsiderate to a woman. On the contrary, having a man lead allows the two to get closer to each other and to move as one. Nearly always the man is ballroom dancing to please the woman who likes dancing more than he does.
The more an anti-God feminism attacks and tears down God’s patterns in male-female relationships, the more the fallen human heart invents twisted alternatives to try to fill in the gaping hole. Women instinctively want a strong man. And some of them can even grow hungry enough to accept a perverted version of masculinity if they cannot find the authentic original of a kind but strong gentleman as God intended.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.