Some Black and White on Fifty Shades of Grey

This weekend, this piece came across our radar:

This post detailed one of the elements of the new film Fifty Shades of Grey that many viewers and critics find troubling: the normalization of abuse.  We recommend anyone interested in reading some thoughtful critique to take a look at the piece, although some trigger warnings for sexual abuse should be observed.

While films have an inherent role to play as entertainment, it’s important to remember that they also act as reflections and influences on our culture.  Filmmakers and audiences should be aware of the cultural impact of what we see on screen and how it can affect all of us.  Common rationalizations that this film, like many others, is “just a movie” will be common, but even in light of those, we must remember that what we see on film can carry the weight of normalization, the idea that the behavior we see is expected and typical.  This transformation can be a dangerously slippery slope, especially where a film such as this one is concerned.  The more we are exposed to such phenomenon as are highlighted in this film, such as abusive relationships, psychological assault, and the subordination of women, the more we as a culture tend to view those phenomenon as the norm.  It should be quite clear why that is a highly dangerous road, especially in light of the widespread release and success of this particular film.

We would encourage readers who may go see Fifty Shades of Grey to do so with a critical eye and to have conversations with your friends and others about what you see.  You can certainly enjoy a film while still acknowledging its problems, and if you want to go to see this one, we hope you do exactly that.

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