Fifty Shades of…Bestselling Women’s Suffering?

21 02 2015

I write this out of the “Shake My Head” file. I have not watched and have no intention or desire to watch “Fifty Shade of Gray”.  I have never nor will I ever read the book.  So, as a disclaimer, I have no idea of all the details of the book or the movie.  I do, however, know just enough to know that some people who criticize it seem to not have a clue about it.

This is by no means a post condoning the book or the movie.  As with most of this world’s ideas, the idea of sex and relationships as portrayed in the book and movie, as with most books and movies, even Christian ones, are in contradiction to the Scriptures.  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God because it is stupid to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually understood.” (1 Cor 2:14)   With that in mind, I can understand bringing up 50SoG in Christian culture to bring it to light.   Yet, the reasons that it is not approved make no sense.

The reasons not to watch it that I have heard about it in the pulpit or other areas of Christian culture is not because it does not portray sex outside of marriage as sin, or a wrong depiction of sexuality, or even that it’s based off of women’s porn a romance novel.  No, the reason it’s a bad movie is….it’s advocating bad things about women.  I guess, It not only demoralizes them, but the movie also advocates violence against them.

Okay…so, let me get this straight. (Mind you, I only know about 50SoG what the media, people I’ve talked to, and Wikipedia have told me.)  This WOMAN decides to write a book about this WOMAN who WILLFULLY DECIDES to get into a BDSM relationship/contract with some rich guy.  Not only that, but it is a best selling ROMANCE NOVEL among WOMEN.  So bestselling that it sold 100 million copies and has been translated into 52 languages.  Evidently, the woman who wrote it and the millions of women who bought and read it must not think it is too violent or demoralizing.  Else, why would so many women advocate violence against and dehumanize themselves?

I don’t advocate the books or movie to any Christian woman.  I would hope it’s not even a consideration.  But if you do read or watch it, I would hope you’re not so much a hypocrite to demand your boyfriend or husband not to watch and enjoy something with barely clothed women on it.  What is the difference between you and him?  What is the difference between his porn and your romance novels?  It reminds me of a time when I saw a Christian woman comment on how “Magic Mike” was “eye candy” when she had seen it.  I can see the reaction of Christian women if they caught their husbands with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Anyway, we should tell people to not read the book or watch the movie based on what Scripture says, not based on worldly mentality.  There are several other reasons to not read or watch it beside that it’s “harmful to women”.  It’s not all about women.  If you want to criticize it, speak of the spiritual and sinful issues about it.  Dealing with this kind of reminds me of how Christians are taught not to have sex before marriage because it will lead to low self-esteem, unwanted pregnancy, and sex in marriage will not be as special.  It totally disregards anything that should be said because GOD said it.  Take for instance:

“Do not let fornication, sexual impurity, all uncleanness, or covetous even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.  For you may be sure of this, that no fornicator, unclean person, or covetous man, who is an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. “

But, instead, psychology is used.  “You don’t want to feel bad for not giving all of yourself to your spouse”  Thus, keeping that Scripture fulfilled, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

If psychology and feelings-based opinions are used instead of the black-and-white truths from Scripture, people will just be left with 50 shades of gray, giving them the ability to do what is right in their own eyes.

Jesus said to follow Him!

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2 responses

24 02 2015
cdubbs727

As a critic, I debated heavily on whether or not I was going to see “Fifty Shades of Grey,” primarily because I know people do look to me on my opinion, and I wasn’t sure I could properly discuss it in context without seeing it. I ultimately decided against it, for reasons I wrote about at http://chrisicisms.com/2015/02/11/why-im-not-reviewing-fifty-shades-of-grey/.

While I agree that Bible prohibitions on sexual immorality should be enough reason to stay out of the theater, I think the deeper questions provoked definitely warrant discussion. A film that advocates violence against women should be cause for alarm among Christian men — we are called to be protectors of women, to stand up for them and be angry about this. The existence of this content should make me mad enough that I would do anything to tell my wife, “you’re worth more than this, don’t let them tell you this is all you’re worth, is as a sexual plaything or accessory to a man.” I just had a conversation with some friends about how I fear my wife is often looked at by many Christians as “just Chris’ wife,” instead of the smart, funny and passionate individual she is, and it frustrates me that church culture is still so patriarchal.

But I also think there’s a bigger conversation to be had. The book and film are extremely popular, and I think that speaks to a deep need in the church (because I guarantee this is popular among many Christian women). I think it speaks to unmet sexual needs in many Christian relationships, and a fearfulness in the way Christians are taught to discuss sex. The problem is, church culture’s only response to sex is that “don’t have it before marriage because the Bible forbids it,” and so even in our marriage we shy away from conversations about desires, fantasies and other elements of sexuality. By simply saying, “well, what does the Bible say” we leave out the fact that the Bible doesn’t say a lot explicitly on things, and we need to be able to still have criteria to discuss them. And I think the fact that women and men suffer with pornography for different reasons (men are very visually stimulated, women are drawn to the intimacy), speaks to deep relational problems in many churches, simply because our attitude has been only to address what the Bible explicitly says about sex (and we blush and get uncomfortable about mentioning the Song of Solomon, an entire book dedicated to how great sex is…I wish more churches would talk less about the ‘bad’ of sex and more about how sex is really proof that there is a God and he loves us, because he made this act one of the great things in the world).

Also, curious about the headline — women’s suffrage is about women voting. Not sure how that ties into the article.

24 02 2015
Chris@QPC

First, thank you for bringing up the title/headline. In my ignorance, I thought “suffrage” was similar to “suffer” and didn’t know it was exclusive to voting. I stand corrected. I learned something new here.

I still find it amuzing that the biggest negative thing that is mentioned from the book or movie is the “violence against women” and that the female author and worldly women made it a bestselling series. I don’t condone violence against women, men, or children, nor BDSM, but I also stand for balanced truth. To just blow one aspect out of proportion and leave the rest untouched makes no sense. Besides, my point was how it was written and made bestselling by that same gender which is said to be against.

But it is just a book series and now a movie. Let the world deal with it. It is for them anyway. Yes, there is a bigger conversation and it has bigger ramifications. It is more than “The Bible forbids it” because God is more than “do this not that or else”, but the foundation is all about what God says. One could look at a car manual where it tells you to put your seat belt on and know that there is a law saying you must wear one or else get fined. But there is much more to that. If you decide to be in rebellion and get caught you will have to pay. But , the reason for it in the first place is to keep you and others safe. So it is with God’s commands. Yes, God’s says that fornicators and adulterers He will judge. People should know that. God is to be feared. But, it’s also good to let people know that His commands are for our good. What God says explicitly is to be taken seriously. But when we mingle it with psychology and our own ideas, it turn it into mush. There is so much that is “good” as well as “bad” (like Song of Solomon) that we don’t need to make excuse for the hard things God says.

It’s late and I need to sleep. Hopefully I made some sense.

By the way, nice way to plug your blog. I see what you did there.

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