This is purely my perspective. We are all entitled to have our own opinion. By all means comment at the end of the page, if you wish to share your opinion.
A couple of years ago, I got one of the 100 million books sold from the Fifty Shades trilogy. It wasn’t the first book in the series, it was either the second instalment, Fifty Shades Darker, or the third instalment Fifty Shades Freed. It bored me so much, I only read 4 pages and threw it out. I have a massive collection of BDSM educational books, but fictional books are not my thing, but I totally embrace those who do read fantasy fiction. Just don’t expect them to be beginner guides to BDSM.
I Saw Fifty Shades of Grey and I Loathed it!
Owning Black Rabbit Premium Leather and hearing customers reference items/scenes from the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, prompted me to go along and see the film. I was happy to spare a couple of hours, in order to place our customers comments into context.
Before seeing Fifty Shades of Grey, I spoke to a 21 year old vanilla friend who read and loved all three books, and who had seen the movie 2 days prior to my screening. Her comments were really interesting. Firstly, she said some people left the cinema during the film. She didn’t like how the film ended and left it in tears. That’s after reading all three books.
So I saw the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
By the end of the movie, I felt both shocked and violated by the final scene. I thought about the message the movie was sending out, and whether those within our community, who were stating the movie normalised abuse, were in fact correct. I think many in the community are concerned about the impact a box office hit, plus 100 million book sales can have on our reputation as a whole. We don’t want to be labelled as fifty shades of fucked up.
Fifty Shades of Disappointment
My biggest disappointments in this film are the non existence of fundamental aspects of BDSM (i.e., consent, warm-ups, aftercare and pain/pleasure body chemistry). Whether the two leading roles had chemistry didn’t bother me, but dismissing fundamentals disturbed me greatly.
In the movie, although there were contract negotiations, consent was skewed or missing altogether. Consent is ongoing and live. You don’t consent to absolutely everything on day one in a contract and then that’s concrete for the duration of your relationship. The final scene in the movie was far from consensual and that was obvious to everyone. He didn’t read Anastasia, and was clueless on how to introduce someone new to impact play. Yes she had a safeword. The point is, that scene should never have taken place as she wasn’t ready and it was obviously traumatic for her. Safe, Sane and Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink were not mentioned in the film. Everyone who attempts BDSM play should fully understand these terms.
There were no warm-ups demonstrated in the movie prior to the final scene. This shocked me. I was told there were warm-ups in the books but without reading them I’m not sure on this.
After-care was never highlighted in the movie.
Explaining how endorphins work is not only something I do BEFORE any play, its something I explain before entering into any relationship. Otherwise, people are left thinking “why would you want to do that to me”.
Poor Portrayal of a D/s Relationship
First of all there’s no one way of maintaining a D/s relationship, but there is allot of evidence to suggest carrying out your relationship in a similar vain to the movie, will see it end. Introducing punishment can be problematic for the new dominant. You can incorporate ways other than physical punishment into your D/s handbook to weed out unwanted behaviours. I certainly don’t use physical punishment anymore.
Christian Grey had a sociopathic mental illness (these individuals often affect those who are close to them, negatively). He was needy, lacked self control, co-dependent all the while stating he didn’t want to be touched but couldn’t leave Anastasia alone. He was just so weak. I found him nauseating. He claimed he was a people person yet couldn’t read someone. They’d only dated a few days and he just kept turning up unannounced. Dominants don’t act like that. That’s borderline stalking. His character was flawed. He was not a responsible dominant.
If you meet someone like Christian Grey…run! They’d give you a life of misery and you wont be able to “fix” him. Pack him off to weekly appointments to a psychologist for 10 years. Find yourself a respectable dominant who can lead by example. If you’re attracted to “flawed” qualities, then I’d be assessing your own personal boundaries and whether you’re depressed, vulnerable and why you can’t see what others see.
Ignorant dominants that think they know everything are a problem. All decent dominants I know often say they don’t know everything and they’re always learning. Personally, I think if Anastasia had of done some serious research and challenged the way Christian did things, he would have had a tantrum. The other issue I had with him was making her sign an agreement to never speak about their relationship… setting Christian up as the only reference point. Red flag!
I found Anastasia’s character so terribly boring, and her character had issues, tolerating things she thought she could change. Many say she thought she could “fix” and “convert” him to vanilla which is manipulative. May be so. I still live by a saying I heard years ago, which is… there’s a lid for every pot, even if that’s a cracked plate. A real life Anastasia would have mental health or personality issues or at minimum self esteem/depression issues that made her vulnerable to being attracted to Christian, given all his flaws.
Will The Movie Impact the Community
As one would imagine, seeing the movie helps you frame your best response to those who ask “what did you think of the movie”. Most vanilla people who know me, know my response will be “It hinged on abuse, I loathed it”. Fifty Shades of Grey does not normalise bdsm, it pathologises it. However, I think interest in Fifty Shades of Grey is likely to wane quickly with so many terrible public reviews. I didn’t think the characters were real enough to shape mainstream opinion of the BDSM community as a whole.
After feeling annoyed by the film and what it didn’t do I began to accept it for what it was. The movie was based upon one persons fantasy as many movies are, it was not based on reality, it’s only fiction. Like the Twilight trilogy. There are tonnes of movies that showcase inappropriate and dangerous behaviour to create a morbid curiosity to see a film. The film used a tycoon, a virgin and some misguided bdsm scenes to create curiosity to get your attention. The whole point to creating the film was to make money and it worked.
Nobody claimed it to be a documentary so we can’t very well expect it to explain the facts. If you want to know the facts see my list of documentaries below.
What has sat on my mind is someone mentioned in fetlife that three women died in copycat scenes since the release of the trailer. I’ve seen the Swedish one, where the media have just cashed in on the Fifty Shades of Grey title to sensationalise the article. There is this one Student arrested after re-enacting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ scene. There is a rape charge in Australia as well. I’m unsure where this information is coming from, but they state 3 People Dead After Attempting 50 Shades of Grey Erotic Sex Scenes. Unfortunately, there are people in society that are criminal, so be careful who you meet and where. When meeting people off the net, look into a safe call.
Something to keep in mind… for many years, criminal psychopaths have used chain, rope and cuffs to tie innocent victims to beds, poles etc. which does NOT make them kinksters. When you investigate such cases, they often use the words sadomasochism. This does NOT equate to consensual loving BDSM relationships. If a scene is non-consensual its criminal.
What if it’s a loving D/s relationship and it’s an accident? The importance of education can not be stressed enough. Deaths in the scene, although exceptionally rare, will see the full hand of the law come down on you like no other. The general consensus within the greater community is always educate yourself and be totally risk aware (both dominant and submissive).
I can’t believe they mentioned cable ties in the movie… never use cable ties, they are one of the most dangerous things to use as they tighten the longer they are on due to cutting off blood supply to extremities.
I would never introduce a new submissive to BDSM, the way Christian did.
If you are wanting to explore a BDSM relationship in reality, I suggest you do your research. Read some books suggested below, attend some classes or see some of the films listed below. Just don’t go away from Fifty Shades of Grey thinking this is how we do it, as that would be equal to using the movie Gone Girl to patch things up with your partner.
Those who saw the film and want to find a dominant or submissive, or you feel isolated with your kink… reach out to your local community on fetlife.com, or come along to one of our workshops.
I am happy to openly discuss the movie or my thoughts with people. I hope that those who have a perfectly good relationship don’t damage that, by attempting the same style of D/s portrayed in the movie.
Other Movies & Documentaries
If you know of any other good books and movies by all means comment. I’ve either seen or own allot of the following.
Gor Series of Novels (another ridiculous fantasy that I don’t own)
Story of O – book and movie
Preaching to the Perverted – classic movie
Modify the Movie – excellent documentary
Secretary – classic movie
Fetishes – I own this one and absolutely love it.
Beyond Vanilla – excellent documentary
Walk All Over Me – fun movie
Born in a Barn – documentary
Liberty in Restraint – excellent documentary
Kinbaku – documentary
Kink Crusaders – documentary
SlaveCraft – Guy Baldwin