Please don’t support this franchise
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
Despite being critically panned and literally originating as a “Twilight” fanfiction, the erotic “romance” Fifty Shades series went on to sell over 100 million copies and is being turned into an entire movie trilogy, with part two in theatres now. The story follows Anastasia Steele, an innocent college student who becomes involved with Christian Grey, a troubled billionaire who introduces her to his twisted BDSM desires.
It’s not just that the series isn’t romantic; Fifty Shades promotes unsafe practices, unhealthy relationships, and physical and sexual abuse. Most of the activities depicted are dangerous and inaccurate. BDSM practitioners heavily emphasize consent and boundaries, something often disregarded in the franchise.
The books promote full-on violence, including rape, at several points. Christian repeatedly goes past the boundaries of what Anastasia has agreed to, including having sex with her against her will (the literal definition of rape). He insults and berates her, and physically abuses her in a non-sexual or consensual context.
It is worth noting that the more violent and non-consensual aspects of the story were removed for the movie adaptations. This was done to give the movie an R-rating instead of NC-17, but also because the filmmakers probably recognized just how wrong those actions really were. However, supporting the movie supports the franchise as a whole, and normalizes the series’ “romantic” portrayal of an abusive relationship. Anastasia’s distrust of Christian is a central theme of the series, but the storyline is still obviously portrayed as romantic instead of frightening.
Christian Grey’s backstory involves an abusive childhood, causing him to have these violent desires and behaviour. This is not reflective of most BDSM practitioners, or those with abusive pasts, nor should it be romanticized. Christian Grey is an abusive partner with traits that are made out to be desirable instead of disturbing.
So many people who enjoy this franchise are inspired to do these things that are not normal or okay. The inaccuracy presented in the BDSM practices alone can lead to dangerous situations, and glamourizing abusive relationships encourages others to fall prey to this behaviour.
One should also avoid the Fifty Shades franchise as a whole, because quite frankly, it’s terrible. The writing is painfully boring and not sexy in any way, and the actors have been heavily criticized in their performances and chemistry. There’s very little to like about it, besides a soundtrack that’s actually pretty great. It may be hyped up and popular, but Fifty Shades is still terrible, and deeply problematic in so much of its portrayals of pretty much everything.