Fifty Shades of Rape Culture

Cover of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey

Let me start by saying I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey and I have no intention of reading it. I am not condemning those who have and those who enjoyed it. But I would like to rant a little about some of those coming out in condemnation of the book and movie. Some analysis of the movie and book has been quite thoughtful, quite well written, but the vast majority that has been snaking its way through my news feed is perpetuating rape culture and the repression of female sexuality.

One post that I have sadly seen more than once is entitled, A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People about Fifty Shades of Grey. Some of the points are valid; abuse is never good, women do not need to be meek to attract a mate and so forth. However, near the end the author commenting on sexual experimentation states “Maybe for adults in a healthy, long term, committed, monogamous relationship, AKA “marriage”. Otherwise, you’re at high risk for STDs, pregnancy, and sexual assault.”

No, no, no! Women experimenting and expressing their sexuality does not lead to sexual assault. Rapists are the cause of sexual assault. By all means, let’s encourage both men and women (as if pregnancy should only be a female concern) to practice safe sex, but let’s NOT encourage repression or suggest that if a female is sexually adventurous then she is the cause of an assault.

Yet another response that I have seen more than once is, Don’t Let ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Lead Your Daughter Astray: A Concerned Mother’s Response. The author states, “Pornography is not healthy for any relationship: Approximately forty million men currently watch pornography on a regular basis. Men who need to watch porn become addicted to it in order to achieve arousal. Soon your relationship won’t satisfy.”

It’s only men who watch porn or who want visual stimulation? I find it hard to believe that there are 40 million men who can no longer engage in relationships because only porn will get them off. Why is it so hard for us to accept that humans like sex and that is okay. And why is it so hard to believe that women want to express their sexuality, their desire. I mean, if women were as against porn and erotica as this author believes than Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t have been so popular.

Read Fifty Shades of Grey if you want, see the movie if you want, but please don’t tell women that we shouldn’t express our sexuality or that if we do, it will mean we were asking for it.