Dear Fellow Mother,
Today I found your letter to your children regarding the "drivel" that is 50 Shades of Grey. I challenge you to read the following with an open mind.
You say that these are the things this story is not:
It is not a love story.
It does a pretty convincing job of masquerading as one, for sure, but
please believe me when I say that love doesn’t even have a cameo role
in this plot.
It is also not a romantic fairytale with a harmless bit of naughtiness sprinkled on top.
After reading your viewpoints, I pose this question to you :
Have you read these books?
No? Well, feel free to consider my perception as I have done yours.
You're correct. This is not a love story. It is so much more than that, as those of us who have read and re-read will be able to tell you. In a world that has been filled with fairy tale princes and women's oppression, this book gave us a refreshing spin on the traditional romance. This story does not rely on wooing and the romantic submission of a man who fell hard in love at first sight. This series is more about growth, understanding, healing, and compromise - the real things that make a love story worth living rather than just reading.
To prove my point, a brief synopsis of the book. Christian Grey was born to a crack addict and tortured for the first four years of his life. While he wasn't able to fully remember this time, the scars alone were enough to torment him later in life. After being adopted by the Greys, his demons caught up to him and he began to act out in his formative years. This is when his sexual proclivities are learned, through yet another abusive situation. Unfortunately, a predator wearing the mask of a family friend felt it was her "duty" to show him more pleasurable outlets for his primitive urges. He became her submissive in his teens, and thus learned that sex was not limited to missionary positions and tender touches.
If you think this stuff doesn't happen, you might live in a world where the grass is blue and clouds are made of cotton candy. Refusing to read such tragedy does not mean it doesn't exist, it means you choose to turn a blind eye to it. I don't judge, though. I myself prefer to avoid all news correspondence because the world is a terrible place.
Returning to my point, Christian is intrigued by Anastasia, and feels she could satisfy his dominant needs if he shows her her own submissive nature. This is where the synopsis changes to my opinions. Christian, in the beginning, believes that he needs the cuffs and punishment to maintain control that he often didn't have growing up. The idea of this gives him pleasure, but I believe only because he was groomed that way by "Mrs. Robinson". The more time he spends with Anastasia, the more he realizes that it is really NOT all about his pleasure, a concept that - let's face it - not all men (or even women) ever grasp. The love is not there immediately, it develops through Anastasia's tenderness and struggle to see things from his perspective. As he sees her efforts, he returns them in kind. Both parties make efforts to please the other by bending their will.
This is what I took from this book. Christian faced his demons and coped the only way he'd really ever been taught, and Anastasia showed him it wasn't the only way. In my reality, the dream relationship is one where each individual is willing to bend rather than force change upon the other for their own selfish unwillingness to change.
You say you hope that your children never witness this "drivel" and that they learn the "proper" way to enjoy and appreciate sex. I say, I hope they see this for what's it's worth, when they are old enough to view it maturely.
I'm not saying that I am going to pop the movie in the moment it's released and watch it with my 5 and 3 year old. What I'm saying is that it is not my responsibility to shield my children from what some may view as distasteful. It is my responsibility to open my children's minds to what others may feel and not encourage them to judge negatively. I want them to be aware that people may think differently than them, and their imaginations may take them to different places than they would go on their own. I would rather make it a point to teach them it's about imagination and the appreciation of human life, than allow them to believe that the words and views of others dictate their behaviors, beliefs, and morals.
Only you can control the way your children view these things. And if you choose to not allow them to ever see this, and if you are of a mind that does not enjoy these things, I do not judge you. You are entitled to your opinions. But, please grant me the same courtesy. Don't tear me down or cast me in the role of demented sycophant just because you don't see things the way I do.
A Different Kind of Mother