The controversial 50 Shades of Grey movie was released on Friday, just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Whereas many people looked forward to what all the hype was about, others such as the London Abused Women’s Centre were against the abusive relationship it characterizes.
Megan Walker is the Executive Director at the London Abused Women’s Centre. She helped organize the international #50DollarsNot50Shades campaign asking people to donate $50 towards local women’s centres instead of supporting the film.
Walker says they are against the storyline because it promotes an abusive relationship where the main character, Christian Grey, exercises a variety of tactics to maintain control over the female lead, Anastasia Steele.
“We live in this ‘pornified’ culture now where the normalization and glamorization of sexual violence is so prevalent. So we’re asking people to think about that and to think about where else to put their funds to make a difference in the lives of women and children.”
He believes that the film explores an exciting area for BDSM. The audience is watching the film from a purely spectator position and does not fully understand Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s relationship.
“So they’re not a good judge of what that relationship is cause they don’t know all the details” says Dark Angel, “Megan is assuming because – oh that’s a female and she’s being spanked or tied up. Therefore it is against her will, and she’s being violated and there’s an assault happening.”
50 Shades of Grey is essentially about the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young, wealthy businessman, Christian Grey. It has explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism.
“The book is one snapshot of a type of BDSM relationship with a whole lot of fantasy thrown in” he says.
During Anastasia’s numerous sexual encounters throughout the film, the audience sees most of the action from Christian Grey’s point of view.
Dark Angel firmly believes violence against women is wrong and that a healthy BDSM relationship can exist by using contracts, safe words, being educated, and most importantly, through consent. However, he says that the way the LAWC is going about this campaign is all wrong.
“I think what she’s doing is pure advertising. She’s attempting to raise money to help those people, which is a worthy cause, by pointing out somebody else” he says, “but why does she have to use such negative advertising? Why does someone have to be bad, for you to be good, to help someone else.”
The movie has created controversy throughout the public, especially in defining consentual and dominant sex.
“Why is it that a movie that really normalizes men’s violence against women is considered to be entertaining?” says Walker who believes the money could go towards a better cause.
“All of the funds raised goes towards service delivery: direct service to women who require advocacy support and counselling.” says Walker. “Whatever you can donate instead of seeing that movie will definitely have an impact on delivery of service.”
Movie Trailer for 50 Shades of Grey: