Fifty Shades of Garbage: Why You Should Skip this Cinematic Abomination

Just when I thought I’d never have to hear about this trainwreck of a book again, they’ve apparently made a trainwreck of a movie out of it, and it’s coming out on Valentine’s Day. How… romantic?

Anyway, you shouldn’t watch this movie, and you should encourage everyone you know not to watch it either. Here’s why.

  1. It glorifies domestic violence. Lack of consent isn’t sexy, it’s abuse. When multiple domestic violence and anti-abuse groups tell you not to watch this movie, maybe you should listen.
  2. It irresponsibly depicts BDSM, while ignoring or directly contradicting every single core principle and rule of the BDSM community.
  3. The movie is based on a poorly-written book that was originally poorly-written Twilight fanfiction, on which the author then did a find/replace on the main characters’ names. Now, I can’t think of anything worse than Twilight fanfiction making its way to the big screen, except perhaps Twilight itself making it to the big screen, which already happened, and I’d like to forget about that forever, please.
  4. It’s insulting to women, not just in content, but in the marketing. This movie is being squarely aimed at the “housewives who get a sitter one night a month, then go out in groups to drink white Zinfandel and go to those painting classes where you all paint the same picture” crowd. And you know what? Even if you’re one of those women, you deserve better than this movie.
  5. It’s anti-feminism masquerading as empowerment, and there are an awful lot of women out there who can’t tell the difference. If anyone is letting this travesty of filmmaking determine their “empowerment,” that’s dangerous.
  6. Even the stars of this movie hate it. It’s like KStew and Robert Pattinson all over again. They can’t stand the sight of each other, they beg people with their dead eyes not to see this movie, and they say that making it was the worst experience of their lives. Sounds great, right?
  7. It’s not good. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to read or watch smut. The romance novel industry exists as evidence of that. But here’s the thing, if you want to read or watch smut, literally almost every single book or movie is better. One of my friends once made me read a novella* (short story? I’m not sure it deserves a classification) about a stuntman (?) who convinces his friend’s widow to order a sex robot (??), and then paints himself and makes good use of his various piercings (???), so he can to pretend to be the robot she ordered (????), and then they bone (!), and it was still better than Fifty Shades of Grey. If you want to watch softcore porn, watch softcore porn. The internet assures me that there’s plenty of it out there, and I can promise 90% of it has better screenwriting, pizza delivery man trope or not.
  8. No matter what happens at the box office, it sets a bad precedent. If it does well, more horrible movies like this one are going to get made. (See: Twilight‘s box office sales allowing this abomination to get greenlit.) If it doesn’t make one single penny in sales (a girl can dream), the studios will use it as a data point that “women’s movies” don’t do well, and good, female-led films will end up being passed by. We can’t win.
  9. Because it can’t be said enough: it normalizes and romanticizes behavior that is abusive. It’s not “edgy,” it’s not BDSM, it’s not “every woman’s fantasy come true”; it’s making every woman who doesn’t know better excuse away abusive behavior like stalking, gaslighting, and controlling every move they make, and it’s making being abusive easier for a whole lot of men.

*Her Very Special Robot. Alas, Amazon doesn’t have it anymore; that shit was hilarious. – Hillary

11 replies on “Fifty Shades of Garbage: Why You Should Skip this Cinematic Abomination”

What made me angry about 50 Shades was the pretentiousness of it all. Twilight works if you read it as a retelling of familiar stories covered in high school (Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, even Jane Eyre), and Fifty Shades references the works Twilight did and even has the audacity to reference Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I nearly threw my Kindle across the room. I was like, Did you even READ Tess?

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