Fifty shades of misrepresentation

The cast of Fifty Shades of Grey has been announced, and I’m as disappointed with the casting as I was with the book.

Let me begin. It’s no secret that I enjoy BDSM. I’ve been in the “lifestyle” for years now, and it has given me many new experiences and even a new way of thinking about sex and how sexual acts can be as mentally stimulating as they can be physically.

Suddenly, BDSM was thrust into the mainstream with Fifty Shades of Grey and no one could stop talking about it—even Barbara Walters openly spoke about bondage on The View (if you don’t believe me, YouTube the episode; but I’m warning you—you can’t un-live that awkwardness).

I was genuinely excited about the recognition that BDSM was receiving. I thought, “Finally, we can be more accepted about our lifestyle!” So I read the book myself to see what all the hype was about. Perhaps I had higher, unrealistic expectations about the so-called “sexy, eye-opening” book. What I found disappointed me beyond all expectations.

Instead of finding an accurate description about the lifestyle, I found a book that boasted, if not promoted control, mental and emotional abuse, and a woman too desperate to please a man. To sum up the book: a young woman meets a wealthy, yet formerly abused man who attempts to make her his “sexual submissive.” The female character lives in constant fear of both his physical and mental abuse, but continues to see him.

I found myself so frustrated that I threw the book across the room! I want to be very clear in writing this–BDSM is not about abuse. BDSM is about losing or taking control with your partner and trusting them enough to do so. BDSM relationships are different than the “power neutral” relationships that are more common in the bedroom. The participants engaging in unequal sexual roles characterize BDSM, usually one as a dominant and one as a submissive.

As a submissive, my dominant controls me in the bedroom, not in life. We take an equal stand outside of our sexual roles. There is no emotional or mental abuse, and if there were, it would not have a direct correlation to BDSM.

I want to please my partner, but never at the expense of myself. The female character in Fifty Shades loses herself in the quest to please her dominant, which is not healthy in any kind of relationship.

I want to take a stand and say that Fifty Shades is not an accurate description of the lifestyle and should not be taken seriously as such. In any sexual relationship there needs to be a healthy, consensual power play. Mental, emotional or sexual abuse should never be tolerated, no matter what your fetishes are.

1 Comment

  1. Hi there. And great article that more people should read! Especially those who still insist that these, ahem, “books” (I don’t like to call them that; from reviews I’ve read of it, the writing is so atrocious in them that to call it a “book” would be insulting other books with actual good writing–which is what a book should have in the first place!) are about “BDSM.” The (hopefully) soon-to-be-a-flop movie will be coming out in a month; maybe you can re-publish this article asap to hopefully maybe get some people who are choosing to see the movie to change their minds.

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