50 Shades of Grey, the popular erotica series by E.L. James that has swept the world over the past two years, is being made into a movie. Reports that actor Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy and actress Dakota Johnson will be playing the lead roles have set the internet ablaze, with everyone weighing in on their love (or hate) of the choices.
I'm not familiar with either actor's work, so I'm not particularly moved in either way about the casting, though I know that Dakota Johnson has famous parents (Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson). Maybe this movie will propel their careers in a new, exciting direction.
Images: (c) D. Long/Globe Photos (left) and Dave Bedrosian/Future-Image/ZUMAPRESS
I am, quite honestly, more troubled that a movie is being made based on this series at all.
I can't stand this series. There, I said it.
As a woman who willingly, openly, and freely lives the BDSM (Bondage, Domination/Submission, Sadomasochism) lifestyle in what we refer to as "24/7" (or as a perpetual lifestyle versus occasional play time), I was very troubled by the themes of the series, particularly the clearly abusive nature of the relationship between Christian and Anastasia. I know that people were drawn to the series, and it was even referred to as "Mommy porn" (yuck!), but I truly hate that so many people walked away from that series with entirely wrong ideas about the BDSM lifestyle.
I had to read the series, as a writer of my own series, and because so many people criticized and praised it. I needed to see for myself what it was all about. It was awful. I'm sorry, but it wasn't very well-written and grew increasingly troublesome with every chapter. I was offended that this was being consumed by millions of readers whose views about my lifestyle were being clouded by it and somewhat bothered that people thought it was some "great" piece of literature. Granted, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and I respect people's rights to their own opinions. With that said, I'm wondering what anyone found entertaining or juicy about the amateurish writing, weak sex scenes, and suggestion that relationships based on sexual D/s (Dominant/submissive) dynamics are inherently abusive.
The BDSM lifestyle is not something to be endured or suffered through. It can be a rather exciting lifestyle that requires willing and informed consent from all parties. No one engaging in this way of living should do so begrudgingly or reluctantly; there's simply no room for that and 50 Shades... perpetuates the abuse meme that is unfortunately associated with the lifestyle. Being open about my participation in this lifestyle has been as freeing as the lifestyle itself; this is who I am and I am fiercely defensive against the ways in which people often poke at something so important to me.
Like everyone who rushed to the movies to see the Twilight series (upon which 50 Shades is said to have been based, as fan fiction), I anticipate people will flock to see the movie version of arguably the most popular series in the past couple of years. I caution people going to see it to open their minds a bit and understand that this is merely ONE person's fictional ideas about what goes on in BDSM-based relationships. If you've never known anyone involved, and have no other points of reference, I ask that you take it at face value and just watch it as (possibly) an entertaining movie.
BDSM has received an overwhelming amount of attention recently, having been propelled into the spotlight by the success of the books, but it is nothing new. People have been engaging in edgier forms of sexual play and relationship dynamics forever. For some, the books helped them identify some urges and feel comfortable sharing them. For others, the books further reinforced some of the negative stereotypes about the lifestyle and those people will never try anything remotely connected to it.
I love it. I love this life I live. It is fulfilling and satisfying in every way I need it to be. It isn't all of me, but it is significant enough a part that I will continue to challenge negative portrayals and misconceptions based on false stereotypes.
Have you read James' series? What did you think? Are you looking forward to the movie? What do you think about the casting?