Disclaimer: This post mentions topics involving consensual sexual violence. Not suitable for individuals under eighteen years of age. Reader discretion is advised.
Good evening lovelies,
Not so long ago and following the release of the controversial movie, I wrote my post, 15 Thoughts On 365 DNI. I had so much fun doing this post that I wanted to write something similar for Fifty Shades Of Grey. I realise that this movie is now more than 5 years old, but hey. People still talk about it pretty frequently, so when in Rome…
Before we get stuck in, let me just rehash over something that I mention a lot on my blog. I am not somebody who is new to the BDSM community and I did not come to explore the kinky lifestyle because of Fifty Shades Of Grey. BDSM is not new to me, I have been exploring it with my husband for more than 14 years. I have a lot of understanding about safety, tastes, interests, challenges and so on. I am not bringing you this post as someone who is criticising a movie as a newcomer, I am coming to you as someone who has lived this lifestyle for several years.
With that being said, please understand that this is my opinion and I am not expecting you to agree or disagree. Some people loved it, some people loathed it and that’s perfectly okay.
This post has a bit of double significance as today is also Mr Wolfie’s birthday. As one part of his birthday present, I decided to give him a little bit (more) control and I’d let him choose what I wrote about on my blog today. I was nervous about what he would pick, but having seen this topic on my schedule, he decided it would be my post for today – so here we are!
So, without further ado, pick your seat, grab the popcorn (by the way, are you a sweet or salty person? Let me know in the comments!) and come join me.
1. Falling For Christian
Let’s just begin with the way that Dakota Johnson trips and falls into Christian’s (played by Jamie Dornan) office. If you’ve read the book, she trips over the edge of the door frame, but Dakota quite obviously threw herself to the floor. As somebody who has done a little bit of acting myself, it was badly done. I’m not sure how it could have been done better without Dakota causing herself a personal injury, but I’m sure there’s a way. We’re talking about a movie with an unimaginable budget. Dummies, stunt doubles, anything? There must have been a way.
Not too much further into the movie, Dakota has forgotten her pen to take notes. Having realised this, she sits on her chair and looks around her. To make it just as bad, Christian, without a word, realises what she’s missing, picks up a pencil and hands it to her. If he can read minds that early on, he really is something to watch out for. He then saunters around the office and charms Anastasia with his overbearing confidence. Ugh, already?
2. Christian’s Forward Personality
“I could just take all of my clothes off” Christian offers as Ana suggests coveralls during her shift at Clayton’s hardware store. Woah, buddy! In the real world, that amounts to sexual harassment. He’s smirking and very proud of himself yet Ana is clearly flustered by the comment which amuses Christian even more, but in the real world, she would have (or should have) slapped him. Such a comment is highly inappropriate, especially to someone you’ve only last met in a professional setting.
3. Jose Doesn’t Respect Ana’s Refusal
A lot of people are quick to chew out Christian Grey, but really, it was Jose Rodriguez (Played by Victor Rasuk) that got to me. Later on in the movie, Ana had had too much alcohol to celebrate the end of her exams and she steps outside of the nightclub to get some air. When she does, José steps in and repeatedly tries to make a move on a very drunk Anastasia, even though she says no. Perhaps a redeeming point here, but Christian steps in, pushes Jose off and tells him very sternly “Dude, she said no!”. At least, that would be, if he hadn’t tracked down Anastasia’s phone.
4. Christian’s Inappropriate Remarks
Having woken up from a drunken night out, Anastasia finds herself in a bed at the Heathman Hotel, when who should walk in but Christian Grey. Immediately, Christian is all over Ana with his mysterious and overbearing ways. “If you were mine, you wouldn’t sit right for a week,” he tells her, stealing a bite of the toast he buttered for her in the process. I get it, flirting and stuff is one thing, but us kinky people would never say something like that, not until we’re long sure that it will be well received, it’s just creepy.
5. The Added Paperwork
Before we talk about the piece de resistance, let’s just talk about the Non-Disclosure Agreement. Most people who are into BDSM don’t have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (or an “NDA”) because, to be honest, most people just don’t care what you’re into. BDSM is not the taboo underground secret that it used to be, and in part, it’s thanks to films like Fifty Shades Of Grey that have bought this lifestyle into the limelight and made it a little more mainstream. You’re kinky? Join the club!
6. It’s A Nice Red Room, But..
Okay, so we all know we came here to talk about Christian’s Red Room Of Pain. You know, it’s a nice touch, but it’s also so, so.. yawn. Every BDSM movie has some kind of dungeon, some kind of space designated solely for doing the kinky stuff, yet in reality, that’s just not feasible for a vast majority of people. A lot of us do not have rooms adapted and converted with all of our toys beautifully laid out on display, that’s just a pipeline dream. BDSM often takes place in a bedroom, surrounded by odd socks, children’s clothes and piles of unorganised filing. If I have time to organise the bedroom prior to an evening of our kinky shenanigans, its been a good day.
While we’re on this topic, a little later in the movie, Christian shows Anastasia a bedroom where all of his submissives sleep because he doesn’t sleep with them. If there was one thing that made me feel like banging my head against the wall, it’s that. If Anastasia (or any submissive) is sleeping in a separate room where she can be going through all kinds of negative emotions without support from her Dominant, then she is a sex slave and worse, that borders on sexual abuse. The physical, psychological and often spiritual connection between a Dominant and a submissive is intense. The only time either party should sleep alone is when they want to if that is what is agreed upon. Most kinky couples just don’t forgo that contact after a session, it’s just so crucial. Even long-distance couples find a way to make it work!
7. Christian Really Does Care About Consent
Look, I’ve watched this movie at least seven times now and so many people like to criticize Cristian Grey as this abusive control freak, well, that’s your opinion. Anastasia asks Christian “do you do this to women or do women do this to you?” and Christian replies “I do this to women, with women, women who want me to”. He can be overbearing with his controlling and protecting, but when it comes to BDSM, consent is key.
8. But Taking Ana’s Virginity Was Wrong
Okay, so the ensuing sex scene is nothing as graphic as it is in 365 DNI, but’s still awkward. Ana admits she’s never tried anything sexual before and Christian is shocked. He tries pressing her for more information and discovers that Anastasia is still a virgin. Surprised, he takes her to bed to “rectify the situation”, to which, and rightly so, Ana challenges him with “I’m a situation now?”. I cannot express this enough, you should only ever have sex because you want to. Regardless of what Christian showed Ana, he had no right to decide that her virginity was his for the taking.
9. Not Every Kinky Perspon Has A Troubled Past
Christian is, according to the story, a tortured soul. His mother died when he was four and his father was abusive. Burnt, neglected and malnourished, Christian eventually fell into the care of his adoptive parents, Carrick and Grace Trevelyan-Grey. If there is one thing that is so frustrating a BDSM practitioner, it’s the idea that we need BDSM to in some way make up for a mistreated part of ourselves. People are drawn to BDSM for all kinds of reasons, let’s not tar us all with the same brush. I personally had very loving, even too loving parents. I’m not drawn to this lifestyle to be abused or to abuse others, I’m here because there is oh so much freedom in giving up control.
10. Christian IS Stalkerish And Controlling
It’s undeniably troubling that Christian knows where Ana works, lives, and he sends her gifts. It’s creepy when he tracks her phone but Christian takes it to a whole other level with Ana’s car. Christian despises Wanda, Anastasia’s Volkswagen Beetle. To him, it’s old and unsafe and he absolutely refuses to allow Anastasia to drive it, so, whilst Anastasia is elsewhere, Christian has his bodyguard, Taylor, sell Wanda and makes an Audi R8 appear in its place. Once again, Christian had absolutely no right to do that, and moreover, a vast majority of Dominants cannot afford to make such a grandiose gesture. It might have looked sweet, but actually, it’s incredibly controlling. In BDSM relationships, we have this handy little thing called communication. If Christian was concerned for Ana’s safety, he could have said something to her, not made Wanda the centre of his very own disappearing trick. Bad Christian, very, very bad.
11. The Contract, And The Meeting That Follows
So much happens here, some good, some bad, some weird, some incredibly hot. First of all, let’s talk about the contract. I know a lot of BDSM couples, and I don’t know one couple who have anything remotely close to Christian’s BDSM contract. “The submissive agrees to procure oral contraceptives from the physician of the Dominant’s choosing”. What kind of sh*t is this?! No, no, no and just no. My doctor is a very good doctor. Pretty blunt, but good at what she does. I do not want nor need a different physician, thankyou, and least of all not one that my romantic partner has chosen. Again with that controlling behaviour. The contract is excessive and restrictive and not at all like the ones probably all BDSM couples have. There are rules, but rules about how to behave, not what doctor you see.
As for the meeting, the meeting scene was, until Christian went and made it weird, pretty hot. Ana clearly states what she will or will not consider, she is argumentative and strong and more credit to her. I did groan when she asked “what are butt plugs?” but hey, we all start somewhere. Wrapping up the meeting, Christian asserts himself again with “I would like to f*ck you into the middle of next week.” WHY?!
12. Christian Forgets To Check In With Ana
Maybe it’s just me, but the first time Ana and Christian head back into the Red Room, there was one tiny little thing that was missing, but it is so, so vitally important. Before jumping into the bondage and spankings and all of the things that we kinky people enjoy, he doesn’t ask Anastasia two absolutely crucial questions – “Are you ready to begin?”, and “what is your safeword?”. I just.. no. It could be so erotic and sensual, but the fact that Christian, a self-purported Dominant, fails to take this simple but critical step is just a failure outright. Ahead of every scene, Mr Wolfie always checks with me that I know my safeword and I am ready to begin our session, long before he even selects his first toy. If the answer to either question is “no”, we do not carry on.
13. Communication Is A Big Issue For Ana & Christian
Christian’s parents invite Ana to a family dinner and Ana drops the bombshell that she’s flying back to Montesano to visit her mother. Christian is mad because of it, or rather he is, in fact, “palm-twitchingly mad”. He hoists Anastasia over his shoulder and spanks her as he marches towards the boathouse. Yikes!
It’s here that the cracks begin to appear in Ana and Christian’s relationship. Ana wants to be able to touch Christian, but Christian won’t have it and he won’t tell her why. At the same time, the fact that Christian resorts to physical punishment over a lack of communication is an issue. A lack of communication should, really, involve a discussion, not a spanking. I wanted to scream at them both to slow down as they were clearly moving far, far too fast, for either of them.
14. But The Movie Shows That It’s Not All About BDSM
One of my favourite parts of this movie actually comes in the gliding scene. Why? Because it captures the fact that BDSM relationships are a lot more than just BDSM. Even those who only play together on a casual basis have a formidable friendship outside of BDSM, and those of us who are romantically involved also have a plethora of non-sexual interests to share outside the bedroom. Not only, but the movie captures that we can have a normal job and, gasp, a sense of humour. Okay, so it’s highly unlikely that a CEO will be Dominant (a vast majority in high-ranking roles prefer to give up control) but asides from that, it’s not too bad. When BDSM relationships are all about the BDSM, they can quickly disintegrate into boredom and disinterest. It’s almost as if you need all of the other shared interests and life troubles to keep your relationship feeling real, imagine that?
15. Ana Was Just As Guilty As Christian For The Relationship’s Demise
Towards the end of the movie, Christian is angry about a break-in at his office and Ana, for her part, continues to push him. Ana asks him if he wants to punish her “right now” and Christian says yes, so, after more of a heated argument, Anastasia says “show me then, show me how bad it can be”. Ana winds up bound in the Red Room again where Christian belts Anastasia six times, instructing her to count each strike. Ana sobs through each strike then storms out of the room, tell Christian “don’t f*cking touch me!”. Ana reveals to Christian that she loves him but she can’t be submissive for him, and she walks out the next day. In true cliffhanger fashion, the very last scene we see is Ana’s face as the elevator doors close and she utters “Christian”, then the end credits roll.
Again, I want to emphasise here how much this was about her as it was about him. Again, Christian did not check that Ana knew her safeword, and Ana did not think to say it. We have safewords and in BDSM, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using them. I’ve safeworded before, it doesn’t make you weak, it just means that something went wrong or wasn’t quite how you expected it would be. As a bonus point, it’s also hard to say that Christian is the abuser when Ana quite literally asked for it. If you don’t know how intense your play partner can get, don’t push for it. A lot of us are still discovering the very extent of our limits. If you think you know all there is to know about kink, I guarantee that something will still come along to surprise you. Even I’m still learning every day!
I personally enjoyed Fifty Shades Of Grey, but I enjoyed it a lot more for the bits that weren’t the BDSM. The music is good and upbeat and, if you want a casual romantic movie with some kinky bits, it’s the perfect movie to watch. What “good” BDSM looks like will vary wildly between people, and I don’t think that anyone can really judge what is or is not a good example of BDSM because really, none of them are. I’ve watched a lot of BDSM movies and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I didn’t enjoy Secretary, The Pet or The Story Of O, I found the submissives too.. err.. submissive. For me, Fifty Shades Of Grey was a welcome reprieve. Ana speaks her mind, she pushes back and that’s what I love about her. At her heart though, Ana wants nothing more than to make Christian happy – is that not a perfect submissive after all?
One Final Question
Any time I hear critical thoughts on this movie, I can’t help but wonder one very clear and resounding question: If the roles were reversed, what would the critics say? If Anastasia was the Dominant partner and Christian Grey was the submissive, how would this movie rate? In a world where we strive for equality and feminism, would such a movie rate higher? I’ve written about submission and feminism before and it is important to note that people like me give our consent for the treatment that we receive. Maybe this movie would never have been perfect regardless of roles, but would the ratings change?
Alright lovelies, I hope you enjoyed this very in-depth thought on this movie. Have you seen Fifty Shades Of Grey? What points do you agree with? What do you disagree with? Why?
As always, I love reading and replying to you.
Until next time!
Stay safe & have fun,