Warnings have come from all quarters – domestic violence groups, women's rights advocates, social conservatives, and religious leaders. And all of them are urging the American people to boycott the film and to help counter the media firestorm promoting this glamorization of abuse.
“People are really upset about this movie and its potential for glamorizing stalking and abusive behavior," Jill at Stop Porn Culture and Jen at London Abused Women's Centre told The Washington Times last week. Jill and Jen are part of the larger #50DollarsNot50Shades coalition that is urging people to donate $50 to domestic violence shelters and agencies instead of spending the money at movie theaters.
In "Fifty Shades of Grey," billionaire Christian Grey is portrayed as a powerhouse with a perfect physique who becomes obsessed with innocent and awkward Anastasia. The story plays out with him stalking, harassing, and physically harming Anastasia during their
sexually violent relationship.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation and battered women's shelters point out that this is what police call domestic violence.
And according to the Journal on Women’s Health, the relationship in Fifty Shades of Grey maps directly onto a relationship rife with domestic violence. Emotional abuse, including humiliation, intimidation and isolation, combined with the sexual and physical abuse does not make for the romantic fairy tale that Hollywood is pushing.
We already know that porn is linked to sexual abuse, and there is a tendency for men to act out what they see on the screens. It is for this reason that many women have voiced alarm over increasingly violent porn.
"The biggest sex educator of young men today is pornography," says Wheelock College professor and American Studies chair Dr. Gail Dines. Dines, a self-described feminist, noted that porn is "increasingly violent and dehumanizing, and it changes the way men view women."
Like drugs and alcohol, pornography eventually requires a bigger hit – and in porn films, that is increasingly becoming a literal occurrence. According to the director of a pornography documentary, "of the top 250 bestselling porn movies, a high percentage depict violence against women."
In America, pornography is often said to be the epitome of freedom for women. However, empirical data shows this is merely a facade promoted by the porn industry, which ignores the physical, emotional, and psychological harm pornography causes to women, children, men, families, and society at large.
Grassroots opposition to the message of "Fifty Shades of Grey" is growing. More than 75,000 people have signed a LifeSiteNews petition boycotting the film, and more sign on every day. Just this week, a five-member coalition was launched to oppose the film's message. Members include LifeSiteNews, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the Family Research Council, the Media Research Center, and Counter Cultured.
"'Fifty Shades of Grey' gives Millennials a poor representation of what true love is all about, as it promotes abuse, narcissism, and misogyny," said Counter Cultured co-founders Gabriella and Anna-Maria Hoffman. Like millions of others, these Millennial women recognize that "Fifty Shades of Grey" may have been released on Valentine's Day weekend, but represents a twisted form of love that dehumanizes women and twists the hearts of men.
Mark our words: the rate of violent sexual assault will surely rise with this film.
Dawn Hawkins is the Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. NCSE works to expose the seamless connections between all forms of sexual exploitation. http://EndSexualExploitation.org/
John-Henry Westen is a co-founder of Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups that defends life and family in the media. He is also a co-founder of LifeSiteNews.com, a leading daily news website on life and family issues.