Unless Fifty Shades of Grey ends with the chick exacting revenge on Mr. Grey by nailing his stuff to the barn door, I’m not interested. Actually, even if if did end that way, I wouldn’t be interested. I hate scenes of violence, bondage, torture, oppression, subjugation, imprisonment, gross displays of male power over women as well as acquiescence and cooperation with same. I won’t debate the concept of consenting adults being free to do what they like. Of course, they are. But I would beg the question under what circumstances and promise or threat of regard is one person suffering pain to make another person fulfilled. Does this hurt? Are we just acting?
To me, a throwback to the feminist 70’s, the personal is still the political. What incredible powers of compartmentalization does it take to be a ‘feminist’ at work and then come home to the spanking bench? And to those who say that true feminism means the freedom to choose to be spanked, I say, oh please.
Feminism was never just about women’s 58 cents to men’s dollar or 64 cents or whatever it was (and is). Feminism was never just about the incredible gender-based opportunity and economic disparities. It was about the essential power dynamic between men and women in which women were, in a day to day sense, in a lesser position about everything, including sex. The imbalance made women angry and frustrated once Betty Friedan put a label on it and told them they weren’t nuts.
So now Fifty Shades is drawing huge crowds. So cute that it was available as a Valentine’s Day date. Millions of couples will walk out of theaters across the country and wonder if the bungee cords they have at home will do or whether they really have to buy new equipment. Because men are so smart, they will realize that Fifty Shades is just a movie and that nothing they saw has anything to do with their own ideas or tastes. Nothing. Women and their friends will get in their cars, flush with their sense of sexual liberation. It’s so post-feminism, they will think, so beyond the pedestrian sexual liberation of our mothers.
Maybe they’re right. I just don’t get it. Maybe my aging mind just isn’t agile enough to see oppression as freeing. Maybe I’m not sufficiently evolved. It’s happened before that I got stuck in some old, archaic anger about an injustice or inequality and younger people had to school me on what’s what.
So I’m all ears. Tell me how I should be thinking about this. Bring me up to speed. I’m waiting.