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Movie 50 Shades Glamorizing Domestic Violence?

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  • February 09, 2015
  • By domesticshelters.org
Movie 50 Shades Glamorizing Domestic Violence?

When the movie Fifty Shades of Grey hits theaters Feb. 13, there will undoubtedly be a plethora of fans ready to watch Christian Grey pull a blindfold over Anastasia Steele’s eyes and … well, you probably know the rest.

Based on the infamously popular series of “mommy porn” books by British author E.L. James, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, tickets for the movie version have already sold out in several cities. Now, one group is hoping you put your money elsewhere. A grassroots movement called “50 Dollars Not 50 Shades” is asking people to donate $50 to their local women’s shelter or domestic violence nonprofit instead of seeing a film they say glamorizes abusive relationships.

“Do something positive to offset the damage caused by 50 Shades,” organizers write on their Facebook page, “Take the money you'd have spent on tickets … and donate it to the real-life Anastasias.”

Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that while we all have the personal choice to make decisions regarding a BDSM (bondage and discipline, and sadomasochism) lifestyle, the issue at hand comes down to consent or, in the case of the book and movie, the lack thereof.

“The concern I have from the trailer is more about the manipulation and the coercion to do these things. Some people have that lifestyle and agree to it, and some people have been coerced into it,” says Glenn. “If there’s a lack of consent, then we’ve crossed that line into violence against women.

“It’s a little concerning that the movie is being accepted like the book is,” adds Glenn. “If we don’t have the discussion about what it means in the context of domestic violence, then we’re kind of saying that it is OK.” She says she’s more concerned about the younger audience of women interpreting the message as a love story, rather than as violence. “These subtle messages are sometimes more harmful.”

Some of the main character’s quotes from the book are repurposed onto movie-poster-like images on the group’s Facebook page. One reads, “Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone, remember?” To that, the 50 Dollars group writes, “Stalking is so hot and romantic.”

The dollar amount 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades has prompted people to donate so far is unknown, but they have gained more than 7,000 likes on Facebook since their Jan. 27 launch. Glenn knows movements like this won’t stop people from seeing the movie, but says she hopes it at least gets people talking. “We can use [the movie] to further a discussion about abuse and abuser’s tactics.”