Arts & Entertainment

‘Fifty Shades’ of Controversy

By: Allison Wisyanski ~Staff Writer~

“Fifty Shades of Grey” hit the box office on Valentine’s Day, setting new records for the highest grossing President’s Day weekend opener and ranking among the biggest R-rated debuts in history. According to the Associated Press, the movie set a record of $81.7 million from more than 3,646 locations over the three-day period. Variety reports that the movie’s ticket sales over the three day period hit $209 million and that the overall box office should reach $240 million.

With over 100 million copies of the book sold, it is no surprise that the movie lures in its readers as well as those who haven’t read the novel. Although both the novel and movie proved to be a success, controversy still arose regarding the subject matter.

Despite enormous box-office receipts, “Fifty Shades” received considerable criticism for graphic depictions of bondage and alternative sexual practice.

Despite enormous box-office receipts, “Fifty Shades” received considerable
criticism for graphic depictions of bondage and alternative sexual practice.

The sex in this film involves whips, chains, blindfolds and a submissive female partner who agrees to bondage and spanking behind closed doors.

Groups around the world are protesting against the movie, particularly Stop Porn Culture, an international feminist, anti-porn organization with branches in the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom.

“It’s a story of abuse, it’s a story of violence against women,” Gail Dines, founder and president of Stop Porn Culture, said. The campaign is entitled “#50DollarsNot50Shades,” which boycotts the movie and combats violence against women. At the campaign’s center is a call to donate $50 to a domestic violence shelter rather than purchasing movie tickets.

According to Dines, the film “rebrands violence as a romance. And what concerns us in society where 1 in 4 women are sexually abused we have a film that is eroticizing, glorifying and basically legitimizing violence against women.”

The movie, though, has its supporters, if not already obvious by its success in numbers. Fans of the novels come to the film’s defense, arguing that the stories are “sensually explicit depictions of a young woman’s sexual awakening.” E.L. James, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” author, responded to the critical backlash regarding the film adaptation.

“Domestic violence and rape are unacceptable. They are not entertaining in any way. Let me be absolutely clear. Everything that happens in this book is safe and consensual. What do I need to do to convince people?” James said in an interview with Associated Press.

No matter, the film is still raking in viewers and has the power of either pleasing or disturbing its audience.