Friday, February 13, 2015

Quick Takes: 50 Shades of BS



I wasn't going to talk about it. I just wasn't. But now I'm going to. And not because pornography is anything new (there is plenty of it out there to protest), but because this particular bit of porn is just so mainstream and so popular -- heck, I see Christian women giddily anticipating this movie!




1) I mean, what a crappy thing to have to associate with St. Valentine's Day. A badly acted adaptation of badly written books about the objectification of a young virginal woman by an older billionaire with a lot of... issues. BDSM: Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism. Pornography for the mainstream. Terrific. Happy Valentine's Day!


2) I may not want to talk about this movie, but the actors have to, and they don't much seem to like this filth they made, either. Good news! It appears their consciences are still working on some level. Let's take a listen to what lead actor Jamie Dornan has to say about his "research" for the role, and then his application of said research:
After visiting the sex dungeon and returning home to his wife and daughter, he admits, “I had a long shower before touching either of them.” In fact, the dichotomy between his life as a family man, and what he was being asked to do on set, seems to have bothered him quite a lot. "The first day [of filming] was kind of an out-of-body experience. I got there and they said, 'Action!' I’m like, 'What the f--k is happening? I’m a dad. What?'" 
And then, about the actual process of shooting the BDSM sex scenes: “There were times when [lead actress] Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman.” And then, most cringeworthy, in an interview with Glamour, he observed that while he has “played a couple of sick, sick dudes, serial killers…and characters who don’t treat women the way society deems  appropriate,” still, “Christian [Note: that would be the romantic heartthrob that apparently millions of women are fantasizing over] was a massive challenge.”
Fabulous, no?

Now let's hear from the lead actress, Dakota Johnson, who is hoping that maybe no one actually goes to see the movie:
“I don’t want my family to see it, because it’s inappropriate. Or my brother’s friends that I grew up with. Also there’s part of me that’s like, I don’t want anyone to see this movie. Just kidding.”
Haha. Yeah. Just kidding.
Except maybe not. “Sometimes I did walk off the set feeling a bit shell-shocked,” she told Glamour, admitting that while shooting the sex scenes, “there were some painful moments.” “I got whiplash once from him throwing me on the bed; so f--king painful.” And just in case you thought that maybe there was something sexy about shooting a sex scene. Nope. Definitely not. "It's just sweaty and it's not very comfortable. And on top of that, my hands and legs were tied, and I was blindfolded, and I was being hit with this bizarre tool. ... It was emotionally taxing. At first I was like, 'Oh my God, this is the worst thing ever,' and then I was like, 'All right, let's get on with it.'"
But no worries. “The drive home from work always helped me snap out of it. And a big glass of wine.”

Okay, then.

Like I said, there are still two working consciences in there somewhere.



"Who is interested, as a woman, in reading about abuse? Why have these books taken off if they are about abuse?" said James, who discussed the film with the AP over the weekend. "Domestic violence, 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?"
I don't know, Ms. James. Apparently you can't even convince your own lead actors. 

So, does this really need saying? Just because a sin or an exploitation or an abuse or an objectification is "consensual" does not mean it's moral or right or good. We know this, don't we?

And really, Ms. James? You had to go and name the main character "Christian"? Weird. 


4) Okay, so we all know -- on some level -- how slimy, sick, and uncomfortable this all is. But then why do so many women seem to be going crazy over these books and this kind of fantasy? I think Dr. Greg Popcak is on to something:

St John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body reminds us that receptivity is an essential characteristic of femininity.  A healthy woman can be strong, competent, capable, and powerful, but still want a man to to love her, take care of her, and, yes, to lead. The secular feminist culture seeks to prohibit women from expressing this desire for natural, healthy submission, in which the woman wants a man to cherish and care for her, in which a woman allows herself to be vulnerable–in the healthiest sense of that word–to a man. 
But that receptive impulse is so much a part of the feminine character that it cannot be denied. Attempt to repress it will result in that desire for receptivity being expressed in distorted ways. As I’ve pointed out previously, dominance is Satan’s counterfeit of  healthy submission. Where a dynamic of healthy mutual submission is denied, dominance will emerge. Poorly formed men will seek to seek to dominate women and poorly formed women will willingly submit to being dominated–just like the female protagonist of 50 Shades. 
The point is, what 50 Shades powerfully reveals is that women want more. They want to be able to stop having to be powerful all the time. To be in charge all the time. To have to take care of everyone and everything all by themselves all the time. They want to be able to lay down their defenses, to stop having to pretend that they can be everything to everyone, and to just be vulnerable for a change. But they don’t know there is a healthy way to do that. They don’t know where to look for it. And the best they can do is fantasize about someone who will come into their lives and force them to give up the control they never really wanted in the first place.

Radical feminism has not served us well, ladies. And we know this. 


“I wonder what it is about this set of books that has, excuse my pun, penetrated the global market. Mass appreciation doesn't always equate to something good. Think of Hitler! But I think, in this case, it must. It simply must. There's got to be merit in it if so many people agree.

Talk about trying to justify evil and get around one's own conscience! Wow! And I wonder how many people who read the book and go to the movie will use the same line of justification? Professor J. Budziszewski explains that those with guilty consciences must seek companions as guilty as themselves, seeking not to become just, but to justify.



6) I can get behind these shades of grey, though!





7) And since I cannot bring myself to put any innocent children on the same page as a discussion of mainstream pornography, I will end by giving you a little info about St. Valentine to cleanse your palate! 
Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs [of] the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. 
One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."

St. Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriage. Oh, and of beekeepers! :)



St. Valentine, pray for us! 





38 comments:

  1. These confessions from the "50 Shades" actors actually brightened my morning! Maybe we're not as far gone as we like to pretend to be. 50 Shades of Hope!

    And Happy Valentine's Day, Mrs. Miller! :)

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  2. Amen Leila! Amen! I fear for the souls who will be severely damaged after they watch this movie! Praying!

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  3. I read a post where a woman picked apart the book. I had no idea it was as bad as it was. I thought, yeah, smut, okay, but the actual rundown of the abuse and crap in that book?! WOW!I had to stop reading just the post about it, it was that bad.

    I cannot believe I have Christian friends who read that filth and thought it was wonderful and who are seeing the book. It makes me sick that this is so mainstream.

    St. Valentine, pray for us!

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  4. I have purposely stayed away from all the 50 Shades of Gray not to bury my head in the sand (it has to be dealt with and people have to speak up), only because I have head enough to know that it's pornography. So sickening. I don't understand what the point is.

    I am glad you are speaking up, Leila. I literally have nothing to say about it, I am just dumbfounded over the whole thing. There are just no words. If I should hear anyone saying they want to see the movie though, I hope the right words will come to me. For now, I am just glad others are speaking up against it. Hopefully people will listen.

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  5. 'Where sin abounds, grace also...', there's a Christian antidote to this poison. We should
    support an uplifting movie opening in select cities: Old Fashioned. Chivalry is alive and well in this courtship; Plugged In gives it a very good review..

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  6. As to the book, I know that several women (moms w/ kids) passed it around and shared it. No sense of shame for them. It is just the latest topic for them to giggle and gab about. They are the Oprah- type audience, though, so they grab whatever is popular simply because ... it's popular. I don't think an ounce of thought (morally or otherwise) goes into their choice making. It's all about "what's trending now". Can you see my derp face?

    It was priceless, though, when they brought it up in front of me. But I love weird, uncomfortable social or intellectual challenges. Ohgaw. Helpme. lol

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  7. Archie, agreed! Maggie, great suggestion! And Nubby, ha ha, I'd love to watch you in any real life conversations! :)

    Here's some food for thought that really stops the fans cold, I hear. Ask them if they want their son to be like Christian Grey, or if the would like their daughters to date Christian Grey. Silence is usually the response. ha.

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  8. I share your disgust regarding this film, Leila. But it's important to remember, that unfortunately, 50 SOG is only one of an endless number of violent films out there that that train young people to become immune to violence. So destructive.

    And I disagree with Popcak's analysis ( and I definitely disagree with the idea that feminism is to blame). There are large numbers of men to who pay women to dominate them (a "dominatrix") via physical abuse, humiliation, etc. (I'm not speaking from personal experience!) It's a dark and bizarre part of the human (not just female) psyche that I've never understood.

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  9. Johanne, understood, except that the audience clamoring for these books and this movie are not generally men (by a longshot). They are women. I totally agree with him that woman are tired of being "men" and this type of "fantasy" makes sense in our culture, where everything good (including our natures as male and female) are distorted.

    It is good to see many feminists up in arms about this.

    And to me, sexual violence (getting sexually turned on by violence and domination and objectification) is a whole different animal than "regular" violence. I don't put them in the same category at all. If a man were to get into a fist fight, that is very different than if a man ties up a woman and gets forceful even to the point of rape, and he is sexually aroused by that. Very different animals.

    My sons have watched plenty of violence on TV and movies, but have not become violent people at all. If they watched sado-masochistic porn? I would venture to guess that they would become VERY messed-up young men and their wives would be in a world of hurt and sickness. I don't care one whit if my sons-in-law watch violent movies. I care a lot if they are watching sado-masochistic porn. I hope you can see the difference.

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  10. A review of the book by a Christian feminist:
    http://davidbunce.com/fifty-shades-of-grey-reviewed-by-simple-bible-reading-feminist/

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  11. Yes I do see the difference; and I agree. Although the sexual violence in SOG is extreme, there are shades of it in many movies. By "young people" I meant children and teens. I think ingesting large amounts of media-portrayed violence, sexual or not, is really dangerous for young people.

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  12. Johanne, thank you for the link, and she is right! Good article.

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  13. The Proposal (hand on proposee's derriere optional): "Hello, Gorgeous! Delighted to meet you! How about we go back to my place, I beat you up, you agree not to tell, love me back, and come back tomorrow for some more?"

    (P.S. Driving back from church just now, the weather report on the radio was sponsored by 50 SOG. Sunny skies, love in the air, and half price entry to the local dungeon this Valentines' weekend).

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  14. Good gracious, Uju is reporting that this perversion from the West has infiltrated Africa (parts of it):

    http://www.cultureoflifeafrica.com/2015/02/the-shadows-of-shades-of-grey-in-africa.html

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  15. Some things are right even when everyone thinks they are wrong and some things are wrong even when everyone thinks they are right. We need to not follow the majority, but think and measure all things against what God has told us is true.

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  16. Andrew and I had a long discussion about this the other night. How sad that this filth has become mainstream and sought after. Makes me sick

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  17. I recall reading somewhere once that the number of women watching porn was approaching the number of men doing so. And I remember being somewhat sceptical about that claim.

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  18. Wow, you have to read this! Shows you how sick this all is:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2015/02/13/fifty-shades-of-grey-review-youve-come-a-long-way-feminists/

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  19. And I just saw the lead actor mention in a red carpet interview that his wife had not seen the movie and he would not blame her if she never did. He seemed pretty ashamed, from the body language, I must add.

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  20. I'm not sure how the writer can call it consensual. I haven't read the books, but reviews describe him stealing her car, stalking her at work, breaking into her apartment, playing nasty mind games, controlling how much food she can eat, etc.

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  21. I haven’t seen the movie, I’ve heard from a couple of people that it is pretty awful and definitely unsexy.

    The main question I have, is why do you think this is a feminist movie and not just a movie that has simply capitalized on the notion that sex sells. I’ve seen a lot of commentary on the books/film, as typically occurs with extremely popular works, but I haven’t seen many ‘feminist’ sources praising the movie because it advances feminism?

    ~CS

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  22. Hi CS! I was confused by your question because I never said the movie was a feminist movie. In fact, I am happily aware that many feminists find it horrifying, and they and others are urging donations to domestic violence shelters instead of buying a ticket to the movie. The question of feminism is the idea that modern feminism has so suppressed the natural receptivity of a women's nature that women are now finding these warped and sick examples of "dominance" appealing. But in no way do I think or did I say that the movie was a feminist movie. Quite the opposite. It's one of the things that the Church and (most) radical feminists can agree on. :)

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  23. Oh I misunderstood! Like you I had only heard feminists sources condemning the movie. But that still begs the question, what has feminism done to suppress the natural receptivity of a woman’s nature? I agree that everyone, men and women, likes to relax and not be in control all the time,but I don’t entirely buy that the notion that women no longer obeying men is leading them to seek S&M.


    You said earlier that sexual violence is different than other types of violence and I agree. But if that’s true don’t we need to consider all of the ways that that’s true? Many people would smack their lover on the bottom and we mostly understand that’s an entirely different action than smacking them in the face.


    CS

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  24. CS, let's start here: Do you agree that the nature of a woman is to be "receptive" (and this is even written in biology, in the ways our bodies are made)?

    Do you see a difference, in essence, between male and female and our natures? If not, if you see men and women as interchangeable and "the same", then you won't be able to see the point that Dr. Popcak is making.

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  25. Absolutely. Men and women are completely different at their essence. However I'm not entirely sure what you mean by being receptive. Or even what 'healthy submission' is

    CS

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  26. Well, there is the obvious receptivity that is written into the design of our very bodies. And "healthy submission" can begin to be understood here:

    The popularity of 50 Shades isn’t an anomaly. It speaks to a deep need among women to be permitted to express their repressed femininity (see my previous blog that develops this point). As I pointed out in my previous post, St John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body reminds us that receptivity is an essential characteristic of femininity. A healthy woman can be strong, competent, capable, and powerful, but still want a man to to love her, take care of her, and, yes, to lead. The secular feminist culture seeks to prohibit women from expressing this desire for natural, healthy submission, in which the woman wants a man to cherish and care for her, in which a woman allows herself to be vulnerable–in the healthiest sense of that word–to a man. But that receptive impulse is so much a part of the feminine character that it cannot be denied. Any attempt to repress it will result in that desire for receptivity being expressed in distorted ways. As I’ve pointed out previously, dominance is Satan’s counterfeit of healthy submission. Where a dynamic of healthy mutual submission is denied, dominance will emerge. Poorly formed men will seek to seek to dominate women and poorly formed women will willingly submit to being dominated–just like the female protagonist of 50 Shades.

    Even before I was living my faith, I cannot tell you how many women and wives expressed the frustration that they were tired of being "the man", and wanted their husbands to step up and take the lead. So, so many women. This is what is scoffed at by modern feminists, and yet it's a natural feeling for a woman. I've never known any woman who really wants to "be the man" and have her man be following her lead. I hope that makes sense. I think women understand this. But some women have been programmed to see this receptivity as a bad thing, to be rooted out. But it will surface somewhere, and perhaps it's playing out in this fantasy of unhealthy domination in 50 Shades.

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  27. Here's more of what Popcak says about healthy submission:

    "...there is a major theme that I have observed that contributes to the tendency for many–even, apparently, a majority–of women to desire and/or submit themselves to this kind of treatment. Namely, our prevailing culture’s secular-feminist ethic makes it taboo for women to want to be vulnerable in any healthy ways. Women are told they must expect to take care of themselves. They must be strong, self-sufficient and powerful. Of course there is nothing wrong–and everything right–with being a capable, competent woman. But many women are taught that they must take this a step further. They can never allow themselves to be vulnerable. They must be competent at all things, and at all costs. They don’t let themselves need anyone, least of all a man. Even in a healthy relationship, there are many women will will not allow themselves to let their guard down, give up control, or open their hearts.

    The problem is that this isn’t natural. The Theology of the Body asserts that an inherent character of femininity is receptivity. That is, the ability to be open, generous, receptive to others. Not dependent, or needy, or a victim, but intimately relational in character. The secular feminist culture pressures women to deny their basic receptivity, but nature will not be denied. The receptive, feminine impulse continues to assert itself, and if it cannot find legitimate expression in healthy relationships, it will assert itself in more insidious ways.

    In essence, many women who have been trained to reject their natural, healthy vulnerability, can only allow their feminine impulse to be expressed by permitting themselves to be dominated. Unable to allow their feminine nature to emerge in any other way, many women either fantasize or actually place themselves positions where they are no longer given a choice in the matter. Domination is, in essence, Satan’s counterfeit of the healthy submission (as opposed to subjugation/dominance) that naturally expresses itself in subtle and psychologically affirming ways in a healthy, nurturing relationship.

    Improperly formed men will seek to dominate women rather than love and serve them, and improperly formed women will seek to be dominated rather that willingly allowing themselves to be loved and served. The popularity of 50 Shades is the bad fruit of a culture that denies the healthy interdependence of men and women and rejects the natural dynamic of mutual submission that evolves when well-formed men and women boldly express their respective masculine and feminine genius in a nurturing, mutually generous relationship with one another.


    Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithonthecouch/2015/02/tainted-love-why-is-50-shades-of-grey-so-popular/#ixzz3SvKC6sxW

    CS, I am also interested in what you think is the essential difference between men and women? (You said we are completely different at our essence.)

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  28. Hi Leila,

    Sorry to post and then disappear.

    I don’t think anyone (or mot people) would disagree that women want to be romanced and taken care. If you were to ask any woman from any race of any culture if she could meet a man who would love her unconditionally, take care of her complete needs financially and otherwise, and who she could trust completely and be vulnerable towards, odds are she would enthusiastically say yes.

    But men don’t do that. Or certainly cant be guaranteed of that, certainly not forever or without getting something in exchange. I don’t think feminism tells women to not depend on men because of some vendetta against men or because ‘feminism’ but rather because history shows that is a dangerous thing to do and because the price of being taken care of is something many women may not want to pay.

    CS

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  29. CS, I disagree. I think modern feminism says that women are "just like" men (perhaps stronger, better, superior), and that women are not (or should not be) in any way hoping for (even good, wonderful) men to take care of them and lead. Not at all. Can you show me a feminist or a feminist philosophy that says such a thing? I'm interested.

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  30. Hi Leila,

    In the interest of time I can’t really point you in the direction of a feminist work that says those things. Mostly because when I was in school I was much more engaged in ‘feminist culture’ but as someone removed I wouldn’t even know where to find those things.

    I definitely agree that modern feminism doesn’t tell women to look for men to lead them. That’s mostly because movements aren’t typically based on telling people to find other people to do things for them. When I was in school and I was bad at math, it would have been odd for the institution to say I didn’t need to learn math myself because maybe I could just find someone else who did. Finding a man to take care of you financially, or simply having rich parents or winning the lottery are all great ways to be taken care of. If you asked most women if they would rather have the above or HAVE to go to work, they would pick the other options in a heart beat. But an institution that advises women to simply win the lottery isn’t as useful as one that enables women to make money yourself. Wining the lottery, or marrying a Christian Grey are great things, just not things people should revolve their lives around I they want to eat.


    CS

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  31. Sorry, CS, but there is just nothing in the modern (radical) feminist philosophy that would reflect the understanding that women are naturally receptive, and that its in our nature to want to be cared for and protected by our men (men's nature is as protector and provider). I dare you to suggest that to any modern feminist ideologue and see what they say. ;)

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  32. I think we were talking past each other for a minute there. I certainly agree that feminism doesn’t tell women to subordinate. I thought u were originally saying that feminism tells women to actively suppress being receptive, which is very different than not encouraging it.
    CS

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  33. So, let's try this: What would feminists say about the nature of women? Not just their foibles or interests, but their nature?

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  34. I think they probably wouldn't answer the question and say that all women are different and don't have a common nature

    CS

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  35. So the "feminine" (nature) is meaningless to the feminists?

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  36. I wouldn't say meaningless I would say it's not the point. Feminism is a political and social movement geared to the advancement of women. There are a million sources that play to the 'nature' and interests of women. When i stand in line at the grocery store, the aisles are filled with publications that speak to me as a woman. Feminism doesnt talk about crafts or cooking or fashion not because they aren't important or because they arent real interests of women, but because they don't to, other sources are already doing it

    CS

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  37. A healthy woman can be strong, competent, capable, and powerful, but still want a man to to love her, take care of her, and, yes, to lead. The secular feminist culture seeks to prohibit women from expressing this desire for natural, healthy submission, in which the woman wants a man to cherish and care for her, in which a woman allows herself to be vulnerable–in the healthiest sense of that word–to a man.

    So, CS, you disagree with what Popcak is claiming here, about feminists? They really are totally fine with a healthy submission of women to men?

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