On Fifty

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t read them. Instead, I read the blogs, and the GR reviews, and the live-tweets that were kind of hilarious–most of them were titled something along the lines of “We read so you don’t have to”.

I regret nothing. Look, that book may not have had the quality of writing that I prefer. It may not even have had the plot that I prefer (*spoiler* I don’t normally read romance, yes I know its my genre) but let me one-hundred percent say right here that I support EL James because I support female writers. I support women’s escapism.

If you have a need to comment on this that women should choose a different book to escape with, STAHP. I can give you a recommendation if you want smarter smut, or historical, or literary, or classic, or even sci-fi. I READ those books. I love them. I escape that way too. That’s not the point here.

But, a billion women (literally) have chosen Fifty as the book that opened them up to other possibilities, and this post isn’t about the book anyway. It’s about the movie.

First, let’s discuss men’s escapism. Specifically, action movies. I personally am a massive Bond fan. I loved Connery, but I do think Daniel Craig is the bestest. He nails the emotional intricacies, but that’s neither here nor there.

What IS- is that when I hear a new Bond movie is coming out, I don’t sit down and make a Buzzfeed list of why you “shouldn’t see that” and rather should see something smarter.

Not my business.

Do I find certain intricately plotted Guy Ritchie movies to be more well-done than any Michael Bay film? OBVI. But I don’t judge you because you want to check out the new Transformers on opening night. Nope.

Not my business.

Because why do I get to dictate that you only choose one? Why are people telling me, “Oh, you liked the Fifty movie? You should have saved your money and watched Secretary.” I could have. I could have watched a rom-com about BDSM for free on Netflix. But I chose to spend money seeing a love story about control + spanking. Just like you could have watched a movie about dudes racing cars, versus a movie about dudes in space. Do you see how it’s different? And you don’t have to pick just one?

Not my business.

So Dakota Johnson, her of the perfect body and face, chooses to allow (CHOOSES, make no mistake, there was consent(in the movie)) Jamie Dornan to spank her. She is given the tool, a safe word, of refusal, and CHOOSES not to utilize it. In the penultimate scene, she ASKS him to hurt her.

When she chooses not to safe out, but also not to stay, she demonstrates to him that she does not approve of what he prefers, but also that he didn’t break her. Does this make her less of a woman?

Because I saw Casino Royale. And I watched Mads Mikkelsons’ character torture, sexually you might add, Bond. And he wasn’t less of a man because he allowed it to happen. Okay, he didn’t enjoy it, but it was a means to an ends. Which is exactly how Anastasia Steele feels about what she allows Christian Grey to do to her.

Do I feel like Ana sets me back as a feminist? Well. Does Jason Statham emasculate YOU? I mean, I have seen a bunch of his movies with men I have been involved with. None of them ever complained afterwards that he hurt images of masculinity by being too- manly, masculine, hairy, angry, badass, pissy, unremorseful, big, muscular, murderous, or basically- ideal.

So why should I, a feminist, be upset about Ana’s willing submission, her femininity, her humor, her pubic hair, her straight up DOMINANCE- because-in the movie- that is what it was- I think she’s someone to emulate. She, as even Christian admits, changes HIM, not herself.

Y’all, I am a feminist. And I support this message. Go see this movie. Enjoy it, don’t- either way, let’s have an honest discussion without all the silly politizing.