So I’ve thought long and hard about this post. I’ve been debating whether or not to write it. And then I debated whether or not I should publish it. In reality, it’s just another post on a subject that has been in the limelight for weeks now. But it’s an angle that most people (mainly Christians) have either ignored or are ignorant about. So here we go:
I love to read. With every book I read, I always analyze it. The characters, the story-line and what I think the author is trying to get at. Some authors tell the same story no matter what. Others are really good at telling different stories even within the same series of books. Some books can be really poorly written, yet have an amazing story-line that makes up for it. And others are well-written, with developed characters, yet the story is boring. It’s what makes it fun for me to read.
A few years ago, I read a trilogy of books that have gotten a TON of attention. You might have heard about them… if not, you’re living under a rock… (in which case, I’m not sure how you found this blog.) In fact, a movie was made about the first one that opened today. Yup, I read the Fifty Shades of Grey series.
Are you done gasping now? Ok… moving on…
There have been countless articles and blog posts and people discussing the ramifications of how this book (and now movie) is dangerous. Most of the ones that come from the Christian sector are focused on the sex aspect of the book. They are soo concerned with how this book has brought to light the “dark secret” of sex and its various fetishes. They cry out that we need to “protect our women” from knowing about BDSM. They fear that marriages will start breaking down because sex has entered mainstream media. (Umm… Hello? Have they not turned on the TV in last decade?) They wonder at the popularity of the book and simultaneously berate those that have read it. They hear that the book contains some questionable material, and write page after page of analysis and warning without every cracking the pages of the very thing they are condemning. There was one (just one) article that I read that touched on the very reason it has become so popular. (I can’t remember where I found it, if I do I will certainly link it here)
Can I tell you a secret? It’s not about the sex….
Sex is not why it’s so popular. The scenes in the book about sex, are not the reason that women are flocking to stores to buy it, or will flock to the theater to see the movie. Sex has almost nothing to do with it.
In short, the book is about the “perfect man”, who has everything a person could dream of, that falls in love with an ordinary girl. A girl, who most people would never think twice about. It details a story that says that it’s ok if he has bad and unhealthy behaviors, because he loves her. And she should accept anything that he says because if she doesn’t, she’ll be alone. Basically, because he is Prince Charming, he gets a free pass to do whatever he wants. And the girl should count herself lucky that she landed such a catch.
That’s what is so dangerous. That is what “the church” should be so concerned with. That is what we need to protect our daughters from. That is what will undermine marriages.
The church (as a whole) has done a terrible job of teaching our children (and by default, society) what a healthy relationship should look like. The church tells us that a “healthy marriage” is one that is a man and a women. It is one where both people go to church. It is a marriage that both parties “saved themselves” for. And as long as you remain a virgin until your wedding day, you get married by a preacher, and go to church services, you will be “happy.” (There’s far more that I want to get into, but I will save that for a future post)
So when a book comes along, that is written in such a way that it is easy to imagine yourself as the main character, that shows that all those dreams that little girls have of “Prince Charming” could come true, it becomes a sensation. That even though that perfect guy actually has some really dark demons, and shows some really terrifying behaviors, it’s ok. It’s ok, because he “fell in love” with someone normal. And because it’s “love”, it’s easy to explain away the bad stuff.
Little girls are taught we just need to fall in love and everything else will work out. As women, we look for that love. And when the church doesn’t teach us what that love is supposed to look like, women look around them to see what others are doing. Instead of demonizing the books and the movies, why isn’t the church showing the world what Love is supposed to look like? Instead of ranting about the perils of this world, why aren’t we sharing the alternative? The church mourns the lost souls who will see this movie and think it is the way that love is supposed to be, instead of stepping out and displaying the amazing Love that is our God.
Instead of shouting about how terrible the book is, why not shout “Over here! This is Love! And it is the most amazing thing you will ever experience!” And then, Live. It. Out.