I watched Fifty Shades of Grey the other night. I haven’t read the books, mostly because of the lackluster (poorly written) excerpts I read online. Sir watched it last week, though, and his feedback surprised me. He said there was a D/s contract and negotiation, and even though I was openly incredulous, I knew I had to watch it for the sole purpose of being able to discuss it with him. Plus, sir said that Mr. Grey’s playroom was kickass, and I’m a sucker for a well-appointed dungeon. I settled into bed after my child fell asleep, and watched the movie with my phone in my hand, so I could text Nikki about all the failings of the movie and its portrayal of D/s.
I discovered that Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, is about a woman who doesn’t want to be a submissive. She wants a billionaire boyfriend that treats her to amazing, spectacular adventures like flights in a glider, a helicopter, and buys her fab things. She wants love and romance, to be courted and swept off her feet. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The crux of the problem is that the billionaire boyfriend is a dominant and a sadist, and what he wants is a submissive with a signed contract that commits to a D/s relationship, which doesn’t guarantee emotional intimacy. At least, not the kind of emotional intimacy that a more traditional dating relationship would entail. Christian Grey also has a tendency to creep, stalk, and lurk. Add to these conflicting, fundamental differences the fact that BOTH characters are positively shitty communicators, and you have the basic gist of this movie.
But… but… Heather, you say, aren’t you always going on and on about the physical and emotional intimacy you enjoy through BDSM? How can Mr. Grey be anything but a cad and a blackguard for wanting Anastasia bound and naked yet not wanting to cuddle with her overnight?
My perspective of this movie is from the viewpoint of a woman who signed a D/s contract without the promise of romance. I committed myself to a dominant without the knowledge that we would fall deeply in love and that our partnership would expand into “regular” life. What I desired most of all was a man that would hurt me in all the ways that I wanted, who would use me, control me, and degrade me in the most delicious ways I could imagine. I wanted bondage, and pain; an outlet for those nameless things that clamored inside me–I wanted to serve. And I knew that sir was a decent man, one who would keep me safe while I explored all the dark, twisting turns of my desires. I knew he would be a caretaker for me in those times of domination and submission, but in the beginning, I didn’t have aspirations that our D/s would follow a path to romance and courtship. I had no expectation that we would live together, that my submission would turn 24/7, or that we would continue together despite an overseas relocation and months of separation.
So no, I don’t think Mr. Grey is fucked up for being a dominant or a sadist. He lacks the ability to communicate his feelings to the unwilling, yet grudgingly submitting Anastasia. He utters the words “due diligence” to her, yet they fail to do anything except some light bondage and fucking six-ways-to-Sunday in the playroom. That’s all well and good, but she needed to do actual research on D/s (it’s called Google, Anastasia). Contracts in D/s can be a big frickin’ deal, and even though they aren’t legally binding, I would never enter into one without a lot of thought and consideration beforehand. But that’s a rant for a different day.
Where Mr. Grey did fuck up (besides the stalking, lurking, and non-consensual control) was that he didn’t say anything regarding the trauma of his past (talking to someone when they’re asleep doesn’t count), or how it’s possible to be a loving sadist/dominant. Probably because he’s completely unfamiliar with what a functioning relationship may feel like.
With such fundamental differences between them, you know the movie isn’t going to end well. It really doesn’t. In fact, it’s the last twenty minutes of the movie that made me hate it. Because nothing infuriates me more than a play partner begging for a certain thing, hating it but not using their safewords, and then when it’s all over, shaming the other person for doing the exact thing that they requested earlier. This sort of interaction is precisely why BDSM gets a bad rep when our lifestyle is actually based upon a foundation of consent and trust. And the simple act of writing about it has pissed me off all over again.
I need a glass of wine and funny cat videos to forget this clusterfuck of a movie.
For an eloquent fact-checking article regarding the “kink” (yeah, I placed that in quotes) in FSoG, Nikki found a great article written by actual kinky folks who engage in actual Dominance/submission. Read it HERE.
~And since Heather watched the movie, sharing with me a bazillion texts regarding its ridiculousness as it unfolded, I’ve agreed to finally read the clusterfuck of a book. Oy.~ Nikki