Okay, let’s talk about Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.
I’m not watching it. And I haven’t read it. That’s what I want to talk about.
Originally, I wanted to write a scathing review of the book and the movie. But I couldn’t really do that and maintain credibility without actually reading it or seeing the movie. And I definitely do NOT want to subject my brain or my heart to that. So instead, I’m writing about why I’m not reading the book or seeing the movie.
I Am Anastasia Steele
In reality, I am the person the Fifty Shades phenomenon is for. I’m young. I’m single. I want to get married. I have nothing better to do with my time than read or watch something that could fulfill a longing deep inside of me.
But, unlike Anastasia, I know that Fifty Shades won’t fulfill anything. It won’t satisfy because it’s only a cheap substitute for the real thing. Kind of like junk food. In fact, I use the same process to decide what to read and watch as I do what to eat. It’s a simple process, but let me walk you through it.
Not as Good as it Looks
When I’m really hungry, and I walk through the kitchen to find something quick to snack on, it seems like all I can see is junk food. The stuff that looks really good—potato chips, ice cream, Snickers, ice cream, chocolate covered pretzels, ice cream, homemade oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream. (I may or may not have a thing for ice cream.) And even though these things look—and taste—really good, I know they are going to be bad decisions in the long run.
Even though I don’t know exactly what’s in them (try pronouncing the back of the ice cream carton), I know enough to know they aren’t good things to eat in order to maintain health. I don’t have to know exactly what’s in it to make a wise decision.
(Here’s where you, the reader, make the obvious connection that I, the writer, have left so widely open for you.)
The only thing that the junk food will do is satisfy my sweet tooth for, like, thirty seconds, and then leave me wanting more. And more. And more. And pretty soon, I have to buy new jeans and order diabetes medication.
(Your turn again.)
But, of course, I’m hungry. I can’t just starve, because that would also be unhealthy. Instead, I must choose something to eat that is healthy, that won’t give me diabetes, and that I know will help my body function well.
So I decide to commit to fixing a nice meal, which probably doesn’t include anything I can’t pronounce. Sure, it takes a little more time. I have to thaw the chicken, cook it in the pan, cut up some veggies, set the table, and all those sorts of meal-like things. 30 or 40 minutes? Not too bad. And it is then I truly am satisfied, and in more than one way—three, actually. First, it tasted really good partly because I’m a good cook (true! hehe), but mostly because it was made with real (read: not fake) ingredients. Second, my hunger is gone for a substantially longer amount of time than if I had just had junk food. Third, I feel good about what I’ve chosen to eat. I don’t feel guilty or shameful about what I’ve put in my body.
(I assume at this point you don’t need any more help in this analogy.)
That is why I’m choosing to not read OR see Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend. Even though I don’t know exactly what’s in it, I know enough about it that I can tell it’s not healthy. I know it’s fake and won’t satisfy me, and will only hurt me. And the shame and guilt that would weigh heavy on my heart is not worth the 90 minutes of temporary pleasure.
It Is That Bad
Okay, so every analogy breaks down somewhere. One might argue that a little bit of junk food every once in awhile isn’t such a bad thing. It can actually be really fun to work toward a goal and then reward yourself with a big ol’ bowl of triple-fudge-whammy-with-chocolate-chunks* ice cream.
Here’s the problem with that. Fifty Shades is lethal junk food in both content and dosage. It’s the kind of thing that feels fun in the moment, but not long after, the guilt sets in. The images return unsolicited. The fantasies take over your mind and your soul. And a happily-ever-after is destroyed. Worth it? I don’t think so.
So, instead, on Valentine’s Day, my best friend and I are hanging out and watching good movies, like Saving Mr. Banks, and Robin Hood, and other Disney awesomes. It’s going to be epic. Way more epic than anything the pages of a book or scenes on the screen can offer.
Here are more voices on the Fifty Shades Venomenon (yes, I just made that up…but it works!):
Moody Publishers: Trade Your Shades
Desiring God: Fifty Shades of Nay
RELEVANT: 4 Lies Culture Tells Us About Sex
Desiring God: The Single Person’s Good Desire for Sex
Shattered Magazine: 4 Reasons Fifty Shades Will Not Spice Up Your Sex Life
Ask Pastor John: The Real Cost of Pornography
*This term was coined by my brother and is used for any ice cream with more than one chocolatey ingredient. So, the best ice cream ever.