@LennoxHerald 11 March 2015
You couldn’t get a book and film more at odds with the founding principles of International Women’s Day than that film of that book. As thousands of women and girls are being kidnapped, enslaved, tortured and raped for real by militias in Boko Haram in Nigeria, by Isis in Northern Iraq and by organised gangs of men past and present in Oxford, Rotherham and across the UK, author E.L. James and the film’s makers kept their eyes fixed on the dollar in their very own value-free cultural vacuum. Almost weekly we hear of the ever expanding extent of Saville or some other celebrity’s sexual abuse of vulnerable women, children and young people while ‘safeguarders’ look away and do nothing. Paul Gadd may finally have been put away for life but people queued to watch the same criminal behaviour glamourised and sold back to them for their titillation on Valentine’s Day. Give me strength!
In the movie, the perverted sexual proclivities of a very rich, handsome, white American magically convert the entrapment and sexual torture of an intelligent but naïve student into a ‘love’ story and endeavour to make it ok. So ok in fact women that you can buy Tesco’s branded range of ‘fifty-shaded’ lingerie with the messages while your local Ann Summers shop will helpfully provide all you need to kit out your very own red room so that you too can submit to being handcuffed for the delight of your very own Mr. Grey.
your local Ann Summers shop will helpfully provide all you need to kit out your very own red room so that you too can submit to being handcuffed for the delight of your very own Mr. Grey.
Mr. Grey is simply a stalker, sexual predator and rapist who doesn’t know that no means no. Rape Crisis in Scotland are in despair. Faint heart never won fair lady apparently! Stalking is a criminal offence and our hero’s regime of husbandly control – aka domestic abuse hereabouts – is criminal behaviour and Scotland’s courts are full of it. Fancy pants won’t cut it there as admissible evidence in the case for the defence. Scottish Women’s Aid are also in despair.
Mr. Grey is simply a stalker, sexual predator and rapist who doesn’t know that no means no.
Shading sexuality as a strategy of pure power and violence dehumanises men and women and kills romance stone dead. International Women’s Day has been celebrating women’s achievements and publicising their continued struggle for equality and freedom for over one hundred years. If we accept cruel sexual fantasies as mainstream entertainment, mistake it for romance and an excuse for branded lingerie and the fluffy accoutrements of torture we are sleepwalking into a dystopia which will take another century to correct.