The movie Fifty Shades of Grey proved to be the blockbuster everyone predicted.
Many people see the books and movie as fantasy and fun but, as a psychiatrist and an advocate for women, I am very concerned about the impact this phenomenon has had and will have on women and our society.
There are many ways the books and movie are extremely confusing. Here are three reasons…
1. Fifty Shades is changing our expectations about sex.
Sixty years ago, women didn’t have much trouble saying “no” to sex. A man truly felt that he “got lucky” if a woman would have sex with him. It wasn’t just a cute expression.
Society supported women withholding sex. Today, our society pressures women to be sexy and sexual. As a result, many women don’t feel supported when they choose to delay having sex. Now Fifty Shades is pressuring them to say “yes” to a new arena of sexual activities where violence against women is normalized.
While the Red Room appeared to work out for Christian and Anastasia, we must remember that this is fiction. The glamorization of the Fifty Shades style of sex sends a subconscious message to women: “If you are not playing by the Fifty Shades rules, you are not desirable, or you are a prude.”
Is this the message we want to send to women?
2. Fifty Shades glamorizes the microwave romance.
What’s a “microwave romance?”
It is one that progresses at lightning speed. It also typically explodes in your face. A five-star restaurant is not preparing meals in the microwave. You want a five-star romance, right? If so, the microwave is not your answer. Faster does not equal better.
Great relationships take time to evolve. You can’t rush that process like Christian and Anastasia rushed into the Red Room.
3. By focusing on sex, Fifty Shades takes focus away from the real prize: the relationship.
By the end of the trilogy, it appears that Christian and Anastasia have a beautiful relationship. But this is a fairy tale! In my 29 years of listening to women talk about relationships, I’ve seen that most of the best relationships don’t lead with sex. In fact, and from the beginning, they focus on emotional connections.
I am speaking out because I want to help women navigate this confusing phenomenon. Society tells us that we need condoms and birth control, but what about protecting our hearts? Your heart is precious. No book, movie, or celebrity knows what is right for you.
I am starting a new revolution where every woman can be her own Brand of Sexy. You can take the focus off of societal expectations and define what feels right for you, and support other women in defining what is right for them.
How do you feel about the Fifty Shades phenomenon?
Have you ever felt pressure to have sex before you were ready or to experiment with sex?
How have you handled it, and what is your plan for future relationships?
I’d love to hear from you. Together, we can do this. Support your sisters. Join the revolution. Be your own Brand of Sexy and get what you want.