Fifty Shades of Grey may have sold over 100 million copies, but I think it's fair to say the film isn't universally loved. Indeed, now it seems a collective of domestic violence activists are the latest angry group to the join the anti-Fifty Shades gang.
The group, which operates under the name 50dollarsnot50shades, is asking the public to boycott the upcoming film adaptation of the book. Instead, they suggest potential viewers donate the money they would have spent on the ticket, food and drinks to a domestic violence shelter or agency. The suggested donation is, as their name suggests, $50 bucks.
The group, which is supported by various American and Canadian sponsors, such as the London Abused Women's Centre (in Canada), the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and Stop Porn Culture, suggests that the plot of Fifty Shades of Grey - which involves a young naive woman falling for a controlling, domineering man - glorifies violence against women. The group asks that the potential audiences donate money so that what they would "have spent on movie tickets, popcorn and drinks will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships like the one glamorized in the Fifty Shades series. Hollywood doesn't need your money; abused women do."
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation also told The Washington Times that women in real life “don’t end up like Anastasia; they often end up in a women’s shelter, on the run for years or dead."
Of course, one of the issues here, which the campaign doesn't seem to address, is that in the book, Anastasia is presumably in a consensual, if slightly unorthodox, relationship. The book is told from her perspective, and although there are passages which suggest Christian verges on abusive, ultimately she appears to enjoy the relationship. One such passage is pasted below:
I don’t want to lose him. In spite of all his demands, his need to control, his scary vices, I have never felt as alive as I do now. It’s a thrill to be sitting here beside him. He’s so unpredictable, sexy, smart, and funny. But his moods…oh—and he wants to hurt me.
As the book's title suggests, it's a very grey area. I guess the concern here is that Fifty Shades of Grey is a piece of erotic fiction, and not reality. In reality, perhaps things aren't quite so sexy for everyone involved.
Furthermore, Natalie Collins, a British woman behind the 50 Shades is Abuse campaign says she also hoping to organize a large protest at its London premiere.
It's due to enter US theaters on February 13th.