50 Shades of Grey, for those who haven't been keeping up, is a racy "love" story which incorporates a too-hot-for-film sexual relationship known as BDSM. However, contrary to popular belief, 50 Shades of Grey includes more abuse than it does anything else. A lot of people have been advocating for completely boycotting the film, based purely on the fact that it's abusive and not at all like an actual BDSM relationship. Now, I'm not denying the fact that 50 Shades of Grey is full of physical, emotional, and even mental abuse, but after seeing the film a few weeks ago I caught onto something that no one else I know has: a theory.
Christian Grey Isn't Really a Dominant
Upon seeing the film with a few friends, a particular scene struck this fan--and I use that term lightly--theory.
At a certain point in the film, Christian Grey reveals that he was "Mrs. Robinson's" submissive for seven years.
This particular scene in addition with the scene where he punishes Ana the worst he could sprung the theory into action: Maybe Christian Grey doesn't actually enjoy being a Dominant.
Now, a lot of people at this point are probably thinking, "that doesn't make any sense, a Dominant is who he is! He was written that way!" But the point of a fan theory is to open your mind to something new, so bear with me. Christian Grey is a successful businessman, so of course he exercises power and control in all things; it's part of his everyday life. So yes, it's possible that this power struggle could find its way into the bedroom, but after witnessing a few select scenes in the film, it's easy to imagine other possibilities.
Christian Grey was only 15 when he became a submissive, and not by choice. This means that he endured various degrees of abuse himself, and since he was only a kid at this point in his life, he's become stuck in a young boy's mindset; inside, he's still a scared 15 year old boy. He doesn't understand, and so he feels that in order to do so, he must learn through experience. In other words, Christian Grey only abuses his submissives the way he does because he's trying to understand.
For seven years, 15 year old Christian Grey played the part of a Submissive for an older woman. Later, he becomes a Dominant himself and, as stated in the film, has practiced his sexual needs on 15 different women, excluding Ana. Usually, participating in a Dom/Sub relationship is long-term, as it runs on a contract. Exercising his dominance on 15 different women suggests short-term relationships. The very fact that he's been with 15 women offers up the idea that he doesn't particularly enjoy what he does and ends up letting these women out of their contracts.
15 different women to try and understand with. It is possible that these women just decided to leave, but as long as we're thinking in theory, it's just as likely that Christian didn't want to cause them anymore pain once he realized what he was doing.
In the scene where Christian shows Ana the worst he could do to her, the camera pans to his face where we see an almost pained expression while he hits her. And a few seconds later when she asks if he enjoyed it, we receive no actual answer from him. If the explanation from before wasn't enough to convince you, then this scene in particular should be.
Christian Grey is not a Dom. In fact, he's just trying to understand what happened to him when he was younger. Granted, he could be doing it in a completely different--and safer--way, but he's stuck in a 15 year old's mindset. In reality, he doesn't understand what happened to him, or why it happened, and he just wants to figure things out.
As a disclaimer, this fan theory does not dismiss or overlook the fact that Christian Grey is very abusive and should not be glorified. Nor do I believe that E. L. James did this intentionally, as it's just a theory I put together by paying attention to the little details. This theory does not mean I support the books or movie franchise, and it also doesn't mean that I'm advocating for the glorification of domestic violence and abuse.
If you, a friend, or a family member are in danger, http://www.thehotline.org is the National Domestic Violence hotline, and it's active 24/7. Stay safe, stay lovely, and stay informed.