July 25, 2014

Statement by Morality in Media’s Dawn Hawkins on “Fifty Shades of Grey” Trailer

Franchise Promotes Violent Relationships

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The newly released trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey deceives the public with a visually appealing melodramatic love story that romanticizes and normalizes sexual violence.

The main character is a childlike, mousey, young woman, lacking confidence and capability, who becomes the target of a powerful, intimidating, older man who puts her under contract to serve as a sexual “submissive.”

The implications of such a relationship—abuse of power, female inequality, coercion, and sexual violence—glamorizes and legitimatizes violence against women.

The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.

A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture.  Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power.

In a voiceover in the trailer, Christian Grey warns Ana, “I am incapable of leaving you alone.” “Then don’t,” she purrs in reply. Again, he warns her, “You should steer clear of me.” Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into? With a stalker and a batterer? Do we really want our sons to become Christian Greys, practicing a violent masculinity that degrades men as well?


Trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.

Further Reading