January 12, 2015

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

Explicit film receives unusual rating

WASHINGTON, DC – The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film, Fifty Shades of Grey, an R rating, which severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film’s content. The MPAA warns that there is “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity.” What the term “unusual” does not account for is the coercion, sexual violence, female inequality, and BDSM themes from which the entire Fifty Shades plot is based. Such a vague evaluation puts viewers at risk, sending the message that humiliation is pleasurable and that torture should be sexually gratifying.

The new extended trailer for the film calls it a “fairy tale” which just further misleads the public into thinking this is simply a love story. The MPAA ratings and “fairy tale” label mask the true themes of humiliation, manipulation, abuse, and degradation of women.

Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography and now praised by films like Fifty Shades of Grey.

We’d like to change the MPAA rating for Fifty Shades of Grey to read: “Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, graphic nudity, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorizes and legitimizes violence against women.” Is this the description of a movie you’d promote to your son or daughter? What about yourself?


Dawn Hawkins is the Executive Director for Morality in Media and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Dawn leads a coalition of 284 groups working to end sexual exploitation.

Founded in 1962, Morality in Media, Inc. is the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to opposing pornography through education about its harms by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse and obsessive use of porn.

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