Our own Carol Anne Austin was interviewed on City News about the concerns surrounding the movie 50 Shades of Grey. One concern is that it may normalize abuse in relationships. Carol Anne explained that this movie may be perpetuating some cultural scripts around some traditional gender roles and that different standards for what might be appropriate sexually for men and women can lead to harmful outcomes.
In addition, the dominance theme is one of the concerns, especially given that some young women viewing this movie may not be sexually experienced. Carol Anne spoke about the importance of having these discussions with our family, with youth and with our children. She explained that the pairing of sex and violence in media is very rampant and that it is important to have discussions around this to make sure we are watching media with a critical eye.
It can be uncomfortable for parents to have these sexual discussions with their teens and Carol Anne discussed that it’s okay for parents to share that sentiment with their teens. Also, parents can seek the help of a teacher, guidance counselor, sex educator or sex therapist if they feel it is outside their comfort zone.
Another concern about 50 Shades of Grey is that this movie may blur the lines of consent. Carol Anne explained that this film is depicting BDSM and it can be great to play around with power in our sexual relationships but we need to make sure to establish explicit consent about this ahead of time. Yes needs to mean yes. Just because we consent to one sexual act doesn’t mean that we consent to other acts down the line. Especially when we want to play with power or pain in our sexual acts we need to make sure everything is explicitly discussed ahead of time and that no one is surprised.