‘50 Shades of Grey’ abuse depicts BDSM inaccurately

Published by adviser, Author: Alexa Merbler - Commentary, Date: February 5, 2015
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With the upcoming release of the movie adaptation of “50 Shades of Grey,” there has been a lot of discussion in the feminist community about consent and the relationships portrayed in this movie about BDSM. For those of you who may not know, BDSM stands for Bondage and Discipline, Domination and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. Many people, mostly women who have read the book, are beyond excited to see their darkest fantasies appear on the big screen, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Many people in the BDSM community have spoken against 50 Shades for the misrepresentation of their community. Their issue with “50 Shades of Grey” is that it is not a correct representation of the BDSM community by any stretch of the imagination. The relationship in 50 Shades is a purely abusive relationship, which is not a characteristic of the BDSM community.

In a study led by Ohio State University, three authors analyzed the text of “50 Shades of Grey.” They used the CDC definitions of abuse to determine whether the interactions between the two main characters were healthy. The results were alarming, to say the least. In “nearly every interaction” between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, the definition of intimate partner violence was met.

One could argue that the most consenting form of sexual interaction comes from the BDSM community. This piece is a call to people who participate in this community to take a moment and educate those around them. Teach people about the consent and trust that is required in BDSM. Without this information, I truly believe that the general public who read and watch “50 Shades of Grey” will have a harmful understanding of trust, consent, and sexual relations with their partner not only in BDSM, but in their “vanilla” sex lives as well. It is important to point that out because it is going to make many couples who go to see it to get the wrong idea about what BDSM is. They may even experiment with their perception of BDSM, which in reality is abusive and non-consensual sex. This is why members of the BDSM community have an obligation to take this opportunity to educate people about BDSM now.

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