Sorry gentlemen, but it seems that some of you can dish it out, but you can't take it.
Women are constantly faced with an onslaught of media images, commercials, sit-coms, television shows and movies that portray younger, hotter, air-brushed, nipped and tucked, sexier and naked or nearly-naked versions of ourselves. We're used to watching a svelte 18-year-old girl seduce a pudgy 45-year-old man.
We're accustomed to taking our 12-year-old son to see Transformers and instead seeing more of Megan Fox's short-shorts. We're accustomed to going to a Star Trek movie and seeing a woman being "caught" undressing to her bra and panties for absolutely no other reason than to give the men in the audience a thrill (the money shot is at 0:28, boys), oblivious to the effect it has on the women sitting next to them.
We're accustomed to lingering ass-shots of bikini-clad sexpots in strip-club, beach and pool settings on television and at the movies, and love scenes that are all breast and no penis.
And guess what? Men are accustomed to this, too.
And wow does the fur ever fly when the shoe's on the other foot.
Movies like 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike before it, go a long way toward levelling the playing field. They openly pander to the female demographic in the same way that many if not most mainstream Hollywood movies openly pander to the male demographic.
Instead of seeing this as "fair's fair," some men burst into indignant tantrums. "Those women are pathetic! They're tasteless! They can't control themselves! They're going to be masturbating in their theatre seats! They're going to think that all men look or act like Christian Grey! There's something wrong with these women! We need some psychiatrists to weigh in on this movie! You wouldn't want your wife seeing this filth, would you?!"
Boy, what I wouldn't give to scroll through the search history on some of these men's computers.
While 50 Shades has brought an aspect of female sexuality into the spotlight, let's take a moment to reflect on certain aspects of male sexuality. Barely-legal porn. Rough-sex videos. Rape scenes in mainstream movies and television. Those good ol' Penthouse Letters and comparably more graphic erotica written for men.
I might sound like a man-hater, here. After all, I'm talking about behaviour that I've seen on the part of SOME men, so I must hate ALL men, right? That seems to be the prevalent thought process nowadays.
For those who are open-minded enough to let this sink in, I don't hate men. I have an amazing dad. My even more fabulous husband and I are raising a son. I believe that men are undervalued in our society, particularly in their roles as husbands and fathers, and my marriage guides consistently prioritize a husband's happiness as well as a wife's. I've heard many men express an "it's no big deal" opinion about 50 Shades and I know that not all of them are so quick to get their cages rattled.
I've seen many articles and reviews -- including those by women -- suggesting that women who see or read 50 Shades are incapable of distinguishing between an abusive and non-abusive relationship. That we can't tell the difference between fictional erotica and domestic violence, or between fantasy and reality. To me, whatever consensual activities happen in the book or movie can't be as degrading to women as this patronizing sentiment.
Of course there are women in abusive relationships. There are men in abusive relationships, too. But suggesting that 50 Shades will turn a woman into an abuse victim implies that women are simple and easily-swayed "grown children" who must be parented by society at large for their own good. It implies that what women watch or read should be censored by a) men, b) psychiatrists or c) the morality police because women in general are too weak-minded to tell the difference between fact and fiction, and that they are unable to understand their own sexuality.
And if we're going to go down that road, then we'd better up the censorship, moralizing and psychiatric input on every film that comes out of Hollywood or every show that airs on television. You know that gang-rape scene in Sons of Anarchy? Better watch out, it might turn your loving husband into a violent rapist! After all, men can't tell the difference between fantasy/fiction and reality, right?
In the end, it doesn't matter if 50 Shades is your cup of tea or not. It doesn't matter if you think it's stupid, poorly written, trashy, whatever. It may be those things. But here's a newsflash: It isn't all about you. Some people will want to see it. They'll go, have a laugh, maybe get the juices flowing and hopefully have a little fun with their significant other when they get home.
And then, believe it or not, they'll actually show up for work on Monday morning.
Even the women.
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