What 50 Shades of Grey Teaches my Daughters About Love

Dear friends,

Yesterday, I spent the day scrolling through my social media feeds, overwhelmed with the amount of things being shared about 50 Shades of Grey. There is constant buzz about the movie, and it seems the world is both intrigued and unsettled by its existence.

EllisI hesitate to add my voice for a few reasons. One, I don’t want you to think I’m judging you if you’ve read the book or plan to see the movie. Why? Because, friend, I care about you. You’re here in this community of people, and your thoughts, feelings, and opinions matter to me. Which leads me to number two. I care about you. I care about me. I care about my daughters, and the world outside our door that I must raise them in.

But any time we care about something, it becomes infinitely hard to talk objectively, and talk well about it.

If you’re looking for a review on the details of the movie, or specific examples from the book, I’m sorry. I’ve got nothing. I haven’t read the book. I don’t plan to see the movie. That means this post will be short, and to the point.

There is one thing that concerns me most with the widespread popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, and it’s this: mainstream sexual violence is now acceptable.

You can sit on the bus, in the break room, or on the exercise bike and read about a man whipping a woman for his own pleasure without thinking twice. You can grab dinner with the girls, and then head to the movies to watch sexually explicit acts next to someone’s daughter, or someone else’s son.

It’s acceptable because it’s popular.

But if this type of sexual violence is popular now, what will be left by the time my daughters become women and start looking for a man to build a life with? Should I teach them that it’ll be okay for their future husbands to throw them against the headboard on their wedding night? That it’s normal to submit to being beaten with an object during intimacy?

Moving the societal norm in this direction is frightening. Popularizing sexual violence in mass media means that this generation of watchers will come away with a new idea of what might be okay in the bedroom. If Hollywood sets the standard of what’s desirable, and X million viewers walk away thinking that Christian Grey is a pretty great guy, I firmly believe that our children are in danger of losing sight of what love actually looks, feels, and acts like.

For the record, here’s a really great list of things that love IS:

Love is patient. (No masking tape necessary.)

Love is kind. (Whips – no thanks.)

It does not envy (or leave bruises), it does not boast (or bite), it is not proud (domination has no place.)

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (It’s the opposite of Christian Grey.)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (No locked pleasure rooms necessary.)

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

This is the kind of love I want my daughters to find. This is the kind of love I want you and me, in our relationships, to be wrapped up and around with.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day. I’m not going to tell you what to do, or how to do it. I’m simply going to ask you to compare what love looks like in 50 Shades of Grey with what love looks like from the list above (taken from 1 Corinthians 13), and decide which type you’d rather celebrate.

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