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Have you seen 50 shades of Grey?

Ok. Probably yes, as I realise I am a bit late to the party on this one, I haven't even read the books!

On Monday, I headed with 3 of my best girlfriends to Genesis cinema in Whitechapel (£4 for a ticket on a Monday! In central London!) to watch the long anticipated film version of that book, and eat pie and mash (oh yes, it ain't just nachos at Genesis, they offer a whole new level of carbs...)

I, like everyone else in the world, heard quite a lot about the book when it became such a huge mummy porn sensation back in 2011, increasing sales of kindles, as so many people didn't want anyone to know that was what they were reading it on the tube!

Even the weekend the film came out, I heard the London fire brigade on the radio saying they were expecting to see a rise in 999 calls from people handcuffed to beds and wotnot, as they saw an increase when the book was at its peak!

So my thoughts on the movie were mainly, I found Jamie Dornan very attractive (though maybe not as attractive as I thought, was it just me or did other people find he looked almost off-puttingly like a bear cub when he smiled?) and the film in general very funny. There were sections where we were crying with laughter: when Jamie Dornan (ok Christian Grey) kept on putting those ill fitted sex jeans on with such drama whenever he went in the playroom (just think how gross they'd be by now in real life with all the action and bodily fluids they are getting), the bit where he ate a large bit of her toast in a seductive way, the use of fashionable homeware and accessories as foreplay - stroking Anastasia with a peacock feather and then a leather tassle. Pretty sure I have saw both of those in the accessories section of Forever 21 the other day actually.

But the funniest thing of all was the whole idea of the book/movie -

Anastasia: "Are we going to make love now?"
Christian Grey: "Not until I have your written consent"

How every average relationship starts no?

And what that written consent is - a contract- is crazy! (Again, sorry that most of the world has already had this revelation!) See a physician of his choice to prescribe oral contraception, limit your alcohol intake, exercise regularly, only eat a list of approved foods?? The S&M stuff is one thing, but telling a girl she can't have that third glass of wine after a tough Friday at work? Hells no.

So you get the gist, although doing well at the box office, the film has done less well with the critics, but it can be rofls galore if you approach it in the right way.

Having said that, the day after International Women's Day (Sunday 8th), going to a film about a "dream man" who sure is rich and attractive, but ultimately ridonculously controlling did leave me with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

In loads of ways, you could argue 50 shades has sexually liberated thousands of women, and is credited with getting couples all over the country back into the bedroom after dry spells. But why are women turned on by this? What is the appeal of being the exception to the rule of basically a bad man? Being the one girl this not that nice and respectful man allows to actually sleep beside him after sex, allows to touch him, approves them going on dinner dates?

Ok, there has never been a super hot billionaire in my life trying to control me, but I like most girls have been attracted to the not so nice boy who hardly has an excellent cv when it comes to women and dating, and wished that I will be the one he makes a proper commitment to, the one he properly falls for. And it has never worked out...

E.L James' book, the film, the franchise could never have been made without the women who marched and burnt their bras and demanded for women to be seen as equals with the right to make our own choices. Written by a woman and read mainly by women, a certain amount of sexual liberation had to happen for a book like this to be adopted and a-oked by popular culture.

But even in that freedom to read and write and watch things like 50 shades of Grey, it almost demonstrates we are back where we started. All those women shouting "What do we want - freedom of choice!" And what do we choose... a rich man to provide for us, basically at the cost of our freedom. Yes, with freedom and self sufficiency comes some difficult things - Mr. Grey tells Anastasia how nice it is being a submissive, how comforting it is, how you don't have anything to worry about...maybe a bit like a child or a 1950s housewife? Sort of feels like we are back 60 years ago.

So I think, if you don't mind a film being a bit "so bad its good", then go and see 50 shades of Grey if you haven't yet, especially if you can do for just £4. But that doesn't mean we should forget that our right and ability to choose, is actually probably better than having a rich and hot billionaire as a beau. Even one as hot as Jamie Dornan.

"If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat." 
 (Simone de Beauvoir)

Corr blimey that was a little bit like going back to uni and writing an essay on popular culture and feminism. Fancy something a little lighter that you can do with your pals? How about an afternoon tea?


  1. Really interested dissection of your experience. I've heard mixed reviews: some say it's sexually liberating while others say the BDSM is not consensual & unsafe. I have no idea as it looks altogether unappealing story to me haha.

    :] // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    1. Haha yes to be honest I reckon it is such an unrealistic presentation of a relationship, I am not sure whether it is as you say sexually liberating, unsafe or just a bit silly!