OK, yes, I saw the movie. And read the book. All of them. And yes, the 50 Shades of Grey series is:
- a guilty pleasure
- potentially harmful to women’s self esteem, sense of power, and psycho-sexual health
- not fine literature or cinema
- not a great representation of the BDSM lifestyle
But that’s not what I am going to write about today. Instead, I am going to summarize the conversation I had after seeing the film. I was so glad I went with a man because he gave me a completely different perspective on the story line.
The first part of the conversation centered around the fact that the Fifty Shades story has been told (and will continue to be told) a zillion times. Pure, sweet, young girl meets wordly, wealthy, and super-hot guy. He woos her, they fall in love, have a couple problems, then live happily ever after in a big house with a bunch of kids. Interestingly , my male companion had no idea that pretty much all romance novels have this same story line (think: Twilight, Nora Roberts, etc). “I guess this is a fantasy for most women” I said. “What is the male version of this fantasy?” I asked. After some thoughtful consideration he guessed, “big boobs?” Hmmm.
After that insightful comment about the male psyche, he offered a few of his own observations about the Fifty Shades movie:
- How, at 27 years old, has Christian Grey had enough time to create a multi-billion dollar company?
- How does he have time for all these sexual shenanigans and stay at the helm of his empire?
- How would he have time to work all day, have dinner with a friend until at least 9pm, fly from Seattle to Georgia, make reservations to take a glider tour, rent a car just like his ride at home, and arrive fresh as a daisy to romance Ana early the next day?
- Why is Ana still using a flip phone?
All kidding aside, these observations really made me think about women’s expectations of the men in our lives. Just as it isn’t so healthy to expect all women to have big boobs, no wrinkles, and long blond hair – it also isn’t so great to expect men to be wealthy, endlessly romantic, and apparently have no need for sleep. Perhaps we need to be a little more fair when considering stereotypes of sexiness. And just as women can be damaged by unhealthy, unattainable expectations – so can men.