Fifty Shades of Interpretation


fifty shades

I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I devoured the books and then read them again. And before you roll your eyes, I know I’m not the only one. With worldwide sales of $100 million, I’m positive I’m not the only one.

No, it’s not Hemingway or even JK Rowling, but I’m a mom. I spend all day taking care of my kids, running errands and cleaning the house. I’m a smart person, but when I read, I want something easy that doesn’t stress my brain.

So of course I went to see the movie, the night it opened. It wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but only because so much was cut out. Other than that I didn’t have much of a problem with it, or give it much thought. It seems I may have been the only one.

A post by Michelle Lewsen on her blog They Call Me Mummy is a letter directed at her daughters about how one day they will eventually see the movie(s) and what she hopes they take away from it. This post has since gone viral.

She hopes they understand that Fifty Shades isn’t a love story. That it’s about a controlling and violent man who stalks, breaks and enters, is abusive, disregards the word “no” and uses his expensive toys as props for his persuasion.

Lewsen is worried about the message her daughters will take away from the movie about how love should be, and that obviously Fifty Shades isn’t it. And she’s not alone. The release of the movie has sparked protests, criticism from parenting groups and has even been banned in some countries.

If I’m being honest here, and why not, it’s my blog, I really don’t see the big deal. And I have two daughters who I’m sure will one day see the movie just as I snuck downstairs to watch Dirty Dancing when I was 12.

And I didn’t suddenly get the desire to start bumping and grinding at some hidden dance club and I doubt my daughters will suddenly believe that entering into a BDSM contract is a clear path to a loving relationship.

I would like to think that I have taught them well enough that no matter what they read or see they will be able to make their own judgments and decisions. Good ones. And reading the books or seeing the movie are not bad ones.

The books do tell a love story. They show a woman who does have control and knows what’s she’s doing. And quite honestly, I’m tired of dissecting and defending everything we see, read and do.

There is so much out there that girls can be exposed to, and so much more to come. I find it a waste of time to worry about one movie or one book when I can’t hide everything from them and everything is open to interpretation.

Are Bert and Ernie a gay couple? Who did Carly Simon sing You’re So Vain about? Does Christian Grey grow and learn to love or does he just love to inflict pain? It’s been debated that Rhett Butler rapes Scarlett O’Hara and yet Gone with the Wind is still a beloved classic.

I would like to think my children can come to their own conclusions and that if they do see the movie and do think there is something creepy and violent going on that they can conclude that it isn’t right.

Everything isn’t always black and white. Sometimes you have to consider the shades of grey.


About Author

Melissa Reynolds is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written extensively for many local publications and websites. In what down time she has, Melissa enjoys reading, Second Cup Chocolate Chillers and family time in the city with her husband, two young daughters and baby son. Join Melissa as she navigates motherhood and Toronto’s busy streets.

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