In a world where the lines that separate truth and lies, dark and light, black and white have been blurred, it is not surprising why every girl is swooning over the charming “Mr. Grey.” It is also not surprising that it has broken so many records in UK alone, giving it equal footing with literary giant, “Harry Potter.” What is surprising, shocking even, is that a once perceived perversion has become accepted, “hot” even, to quote the throngs of women who equate Mr. Right to Mr. Christian Grey.
This is “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and true to its title, it has all the blurry areas on love, sex and identity covered in one book. Quite a heavy blow on the truth this book is, especially how it seems to glorify the idea that premarital sex is acceptable. It pushes the envelope further when towards the end of the story, it projects that in order to have true love, one can indulge in no-strings-attached sex. To make it worse is the fact that the kind of sex that peppers almost 70% of the book is BDSM—Bondage and Discipline/Dominance and Submission; although claimed to be different from Sadomasochism, the world calls it a “milder” version of it. Chains, whips, floggers, blindfolds, handcuffs, spreader bars are just some of the horrors that go with it.
It is the typical boy-meets-girl story. Christian Grey was portrayed as the ultimate dream guy: rich, young, suave, mysterious yet charming. He was written as the one women went all googly eyes about. To touch-base with the reader’s affection and sympathy, he was cast as a powerful man with a troubled past, abused at a young age and aloof from anything that has to do with love. Thus, his preoccupation with BDSM sex. What better way to compliment this conflict but to have a naïve and simple young woman in the face of Anastasia Steele, someone who ordinary women nowadays can relate to.
Sounds familiar? Fifty Shades was actually derived from the Twilight Saga. It started out as fanfiction turned e-book turned print. It gave a new twist to the Twilight Series, highlighting the sexual relationship that could have been put into words to intensify the Edward-Bella story. As said by critics who earlier reviewed “Fifty Shades,” it became such a hit since it answered the disgruntled plea of fans to experience in blow-by-blow account sex scenes downplayed by the “bubblegum” style of writing by Stephenie Meyer. And the imagery presented in the book is intense. Downright disturbing. More than half of what is written paint images of sex, crafted by E.L James (the author) to make the reader use his/her senses to fantasize the sexual acts. More than half of the book is sex, sex, sex.
How does this affect us as Catholics?
Why should we even bother to comment on it and refrain ourselves from indulging in such erotic fiction? It is just a book anyway: read then forgotten. We could move on from it after all these hype.
This is the part where you “turn the lights on.”
Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT a book to be raved about. It is not JUST a book read then forgotten. Just like every novel, just like every literary piece, it has the power to shape history and define the values being taken in and absorbed by society. Look how Shakespeare defined love in Romeo and Juliet and in his sonnets…
how Iliad and Odysee opened up our world to Greek Mythology…
how Uncle Tom’s Cabin championed freedom and democracy…
how Harry Potter made this technology-savvy generation appreciate printed works again.
Literature has the power to affect our times!
More than that, it has the power to change what we think, how we act. A perfect example of books impacting lives is how the Bible has directed so many lives to the truth.
So when you rave about Fifty Shades and pass it all around, you have been charmed to believe that is touching to see how Mr. Grey unfold from a sexual beast to a man freed from all the wrong notions he had on love. No matter how the means were, the end justifies it anyway. That is okay to find love by going all through the rough, painful times to “change” and “save” the person you love. That is okay to go all out, in reckless abandon; never mind if I get physically and emotionally abused for the sake of being loved by the one I love. That sex is pleasure, that pain is pleasure…that the sexual act involves gratifying the self most of all. That even if one already KNEW that what is being done is against his or her own dignity as a person, it is still okay to stay in that dark, shady relationship in the desire to have his/her love reciprocated. That this idea, to quote the person being exalted by countless women nowadays: “Don’t waste your energy on guilt, feelings of wrongdoing etc. We are consenting adults and what we do behind closed doors is between ourselves. You need to free your mind and listen to your body.” is perfectly normal.
There are a lot of disturbing ideas in the book that it would take forever to elaborate but the thing is…IT IS NOT OKAY. The values laid out in the book ARE NOT OKAY. The rise in the sales of such a book should alarm us that society is slowly moving towards accepting the perverted, the once that is taboo. Sadomasochism, BDSM had a negative connotation. Now, just like how many truths have been twisted, it is turning the tables on what used to be black and white. The book’s title speaks for itself…it projects that it is normal to be “in the gray.” No longer there is a black and white.
Fifty Shades of Grey goes against our beliefs as Catholics. It is a threat to moral consciousness not just to an individual but to society. What we take into our minds subconsciously affects how we act on matters that greatly influence our lives. It is NOT JUST any ordinary love story; it is a twisted form of it. The greatest love story is still that of which we find in the very depths of our heart: God’s love story with us. His love allows us to see the truth…it never rejoices in gray areas for it is when we blend black and white that we sink ourselves in the lies that lead us to a deep pit of gray that chains us.
You are either for light or dark, truth and lies, black or white.
No “grey” areas, please!