50 Dollars Not 50 Shades

Fifty Shades of Grey has been in theaters for a little over a week and is already the highest-grossing film released in February.  It chronicles the story of Christian Grey and Anastasia “Ana” Steele and their budding relationship.  I haven’t seen it, and I don’t intend to.

I read about a new hashtag that was started a while back.  It’s called “50 dollars for 50 shades,” and it encourages people who were planning on seeing the movie to instead donate to a women’s charity in lieu of buying a ticket and popcorn for a matinee showing.

This movement is the only good thing coming out of this movie.

“It’s an interesting cultural phenomenon because it’s an incredibly misogynistic piece hiding itself under the guise of being a feminist revolution,” Karina DaSilva, co-president of the Feminism Is club, said.

The movie is based on the outrageously popular three-book series, which originated as fan fiction for the popular teen book-turned-movie franchise, Twilight.  The author, E. L. James, was approached by publishers who believed this work could be consumed in print form, DaSilva said.

“It portrays them [women] as weak, and as men as being aggressive,” Dennis Artaega, treasurer of the Feminism Is club, said.

There are a number of inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the movie.  The main idea is that Christian Grey teaches Ana Steele about bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, or BDSM.  However, members of the BDSM community have made it clear that the acts depicted in the movie are not a reflection of their practices but rather plainly, abuse.

“Even people in the BDSM community that actually participate in BDSM activities think this movie is just ridiculous.  It doesn’t even represent the community its supposed to be representing,” Emily Witt, co-president of the Feminism Is club, said.

This movie also perpetuates the idea that the woman is submissive to the man in every way, shape and form.  She appears to have no control in the relationship but rather follows the every command of the man, who is her superior economically, physically and mentally, according to Witt.

These two ideas together mix and create the idea that what is being portrayed in this movie is romantic, sexy and safe.  In reality, it is promoting rape culture.

“We live in a culture that doesn’t believe that consent is relevant, and this movie and the book just reinforces that notion that it doesn’t matter what the girl thinks,” Witt said.

That is where the new campaign comes into play.  Already this film has made over $100 million domestically and only cost $40 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo.

I am not a supporter of illegally downloading material that others worked so hard to make.  However, instead of supporting that art, it would be a better use of time and resources to give that money to someone who would benefit more than the executives at Universal Studios.

Artaega, DaSilva and Witt all said they would much rather donate to a charity than see this movie.

The charity does not necessarily have to be one that helps women of domestic abuse.  It can be any cause one deems worthy of a contribution.  Donations of time as well as money are often just as meaningful.

“Basically any charity other than the movie will be fine with us,” Witt said.

There are hundreds of organizations to get involved with, including Children of the Night, which will be sponsored by the Feminism Is club’s reading of “The Vagina Monologues” on Feb. 25.

Hollywood claims to be a progressive industry, but if movies of this nature are on the horizon, I seriously doubt that can be true.

Katrina Petty
Staff Writer
Published February 25th, 2015