The thing we don’t want to admit about 50 Shades…

I’ve read through a handful of articles this week that take aim at the release of 50 Shades of Grey the movie and have concluded that there is a long list of points I would love to indulge in making about the whole kafuffel but I’ve narrowed my thoughts down to this…

I’d like to take a moment to consider the real problem surrounding the media fuss over 50 Shades of Grey. Sure, this movie is degrading to women (and in actual fact, men also), depicts them as mindless sex objects, condones voilent sexual behaviour toward them and is, as Lisa Wilkinson described so aptly, “Domestic abuse dressed up as erotica.”

But here’s what really troubles me…

Every single day most men, and many women, are up to their eyeballs in ‘leisurely viewing’ that makes 50 Shades look like Play School…and no one seems particularly bothered.

Yep. The P word. Pornography. Heaven forbid anyone gets between Aussies and their right to watch porn, but here I go nevertheless. Our obsession with it has hit crisis point right under our noses and, as far as being a talking point in the media and on the general consciousness of our culture, it can’t even hold a candle to the wildfire of media attention that has followed 5SOG.

Here’s the thing: 50 Shades is just reflecting back to us the values that are being cultivated in our culture daily through every facet of the media, and we’re all about 30 years too late to start getting offended by it. By all means, I believe we should still object to it and perhaps, over time, small wins against the messages of movies like this can help society army crawl its way to higher ground. But the point still remains – stop picking and choosing what to be offended by. You cannot take offense at this movie and also turn a blind eye to the prevalence of pornography in our culture.

Many people, myself included, take huge issue with the sexualised themes of 50 Shades and I was greatly encouraged to see Lisa Wilkinson speak out against it through mainstream media. But why are we picking a fight with this movie now in 2015 when, from the moment the internet has existed there has been boys claiming to be men watching hours of hardcore pornography like its as routine as reading the morning newspaper. Pornography that is generally highly sexualised towards women, treats them as less-than-human sex objects and is strongly themed around male domination.

These are the same ‘Aussie blokes’ who feature on the list of the top five nations represented amongst clients at brothels in countries like Thailand and Cambodia – places these cowards can go to perform any of their degrading sex fantasies on human-trafficked little girls dolled up as sex workers when their wives and girlfriends back home aren’t up for reenacting the highlight reel from their hour-a-day porn addiction.

Australia is having a sexual identity crisis.

Porn, especially with increasingly violent content, is very real and its beginning to show its ugly effects throughout our culture. It is proving to be the primary influencer of young peoples understanding of sexual intercourse, meaning that we are in the very early stages of seeing an entire generation who’ve been raised on pornography and indoctrinated to view sex through the male dominant, affection-less, violent brand of sex displayed in it.

Most guys are watching it relentlessly, and the statistics of young women viewing it are increasing rapidly – why? So they can know what is expected of them in the bedroom and how to ‘perform’ to the sad and unrealistic expectations of guys who’ve been brainwashed on it.

And, bye the way, the average age of exposure to porn for males is 11 years old. ELEVEN! I’m not just talking about 16 year olds’ stealing a Playboy magazine. This isn’t the 70’s. Children as young as 12 are consistently watching highly graphic pornography.

For more information about the repercussions of porn in the context of a relationship, I can’t recommend highly enough that you check out this article which, ironically, was posted by GQ Magazine – a men’s magazine that has a habit of putting semi naked women on their front cover and filling their issues with sexually driven content.

It’s time to do more than just complain about one highly sexualised movie and to look at the deeper issue. The effects are all around us on a daily basis. It’s 2015 and we are still treating women like objects in so many different pockets of our culture and its all reflective of a society who’s foundational views of sexuality are entrenched with porn. After making so many advances in the treatment of women in recent generations, this is taking us backwards.

In recent times, there’s an increasing awareness on the fight for women’s equality (which I’m all for), but so long as we do nothing about an entire generation of young people being raised on pornography, that fight will be less than pointless.

So long as the majority of men’s fundamental understanding of sexual interaction is that the woman’s role is to perform whatever sexual acts a man desires, the idea of women ever obtaining a respected and equal place in our society is delusional.

For more reading on this topic, check out the amazing team at Collective Shout who do a great job speaking out about the objectification of women.

This is about more than a controversial movie and more than porn. It’s about the enormous ripple effect throughout culture that comes from pornography’s depiction of sex becoming the widely accepted norm. It reinforces women’s value to a society as being entirely tied to their physical appearance and how that can be harnessed to make money or be enjoyed as a sexual object. I don’t know about you, but I’m not convinced I ever want to bring a daughter into that world. I want to contribute to making our culture one that values women for their intellect, wit, gifts and their contribution to the lives around them.

50 Shades of Grey is a reflection of a culture in a sexual identity crisis. It’s time that we pick a fight with more than a movie.

If you’re keen to read more about the epidemic of pornography in western culture, consider trying Fight The New Drug. They are doing great work helping people fight addiction.


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