Theology & Culture
In an article titled “Why I don’t want my daughters to see ‘Fifty Shades’”[i] CNN contributor Ronnie Berke talks about her concern for her daughters watching the movie adapted from the wildly popular erotic novel of the same name. The novel, and subsequently the movie, details a sexual relationship between Dorian Grey and a young woman that involves sadomasochism, which is sexual interactions fueled by the giving and receiving of pain in order to stimulate pleasure.
The movie features bondage, whipping, and other sexual perversions taking place between these two individuals, and it is presented as normal and pleasing.
Berke speaks of her fear that her daughters will be enticed by the ideas put forth in the movie, and may think that they need to do these things in order to please their sexual partner. Several others weigh in on the movie throughout the article including a couple psychologists and therapists. The general consensus among them all is that the movie can potentially have an adverse effect on young women and girls psychological understandings of sex. The point is also made that the film is directly targeting teenage and college age girls through its marketing by featuring young actors, and even music from Beyoncé who is an ‘idol’ among teenage girls.
The main thing that stands out in this article is the fact that all those voicing their concern over the movie are operating with a secular worldview when it comes to sex and relationships. The author makes the statement that “I can say in full confidence that I taught them well about sex: Be responsible for your actions and protect yourselves… The goal is to forge a meaningful relationship with someone who is both lover and friend.” The other parents quoted in the article make similar statements, and all of this shows that abstinence and waiting until marriage is not a value that has been taught to any of these young women. When sex is simply presented as an act performed by two people who may be ‘in love,’ but are not in a marriage relationship, then it simply becomes another part of the relationship no different from kissing, seeing a movie together, or having dinner. In contrast, Scripture teaches that sex is between a husband and a wife (a man and woman), that it is the consummation of a lifelong commitment to each other made before God, and that ultimately it represents the two becoming one flesh.
The parents in this article voice concern over the thought that their daughters may venture into what they call ‘alternative’ sex practices as a result of viewing this movie, yet they have set their daughters up to explore these so-called alternatives by not providing them with a proper view of sex. The secular worldview sees sex outside of marriage, multiple partners, and no deeper spiritual implications with regard to sex as the norm, and this opens the door for the exploration into sexual perversions as sex is simply rendered as the satisfaction of pleasure seeking with whomever and however an individual wants.