Last week I did an interview for BBC about the so called controversy over 50 Shades of Grey which will soon be released in theaters and is based on the book of the same name that sold zillions of copies to mostly (we presume) women.
While I see it as simply a movie that will probably rake in a flat fortune, my counterpart on the other side of the argument was an anti-porn feminist who thinks the movie is an affront to all women and should be boycotted. Basically, she argues that the film promotes violence against a poor vulnerable woman by an evil exploitative man. I said then and despite a flood of hate mail from across the pond I still say that this argument is just plain wrong.
In America, we believe in free speech and (for many of us) capitalism. That means that we can pretty much say or do what we want without the government telling us we can’t, and if we can make it rain money when we do then it’s all good. The fact that the book upon which this movie is based has already made a fortune should be Exhibit A in how all of this is supposed to work.
It’s no big secret that the book is erotic so we can only assume the movie will be, too. It stands to reason that as a film it won’t be a huge hit in rural Alabama or some of the more religious conservative parts of the country but most of the popular religious films of late weren’t exactly selling out Manhattan theaters either.
What the feminist pro-boycotting crowd wants to do with 50 Shades of Grey is drive off all the feminists in Manhattan who would otherwise buy a ticket by suggesting that they are somehow being traitors to their gender by supporting a film that exploits women.
I don’t have a problem skipping a film I don’t think I’ll agree with for whatever reason. For example, I think people (primarily men) who enjoy films of the Jackass genre likely experienced some form of head trauma during their formative years (e.g., dropped on their heads at birth), but I wouldn’t ever plan a blockade of every theater door in America to stop someone from seeing one of these movies.
I’m also not big on the whole climate change political message genre, but if you enjoyed Happy Feet and even had the intestinal fortitude to see it multiple times, then I’m actually happy for you!
The bottom line is that the movie business is just that . . . a business. In the end, it’s driven to make money, and I see nothing wrong with that.
Also, let’s be honest about this film. It’s not kiddie porn or a snuff film we’re talking about. It’s edgy erotica and it clearly has an audience. I plan on seeing it because I like to keep up with pop culture and who knows, I may even learn something!
Here’s a newsflash to all these women crusading against this film. If you don’t think you’ll like it, don’t see it! There is one caveat to that rule. Sometimes you get dragged to a movie you think you’ll hate and you end up loving it. How do you think Frozen made all that money? It wasn’t just a bunch of three-year-olds sitting in those theaters.
So keep all that fan/hate mail coming my way on this one, and look for me in the theater on opening night.
I’m all for grey . . . all fifty shades of it.