Garth George: Sordid little film not worth fuss

50 shades of grey abuse 2NZ Herald 18 February 2015
IT IS no surprise that men and women in their thousands are flocking to see the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, which was released here on Thursday. Or that those who set themselves up as the guardians of our morals are issuing stern warnings and recommending boycotts.

… Why this movie, based on a book that has sold by the tens of millions (it returned its author some $77 million in the first year), has caused such a fuss I can’t quite figure. This nation is every day saturated in sexual imagery, staring us in the face wherever we go and whatever we do. The advertising industry in all media, including billboards visible to everybody irrespective of age, unashamedly use sex to sell anything from underwear to perfume to motor vehicles; television, books, magazines and newspapers serve up a regular diet of salacious clad or naked women and men, often in the act of intercourse. Advertisements for Viagra and Cialis and a string of other drugs designed to restore or increase sexual performance regularly crop up on television and in magazines, along with those “Sex for Life” ads we find sprinkled through newspapers day in and day out.

… Bob McCoskrie, director of Family First, says: “The premise of the movie is that a woman who is humiliated, abused, controlled, entrapped, coerced, manipulated and tortured is somehow an ’empowered’ woman. And a man who is possessive, controlling, violent, jealous and coercive is somehow showing ‘true love’. “These are foul and dangerous lies. This movie, and the book it is based on, simply glamorises sexual violence and should be rejected by everyone who is concerned about family and sexual violence.” He’s right, of course. But in a land awash with sexual titillation aimed at everybody from little children to the intellectually disabled to the aged, suggesting a sordid movie featuring sexual violence might make matters worse is rather ingenuous. The real damage was done decades ago.

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