50 Shades of Grace: An honest perspective on porn and lust in our culture today.

50 Shades of Grace: An honest perspective on porn and lust in our culture today.

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This Valentine’s Day weekend, movie theaters everywhere are premiering the much talked about movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Everyone seems to have an opinion too, though almost no one has seen it yet. Many people have read the wildly popular books, and it’s even been dubbed “Mommy porn” making the popularity of it skyrocket (that’s another story right there). Full disclosure: I have not read any of the books, nor will I watch the movie. Though, I know I have several friends that read the book and are eagerly anticipating a trip to the movies this weekend. It’s not my idea of romance, by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s intentional promotion and release of the movie around Valentine’s day suggest the world’s definition of romance is much different.

Now, first of all, if you’re planning to see the movie, I acknowledge that there’s not really anything I can do to stop you or anyone else from exercising their own God given free will. But so many people have justified this issue, I feel the need to explore the flip side-no judgement-to give another perspective. For what it’s worth, many of you know though I love writing, I haven’t penned a blog post in quite a while. So I would hope that fact might bare some weight to my readers, and you guys would hear me out.

I have, in the past, tried to step back from getting into heated debates online, because I’ve noticed they don’t get anywhere. Usually, I end up frustrated and even hurt (as I’m sure other parties do as well). I’ve heard every argument under the sun for why this type of thing is permissible, and even promoted. I’m not talking about the violence aspect alone, either. I’ve heard that it’s “just fiction.” I’ve heard that it’s fine in the context of a marriage, because a husband and wife are together, and using it (porn in any sense of the word) together and consensually. I’ve heard that it’s a wonderful thing for single Christian women because it gives them an outlet sexually to not be tempted to act on carnal desires. And the kicker…’it’s a good love story.’….I’ve heard and read that from several people recently it seems. These have all come from Christian women, too. I don’t feel the need to touch on the secular justifications for this movie however, because often times they are actually quite similar. I do find it odd that most people don’t seem to have a problem with it at all, though. Granted, there are a fair amount of Christian pastors/writers/bloggers that have, not unlike myself now, written a little blurb about this online. They often tear to shreds the movie based on Biblical standards, and to be honest, for the most part I tend to agree. But I have found the ones I have read pretty much all regurgitated the same language over and over. When that happens, I think people tend to shut down, not feeling the need to read any further, because no new thoughts or information is given on the subject.

I have also been told (by several people actually) in conversation where it seems to come up, that since I haven’t actually read the books or watched the movie, I’m missing the whole picture. I’m missing the love story in it all, supposedly. I’ve been told that for some folks, it’s merely 2 hours of eye candy. I’ve been told I have no authority to speak on a book or movie that I’ve never seen. And I agree. But for me, this goes far beyond this movie or book for me and my family. It hits a little too close to home for me, and if you would continue to hang with me a few more minutes, I am going to share something very personal with you. I’m going to share just why exactly books, movies, and entertainment like this are so detrimental to our culture.

1)Violence: While I’m well aware that merely taking something in mentally or visually does not mean you are more susceptible to act on it yourself, it’s not harmless either. I would imagine some would compare it to reading a murder mystery or watching a crime show on tv. The difference is lust. When lust is entangled with violence, something that would otherwise be repugnant to us is now commingled with something desirable.  While I won’t name any names, I have friends that have been in the past or are currently in relationships with someone with abusive tendencies. I know only second hand the details, and I grieve for them.  Movies and books like this glorify abuse, and make our view of it skewed. Let’s call a spade a spade here folks, the whole BDSM movement is made of people who get pleasure from causing pain to someone else. Being a part of Celebrate Recovery has taught me that any number of dysfunctions  or “hurts, habits, and hangups” as we like to call them, have a lot to do with our past. When we commit to the process of allowing God to change our bad habits, and step out of denial, we are able to admit that wrongs done to us-often abuse, whether verbal, sexual, physical, or otherwise)- play a part in the mess we have become. Truth be told, we are all a hot mess, but some of us are just better at putting on the happy face and smiling through it. We hide our ugly better than others. But many of us have abuse in our past. I can speak from experience that abuse is in both my past and my husband’s, and while this isn’t his story I am telling here, anything done to either one of us in the past affects us both. No one gets to the point where pleasure is derived from the pain of others without numerous scars on their heart along the way. Sexual pleasure from pain though, takes it another step further. While I personally don’t know anyone who I’d even consider “normal” anymore, most people do not act out in that way. That is technically outside of my definition of “normal”, and while I suppose normal could be a relative term, I’m sure you get my point. If we advocate for women or men who are victims of domestic abuse to leave or speak up for themselves, how can we condone reading and watching stories about it played out? If it’s just harmless “fun” and a great love story, can we really tell the woman who is beaten down for whatever reason her partner deems necessary that her relationship is harmful to her? It’s a catch 22, isn’t it?

How can we encourage a woman, who really loves her spouse or partner, to leave her abuser if we endorse an attitude of idealization of sexual violence in the entertainment we choose to ingest? Maybe in some ways, he really does love her, but if your friend has frequent bruises from someone she believes loves her, wouldn’t you question that love? Wouldn’t you question her judgement? And his? You’d tell your friend to leave the deadbeat, because he for some reason gets pleasure from her pain. You’d certainly not excuse his behavior, but you might consider that he had abuse done to him that skewed his view of what is normal, acceptable, and desirable. Often people who are abused, if they don’t become abusers themselves, seek out and settle for abusers, because they don’t know anything else. They don’t even think they deserve anything better than that, but their ideals are colored by the fact that they didn’t see a healthy example of what a marital relationship should look like. I would actually advocate, if the abuser recognizes there’s a problem and steps out of denial to seek help, that things can be worked out-only by the grace of God-over time. But it often takes years or even a lifetime to discover and heal from the damage done. No one who is a parent, would say they would encourage their child to pursue a relationship with someone who has a skewed view of reality to the point where they derive pleasure-sexual or otherwise-from hurting their child in anyway. Not now, and not in their marriage either. So let’s put it in that context. As a mom or dad, can you honestly say if your child becomes overcome by lust for someone who desires to harm them, that you’d encourage that relationship? Of course not!

 

Besides the fact that our children are much more aware of what we do, watch, listen to, and say as adults than we realize, it’s harmful to them, too. We sacrifice any moral code we have for the sake of entertainment, and we allow these things to go viral. We finance these books, movies, and any other form of media out there with our dollars, our time, our word of mouth support. We promote them, and the industry totally takes full advantage of that. It’s no secret that sex sells, and we continue to pay, so they continue to give us what we clamor for and we eat it up! But as we feed the beast, we are pushing the envelope that much more for those to come. Instead of taking a stand and saying you know what, I’m not going to give my money to this. I’m not going to support this. Instead of doing that, we at best have become complacent, afraid to rock the boat for fear of criticism and opposition. So we retreat.

Consider when you were a kid, whatever generation you are now, what was considered risque back then, is likely considered pretty tame or even old fashioned. Even me, a kid of the 80’s and 90’s I grew up with some things that may have seemed controversial at the time, but we still partook of them. We still sang those songs. We still watched movies with physical intimacy portrayed  in real time, as part of a sappy romantic movie. And really, we don’t think much about it. But we have to acknowledge that what is edgy in the current time and place, will be nothing but a shoulder shrug away from the norm for the next generation. We perpetuate that cycle. So when we tell the industry that we want more hypersexualized media, they will give it to us gladly. But at what cost?

When we seek out sexual experiences -whether fictitious or real- outside of our marriage, real damage is done. That damage can never be undone, and the healing from it can take years.

Keep reading for an inside look at what exactly damage this industry has done to me and my family.

Click here for part two (50 Shades of Grace Part 2) to continue reading.

 

One thought on “50 Shades of Grace: An honest perspective on porn and lust in our culture today.

  1. Pingback: 50 Shades of Grace part 2 - AllforHimBlog.com

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