There has been lots of buzz about the trilogy called “50 Shades of Grey” by E. L. James, especially with the announcement of a movie coming in early 2015.
Whether it’s a Christian women’s group on Facebook or waiting in the checkout aisle at the grocery store, you hear about it. Talk shows are having guests analyze it. Magazines are watching for every bit of gossip about it. Seems like it’s everywhere right now.
I will preface everything I’m about to say with a personal fact: I have not read the books.
Religious or not; Christian or otherwise, every one of us needs to stand back and make a judgement call about something before we dive in. Is this right for me right now? Is this going to edify myself and those around me? What will the impact be on my life if I were to move ahead? I’ve heard it said many times, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” or “Don’t judge those around you.” But, like it or not, we make judgements on everything we do, every single day.
Is Fifty Shades of Grey Wrong?
Most of the people I am with on a regular basis are Christians, as am I. Most of them absolutely detest any mention of *that Grey book*. From what I’ve heard, it contains lots of risque sexual behavior between at least two people who are not married, Ana and Christian. That in and of itself tells me that it’s not something I want to read.
So, briefly, in my opinion, reading the book(s) would be wrong.
Why is it so popular? Why do women (I’m assuming mostly women are buying the books) even want this kind of thing in their life?
Usually, when lots of people around me are sharing the same opinion about something and are talking about it over and over, again and again, it moves me to go beyond what they are saying. It begs the question within me, “But, why?” Why is it happening? Do all these people really know what they’re talking about? Am I getting the right information? Is there something deeper happening here?
I did a little bit of digging into that question of *why* and some of the things I’m seeing really make sense. It sounds like Christian Grey just knows everything Ana wants in an intimate way without her having to ask or direct or verbally communicate. It also sounds like Christian is a take-charge kind of guy and women are responding to that.
Is this the opposite of what women wanted in the feminist movement? They wanted to take charge, they wanted to be shoulder-to-should with men in every way. From giving out orders at work to running the home, women wanted to be no different than men.
Maybe they ended up with more than they bargained for. It sure appears that the success 50 Shades is having in many circles may be due, at least in part, to the notion that women are tired of being in charge all the time. Women are complaining that men don’t take charge enough in the bedroom, or anywhere else for that matter. They are enjoying reading about a man who takes control of the situation, every situation.
It Goes Deeper
But, more than that, women are hurting inside. There is an unfulfilled need. There is lots of pressure, whether you have a job outside the home or you are a full-time SAHM – pressure to have it all together, pressure to live up to the expectations, pressure to be both man and woman (in a manner of speaking).
50 Shades is about a woman being taken care of in a very intimate way. It’s about someone just knowing her and wanting to provide what she needs. Yes, Grey goes too far in his control of Ana, but the underlying need is a signal.
As they read, maybe women are wondering how they can get more of some parts of that into their own lives and bedrooms – maybe without the ropes, though. Maybe, they are wondering how they can talk with their husbands about this topic.
Intimacy in marriage is a beautiful, fulfilling thing. Something that God created for us to enjoy. If Christians are willing to dig a little deeper into the underlying reasons for the success of this series, could we help some women who are wanting some healing in their own lives? Is it possible that this book series may just help us to open up the doors and see how we’ve gone wrong? Could we then allow a safe, kind, satisfying kind of intimacy into our marriages?