Fifty Shades of media saturation

So, the infamous film of the infamous book is now showing at UK cinemas and there can’t be a single person over the age of consent who has’t noticed. Everyone’s talking about how the lead actors didn’t get along and hated being in the film, the author and director disagreed, the trailer was terrible, and then there’s the Fifty Shades branded lingerie, the sex toys… hell, healthy fast food restaurant Itsu even have a soft drink called 60 Shades of Grape. (It made me laugh until I realised that you can easily be misheard when you tell people about it.)

Fifty Shades of GreyDespite all of this terribly publicity and insane media saturation, the opening weekend was still a roaring success… because Valentine’s Day. Yes, what could be more appropriate viewing for the most romantic day of the year (allegedly) than a film about a man who doesn’t appear to understand the meaning of the word no? Zoe Margolis’ review for the New Statesman says everything I needed to know about this movie: “All good relationships are built on respect, trust and consent – and the one at the centre of this film contains none of that.”

So, what can we learn from everything that’s bad about Fifty Shades? Quite a bit if you know where to look. Counselling therapist Tania Glyde wrote about BDSM: psychotherapy’s grey area for The Lancet, Emma Green discusses many troubling aspects of the story in depth for The Atlantic – both of which are incredibly thought provoking – and Dr Meg John Barker blogged about kink in the lead up to the film’s release last week. These BDSM 101 posts covered some useful topics for beginners:

I considered writing a post where I simply linked to all the posts on kink that my guest bloggers and I have written for Rarely Wears Lipstick over the years, in order to ‘cash in’ on the hype, but that would have been a missed opportunity to share much better writing and analysis on the topic. I’m keen to read more so, if you have links to any other interesting discussions of the Fifty Shades phenomenon, please share them in the comments below.

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