Wow. Fifty Shades of Dreck.

So on the one hand young women on college campuses cry assault if a young man looks at them cross-eyed.

On the other hand the same young women are flocking to see Fifty Shades, the movie, because abuse is, you know, such a turn on. Especially when dished out by a hot troubled billionaire boy toy. (Because all he really needs is the love of a good woman… GMAFB.)

What the hell happened to us?

Where did we go wrong?

Independence and individual responsibility sure have taken a few steps backward since the days when I was burning my training bra.

A letter to my dear daughters and my wonderful son– this is not how real men behave and if a woman is smart, she will run far and run fast and never look back.


Speaking as a woman who A. survived child sexual abuse and B. a violent rape which nearly ended in murder (mine) and C. domestic violence dished out by just such a troubled pretty boy– It’s ain’t all that much fun.

Mostly I don’t care. Go see the movie. Won’t kill anyone. (Well, the written prose was pretty deadly.) If anything the popularity of Fifty Shades epitomizes our moment in history – Let’s call it The Age of Hypocrisy. May it pass soon.


15 thoughts on “Wow. Fifty Shades of Dreck.

  1. Roberta

    I have not read the book nor seen the movie. So I really should not be weighing in on this discussion.

    I have read that the book is poorly written and the movie boring; so I doubt I either read or watch.

    I have never been the victim of sexual abuse. Therefore I can only imagine how it must have terrified you and left life long wounds and scars.

    I think young women – and men too – are adrift in a world too many of their parents never prepared them for.

    As many young people do, they are looking for meaning. I think anything that is not bland perks their interest. Thus the interest from ISIS to sado-masochism

    They are simply open to anything and anyone who gives them something new and different that they think may be fun.

    I also have to admit I do not understand today’s young generation. As you write in your opening today’s young women “scream ‘rape’ seemingly too easily.” Yet they are flocking to this movie.

    They are adrift at sea without a rudder.

    For a long time I was upset with my parents for making me go to a Catholic school for 12 years. When I got out in the world I learned everything was not as I had been taught.

    But some where along the way I came to appreciate what my parents did. I am glad I went to Catholic school.

    The things I learned, the values imparted was my rudder. It was my life preserver.

    When I encountered something like Fifty Shades, I could compare that to what I had been taught in Catholic school. Then I could evaluate it. I could say, ‘Yes’….this is good, I want to change my beliefs. Or I could say, ‘No’, I this is not good, this value I want to keep.

    I do not want to see this movie. It does not fit my values.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Roberta, perhaps this is the result of helicopter parents – smoothing the way so they never fall or experience the consequences of their actions. And, of course, there is always a desire to push the envelope. But it’s like having your cake and eating it too. You can’t have it both ways. Can’t scream rape but then glorify it on-screen.


  2. Marylin Warner

    On the one hand, I have not read the books and I will not see the movie; life is too short and there are too many good books and movies to read and see. On the other hand, I have to argue with your opening sentence, Julia. We must have a different experiences with and perceptions of college females, but I find it very unfair and hurtful to say that “young women on college campuses cry assault if a young man looks at them cross-eyed.”
    Volunteer at a campus crisis center or hospital ERs near a university.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Marylin, I do believe rape and sexual abuse occur on college campuses. I also believe assault and sexual assault are crimes. They need to be investigated by the police. I firmly believe in due process to protect both the possible victim and the accused. Do I understand that rape victims don’t always want to come forward or press charges? Yes, of course. I was once in the same position and as a nurse I have treated victims of sexual assault. However, if I had a son in college right now I would tell him not to drink, ever, and definitely not to have sex no matter how willing a young woman seems. I do not agree with college tribunals.
      I was once assaulted by a visiting professor. I was not the only student he targeted. Fortunately a number of us complained and he was charged with assault.
      I’ve had two daughters graduate from college. College campuses are much different than they were even five years ago. My youngest was just back visiting her campus. She was shocked at how divided students seemed.


  3. Marylin Warner

    Thanks, Julia. I appreciate where you’re coming from. I was having trouble with the opening sentence. There are many young college students who are overwhelmed and intimidated, and they’re afraid to report legitimate rapes because they’re afraid they won’t be believed. I lost a superb student teacher who did not report her rape because of the unified intimidation threats by the guy’s fraternity brothers and their girl friends. It was a nightmare for her, and she didn’t get the help she needed until much, much later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Marylin, I don’t mean to minimize the trauma of rape. Rape is a terrible act of violence. I simply wish women felt empowered to go to the police. I certainly wish I had.


  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    The closest I ever came was a professor and a relative who propositioned me – I said no, that was the end of it. So I can’t weigh in. My kids were homeschooled – in college they seemed to each build up a pod of good friends who played games and did things in a bunch, some of whom hooked up with each other, many more who didn’t.

    Given the trauma that surrounds reporting a rape, I can see how girls would be reluctant to do so. I have read about supposed ‘cry rape’ cases which turn out not to be, and always wonder what the reality was. If it had happened to one of my kids, I would probably understand better. The web of lies and corruption it takes to protect misbehaving athletes, student, and fraternity members seems well-documented when these cases come out.

    I tried reading a few pages of 50SOG – it was awful. The subject – creating a loving relationship by what? for lifetime commitment – is impossible. I fear for our country and world. And our image abroad – when Hollywood produces this junk and passes it off as ‘being American.’ That and the other junk. What’s wrong with things BETWEEN horribly saccharin and throwing-up badassery?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Alicia – unfortunately 50 Shades is not just an American phenomenon. It sold worldwide more copies than the bible. Not a healthy relationship. Of course it’s a fantasy but I guess my point is this — with all the sensitivity in schools and on campuses regarding sexual assault, what does the popularity of 50 Shades say about our real mindset? Does it say women want to be abused? That women fantasize about dominant cruel men? It’s a very confusing time. That’s what I’m getting at.


      1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        Extremely confusing – I am not allowed to comment about what truly consenting adult women choose to do – but it is not a world that I’d like to see happen.

        The potential for abuse is enormous, and it always sound like a male fantasy to me. And a pernicious, dominating one, justified by with, “She likes it!”

        Liked by 1 person

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