Christian Grey Belongs in Jail, Not in Your Bedroom

By Crystal Renaud

I wasn’t going to write a blog post about the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie because literally (and that “literally” is not exaggerated) everyone else has and we’ve already discussed the craze here and here. However, after actually viewing the trailers and seeing the hype from the media, I can’t get the following thought out of my mind:

“Christian Grey belongs in jail. Not in your bedroom.”

bookandfilm

Okay, so JAIL may be putting it strongly, but I don’t think I am too far off.

Perhaps it is because I was once the young, mousey girl taken advantage of by an older, stronger man, but the appeal of Christian Grey is totally lost on me. In fact, if I ran into him in the grocery store aisle (or I think a dark alley would be more fitting), I would probably pretend I got a phone call and walk the other direction. Why? Because he strikes me as a bonafide predator with extreme emotional disturbances…

The kind of predator with a desire to play out his twisted fantasies with a weak and vulnerable partner. Which is exactly what he does to Ana. 

This is not a “we hate all porn in all its forms because we’re Christian” kind of post. In fact, I will ignore that Ana and Christian aren’t married as well as the spiritual/demonic undertones presented in the “red room of pain” as it is described in the book (furnished with chains, whips, ropes, what have you). And I will even ignore that Ana was a virgin upon meeting Christian. I just want to have a very honest conversation with all of the women, specifically the Christian women, who believe this book is fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom. I see you in my Facebook newsfeed.

Many women start to read this book out of curiosity, but they continue to read it out of a deeper inner longing. They long for a man who shows them the kind of “love” and “attention” that Christian shows Ana, but the truth is this guy is more like Ted Bundy than he is Ted Mosby. And now that the movie is coming out and the trailer has been released, I see even more women posting openly about starting ladies book clubs to get prepared for when the NC-17 rated film debuts on Valentine’s Day 2015. How romantic! 

Everything is permissible. But not everything is beneficial. And not everything is honoring.

Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

So unless you can prove that Christ tied the Church up in rope, beat her with whips, and dominated her physically, emotionally, and sexually, then a bedroom full of BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) is not how husbands are called to love their wives. And it is not what wives should desire from their husbands. And it is not what women (single or married) should be filling their heads with until it all seems so fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom.

Let’s Talk Real Life For a Moment

Imagine you have a college-aged daughter and she meets Christian Grey in a similar fashion as Ana did. And she begins to talk to him, things start out slow, but then she begins to partake in this violent sexual relationship. Would you think all of this would be fun, exciting, riveting, and good for the bedroom then? I believe most would think not and would strongly encourage their daughter to find a man who will treat her better, honor her well, and love her like Christ loves the Church… like she deserves.

So why is it okay to make this your fantasy (or entertainment)? Why is it okay for Ana to be treated this way? Because she’s fiction? Because she signed the “BDSM contract” and “knew” what she was getting herself into? Unfortunately, the truth is she’s not fiction. There are many young women just like her who are coerced into doing the very same things by a man who is very much like Christian. It is called manipulation. It is called being a sociopath. And no meek and lonely girl is going to say no when a man with a presence like Christian is doing the asking.

This is not a matter of what one can and cannot do in the bedroom. That’s not my business. It is a matter of what we should and shouldn’t accept as normal, right, and good in our society.

I believe our friends over at Porn Harms/Morality in Media said it well when they posted:

“The popular series promotes torture as sexually gratifying and normalizes domestic violence, particularly violence against women. This type of material cultivates a rape and sexual violence culture and is now permeating our society. With the popularity of this book, mainstream opinion-makers (like Oprah, the Today Show, Planned Parenthood and Broadway) are telling the public (especially youth) that humiliation, degradation and torture in sex is normal and to just give it a try.”

And that is exactly what is happening. And before one argues that reading a book or watching a film based in fiction can’t change a person or make any difference in how a person lives their life, according to a leading fetish company, there has been an increase in their sales as a direct result of this book and now, impending film.

A man who is willing to hit you and harm you “for pleasure” in the bedroom is capable of hitting you and harming you “for no reason” in the kitchen.

It doesn’t take a long leap to get from A to B. I am the granddaughter of a victim of domestic violence. Not a “he lost his temper and hit me once” kind of domestic violence. But a “I feared for my life for years. He left me bruised and broken on the floor” kind of domestic violence. Domestic violence is never okay. Sexual violence is never okay. Violence toward women OR men (whatever the kind) is never okay. Violence ≠ Love.

So what are we teaching the next generation of women when our entertainment contains physical, emotional, and sexual violence? They learn what is acceptable by observing what we deem acceptable. And I believe books and films like Fifty Shades of Grey take us back to a time when women didn’t have a voice and were supposed to do whatever their husbands commanded of them.

Well, that is not the world that I live in.
Or at least I didn’t think so. 

32 comments to Christian Grey Belongs in Jail, Not in Your Bedroom

  • Krissy Higgins (@Krissy_r)  says:

    I agree – I read these books out of pure curiosity, and it reminded me of the dark path I took as a young adult with older men who influenced me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Linda Sidowski  says:

    Excellent post!! Couldn’t have said it better myself!! Thank you!!

  • sreccles  says:

    Unfortunately I read these books and have paid for it every since. When you read or watch porn it doesn’t go away just because you close the book or stop watching the video. The book is so depraved and I see so many Christian women thinking this is what they need to spice up their marriage. Porn and erotica ruins marriages it’s not real and sets one up for failure. It’s fantasy not real life and yes Christian should be in jail not honored for who he is.

  • Beverly Phillips  says:

    Yes, excellent article by Crystal that should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind (if there are still those who have no idea what the book is about…I supposed there are still a few of those around) whether or not they should read the book (or even the inside cover) and/or see the movie. It is exactly the kind of thing I would have been attracted to had I not recommitted myself to the Lord. I seriously don’t understand why any Christian would have to ‘grapple with their conscience’ over it…it’s porn, plain and simple…and the most egregious type of porn (if distinctions can even be made here), the kind that debases and disrespects women in the harshest way possible.

  • snr  says:

    Excellent article. I was so tempted to read the book but you helped me put things in perspective. Christ will never treat his bride like that so why should I choose to support a book that stands against who He is. Thanks again!

  • kristinemac  says:

    This is a great article. I think people get so caught up in the hype of the supposed “romance” they miss the actual abusive nature of the relationship depicted. Additionally, a lot of people do not consider erotica to be a form of porn but it is and can be just as addicting and destructive to a person’s life.

  • Jasmine  says:

    When I first heard of this book, I thought it was a horror book, considering the title and cover. After I learned what it was about, I can truly say that it IS indeed a horror book. I pray that the women considering starting book clubs to prepare for the movie and all other fans will encounter Jesus and discover that He is True Love. I also hope that this movie will do terribly at the box office, due to the lack of people seeing it. God Bless. <3

  • Calico  says:

    I hate 50 Shades of Grey because it gives off a bad look of BDSM and Kink. But I disagree with the article very much. The True Kink Community is not like this book, EVERYTHING within BDSM should be Safe, Sane and Consensual. If it is not, then yes it is abuse, but there are many people, many normal sane-brained people who like to be beaten, like to be tied up and liked to be controlled. Not in a “creepy kidnapped, you are my victim way” but in a good way. It’s much like crying, or screaming or even punching things. Have you ever just cried and cried, or screamed cursing your head off, or punched a pillow so many times that by the end of it all you feel better….like it’s a release. The same goes for people who like to be spanked, whipped or flogged, It’s all a release. And I thoroughly disagree with, ” A man who is willing to hit you and harm you ”for pleasure” in the bedroom is capable of hitting you and harming you “for no reason” in the kitchen.” because then it would not be sane or consensual or safe. There is a lot that goes into BDSM; Trust, 100% infallible trust, deep connection to a person, safewords (both a stop and a slow down…use these words and everything ceases immediately), and contracts from both sides, meaning a lot of discussion of what is allowed and not allowed.
    And before anyone argues that things like this can be broken or not listened to, yes that is true but that does not make all of BDSM wrong or immoral. It’s much like religion; so many people abuse religion yet so many still follow it and hold it as true, even tho many do not follow or listen to it. So yeah I really disagree with this article on the overall thoughts of BDSM, people need to get the real knowledge of the Kink Community before passing judgement.

    • Crystal Renaud  says:

      I appreciate you taking the time to respond. We understand that not everything portrayed in this book (and likely in the film) provides an accurate depiction of consensual BDSM acts. What one does in their bedroom and what they enjoy consensually is their business. We don’t hold an opinion that ALL BDSM is bad. But when one of the most popular series of books ever written depicts sexual violence in the way that it does, it is a cause for concern. People are being taught about BDSM from these books (right or wrong, fiction or not). Our biggest concerns with it is Christian’s dismissal of Ana’s safe word and even shaming her for using it. And the biggest issue we have with it all is the notion that a woman can change an abusive man. That is a dangerous precedent to set for the next generation. So no, we are not dismissing BDSM completely (though personally I am not a fan), but it has to be taught and shown to be safe, sane, and consensual, as you put it. This book doesn’t do that. This movie doesn’t do that. Thanks again for chiming in.

    • Rea  says:

      You call BDSM “safe”. I don’t believe you. As a desire to dominate a partner is the first red flag for a potential abuser, so the BDSM scene will have potential abusers as long as it has doms. Honest people who are actually part of the BDSM scene warn there are a lot of predators in the scene, and often people who complain about the predators are not believed.
      Safe, depending on the dictionary is “free from the possibility of getting hurt”. If nobody ever experienced any physical or emotional pain (emotional pain is things like humiliation) during BDSM, I would have believed it is safe. It is also “not exposed to danger or risk”. I believe there is the risk of getting closer to a wrong self image (too high or too low, depending on what side of scenes you are on) and a wrong image of others.
      As for sane, what evidence is there that it is sane to want to be tied up and beaten and treated like a slave or an object? Manuals of psychology call sadism and masochism disorders.

      You compare it to crying or screaming and feeling better afterwards – crying and screaming are not, in themselves, fun things. They don’t solve problems either. Such comparisons only tell me that – in spite of what some of them claim – the bound/ whipped/ controlled person is not enjoying it.

      As for trust – in a healthy vanilla relationship, you can trust your partner to not cause you pain, to not degrade you. That is even bigger than the trust that a partner will stop hurting and degrading before things go too far.

      • Crystal Renaud  says:

        Well put, Rea. Thanks for chiming in.

      • Oldie  says:

        On the flip side if said person is a potential abuser then this is easily the safest most controlled outlet and thus it will never mature into real abuse, however the nature of abuse indicates that BDSM is the last thing that they’d want to do because the act of taking power is what they often do it for, not having it given over to them and easily stripped away.That said the idea of a a practice making someone a potential abuser is intellectually dishonest because it not only discredits those who practice it properly but also the practice as a whole, simply based on something hypothetically possible (I consider that claim as well-evidenced as drinking soda is a red flag for being a sociopath). Pain does not necessarily mean danger also–again I lean on analogy here but just because runners too often experience physical and emotional pain, doesn’t mean running itself cannot be safe. Basically all of this is a biased statement about a sexual experience that some people enjoy and for some reason you can’t see why, so you simply write it off as insane and dangerous…coincidentally the same thing said about homosexual and interracial relationships in the past. It’s kind of disappointing because this statement does the opposite of Calico so nicely requested

  • Chelsea  says:

    Interesting take on the subject. I have read the book, in fact the whole series. I was personally ok with the BDSM aspects of the book, I don’t think that consensual aggressive sexuality leads to domestic violence. There were other aspects of the stories that I found troubling. First, even though Ana consents to this arrangement, she doesn’t know what she is getting herself into but agrees anyway. How can the characters ever be on equal footing if this is the case? Also, the book presents an overly idealized version of this type of sexual relationship. Christian seems practically clarvoiant about Ana’s feelings, needs and desires. All of their sexual encounters are blissful. Even when things go awry, she is not the one to speak up, he pries it out if her. Christian plies her with alcohol to get her to open up.

    None of these things are markers of a healthy sexual relationship. Positive relationships are built on mutual understanding and communication. This book teaches women that if they even if they don’t speak up all of their sexual desires will be met. This book teaches women that their partner will just know when something is wrong, so they don’t need to say anything if they are uncomfortable. It teaches women that it is ok to need alcohol to be honest about their feelings.

    • Crystal Renaud  says:

      Excellent thoughts and additions to the discussion. Thanks so much!

  • Samantha  says:

    Although I do agree with parts of this blog I do have to say… Christian never ignores her safe word in the third book… When she used it, he immediately stopped and was apologizing to her… she was asking him for what she wanted and he wasn’t giving it to her because she wasn’t using the safe word, but right when she did he stopped. He never made her feel guilty about it either. I do think that the relationship they have isn’t healthy in some aspects, but at the same time Christian was an abused boy .. the reasons for his behavior is driven by his past and the abuse he suffered. Everyone writing the anti – fifty shades blogs are completely disregarding the character development of him throughout the book and the realizations he comes to through meeting Ana. I read the three books and I do think they are explicit and in some aspects set a bad precedent for relationships, as Christians we should be educating women AND men about what drives them in their negative behaviors. In this book Christian is not a sociopath, he’s a deeply wounded person that doesn’t realize the consequences of his actions until he finally allows himself to be vulnerable and open enough to feel some of the emotions causing the pain in his life. That is the dark side of the book that I think people are ignoring, he doesn’t participate in BDSM because he wants to actually hurt anyone in the same way a rapist or murderer would, he doesn’t know anything different and in some messed up way that’s what he was taught “love” was.

  • Priscila  says:

    I am a Christian woman. And maybe it’s out of ignorance or not being able to really understand the church as a bride metaphor but when someone says ‘Christ would never treat his bride like that’ my head is filled with sexual innuendo and it gives me the heeby-geebies. Correct me if I’m wrong but Christ’s love is not a sexual one.

    • Crystal Renaud  says:

      While Christ’s love is not sexual (true), the metaphor is about how a man should treat/love his wife compared to how Christ treats/loves the church. Meaning, love does not equal violence.

  • Savannah  says:

    Hello,

    I think that your post is very very well written and in fact includes a lot of points that my mother in law and I were trying to present to my sister in law. However her complaint is that she does not believe anyone’s opinion or rather does not take it into consideration if the author of such opinions has not in fact read the books themselves. So I guess my question would be have you yourself, Chrystal, read the books?

  • Lisa  says:

    Judge lest you be judged is all I have to say!

  • edna  says:

    I am in total agreement with this article, not only does FSOG send a completely depraved message about relationships,but it also putting false expectations in females, especially young women about relations with “damaged” men.

  • Mel  says:

    Sorry for the late reply, I only just discovered this website.

    FSOG is something I’ll never read because rather like the fictional Ana, I met an older man when I was a 19 year old virgin who groomed me from the outset and abused and raped me for some months. He was sure to get my “permission” by asking me if I was sure I wanted to proceed with the “relationship” or not because he “didn’t want to end up raping” me. Which led me to believe for years that I was an active participant in my own abuse.

    But it’s taken years of specialised counselling to help me realise that what he did to me was abuse. My psychologist advised to avoid FSOG because of how closely it parallels my abuse experience. The popularity of FSOG frightens me because it normalises abuse and desensitises young women to it.

  • Gemma  says:

    I don’t even like or condone the book, but this post struck a nerve with me. A man hitting a woman in the kitchen? Because, what, we’re in the kitchen all day? The fact that you assert that women can easily be swayed is horrible– as if we’re all just looking for attention. Also, saying any woman can be simply coerced into BDSM is absurd. Different women find different things arousing; no one could convince me to be in a relationship like that, because I don’t think it sounds appealing. I have my own mind. BDSM and physical abuse have no relationship whatsoever, by the way; stop making connections where there are none.

  • dustin  says:

    It’s so refreshing to see articles like this from the women who are voicing similar thoughts as my own towards this book/movie. As a father of 3 daughters it terrifies me to think of men like this grey character Out and about with my girls. However, I can complain about it all day long, but hearing this from a woman’s perspective seems more valid to me and makes me smile. I only pray that I can teach my girls how a man should treat a woman by the evidence displayed in my marriage, and more importantly, they learn from biblical scriptures. Thanks for the read.

  • Aszia  says:

    Don’t believe I’ve seen you since the Summit in DC last year, but hope 2015 is off to a great start for your ministry! We are posting a News & Notes post aggregating 50 Shades articles this Friday and I just wanted to let you know we would be sharing your post from last year that was also recently in your e-newsletter. Tough, sensitive issues to write on. Thanks for being brave and sharing your perspective!

    • Crystal Renaud  says:

      Thanks so much, Aszia! We appreciate the support. Send us the link when you have it up… blessings!

  • 50 Shades of Cultural Madness | mama crossroads  says:

    […] Christian Grey Belongs in Jail, Not in Your Bedroom […]

  • […] more awesome coverage about reasons to skip 50 Shades of Grey here, here, and here, or check out an awesome book about Christian women and our awesome sexuality […]

  • Bimul Jedidiah  says:

    All I can say is, many that are playing Christianity, are playing it to their own perdition. Away with all the Satanic political correctness. Speaking the truth in love doest not mean silencing God’s word in order to offend no one. God says My ways are not your ways nor are my thoughts your thoughts. Those that think God is so desperately trying His best not to offend them are self deceived and they have shown how little respect the have for Him, if at all they have any respect for Him. How can we even be having this discussions if truly we are born again. Why should we even be trying to convince some so called Christians about how demonic this books&movie are if truly they are born again. When did God ever say our relationship with Him is a democratic activity? Are we to chose what to obey and what not to? . Paul said it well: ” The Lord knows those who are truly His”. Away with pretense, away with false Christianity, enough of trying to please the willfully sinful just so that no one is offended. You’re either born again or you’re not. And if truly you,re born again you’d know that these books and movie are Satanic and you’d stay away from them. Thanks for this article, well written and full of truth, keep up the good work sister and let no one despise you.

  • Tatjana Mila  says:

    Why did they choose name Christian for that lusty, wicked person? No other name? God is Holy, Christ is Holy and so should b anyone call himself Christian. Mocking at God’s people? Why coming on big screen tv with x-rated movies and ideology? Who is interested in portraying violence? We know the answer kingdom of evil manifested. Spirits been released to steal, to kill and to distroy and that what i see this movie going to do with people’s mind.

  • […] Christian Grey Belongs in Jail, Not in Your Bedroom […]

  • Theresa Flood  says:

    Thanks for telling the truth in this post. The degradation and objectification of women has become the norm in our society and we need to be ones who won’t mince the truth. Love your site and I look forward to visiting again. I’m a new blogger at justtflow.com. Please pass on whatever wisdom you can!

Leave a Reply