50 Shades Of Grey Deserves A Second Look: Non-Fan’s View

50 Shades Of Grey

The happy and bubbly couple stood in front of me “You know he uses them on her in the 50 Shades of grey movie.” I stare back at her blankly my face tells her I haven’t seen the movies. “Oh my god, you haven’t seen them! You have to!”

50 Shades Of Grey for those of you that don’t know (all 3 of you) is a book series about a woman named Anastasia Steel and her love affair with a handsome rich guy named Christian Grey. This book series is also being made into films.

What Is It About?

The “50 Shades of Grey” series, authored by E.L. James, originated from “Twilight” fan fiction. Comprising three titles, the first book was published in 2011 and the series has sold over 150 million copies globally. It was adapted into films starting in 2015 with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan leading. The series sparked extensive debate on topics like sexual consent, BDSM, and romantic relationship portrayals in media.

“You’ve read the books though right?” asked the customer. This I could answer “Yes, I read the first one, but I couldn’t really get into it.” She looked at me shocked.

The truth is I really just didn’t like it that much. As someone who has always been pretty sexually open I found it tame. And while I thought the story was ok I just really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.

50 Shades Of Grey Has Mixed Reactions

In truth, I am not alone. The reaction to 50 Shades Of Grey has been mixed, for every person that loved it there was someone else who said it was pure “mommy porn”, “watered down erotica” or even said it was “not real BDSM.” It seemed that for many people they were underwhelmed, they expected something more from all the hype and to be honest I did kind of agree with them.

However none of that mattered when I had a customer in the store ask for something specific from the films. I realised in that moment whether I liked it or not I should know more about it because like many of the other things I sell I may not be personally into it but it is my job to know about it.

Watching This For The First Time

It was this interaction that had me downloading the films that night when I got home and settled down to watch them. I didn’t really want to spend the time reading the books and being a film school grad I was keen to watch the movie for homework. I switched on the movie and rolled my eyes at the cheesy opening music and began to watch.

Now this isn’t a film review (no matter how much I want to turn it into one) and in fact I quickly came to realise that what I personally thought of the film was unimportant. What was important was me understanding the appeal and I do.

Who Is 50 Shades Of Grey Made For?

I had to come to realise that this film wasn’t meant for me, an adult lifestyle centre employee with no filter and little shame. 50 Shades is for people who aren’t or haven’t been very sexually adventurous but would like to try. This book isn’t something the more “experienced” should roll their eyes at it is actually something we should be grateful for.  Because of this book more people and definitely more women are considering their own kinky sexuality, trying new things and generally taking a greater ownership of their own selves.

While the story is considered by many as anti-feminist, I can say the result of the book is anything but. In truth I think many women who like the book see themselves as Anastasia and are coming to realise that their sexuality isn’t something to be ignored it is something to be explored.

Also couple this with the widespread success and the fan fair of the books and movies. To get so popular they must have appealed too many and in that there is an increased acceptance for broader and more open definitions of sex. It was almost saying to people who maybe hadn’t been as open that:

“You liking this isn’t weird look how many other people do as well!”

50 shades of grey
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Why Understanding 50 Shades Of Grey Is Important

From my perspective of taking the time to watch and understand these films has been very important. Firstly, it helped me realise that the people coming into our stores who ask about 50 Shades weren’t uninformed about sex toys, or sex in general (outside of the norm) but rather they are starting their own journey to learn about what is BDSM to them after being inspired and have because of the book have felt comfortable enough to come in and explore their options.

Secondly, it reaffirmed something that I had forgotten, people have different tastes. I was always so understanding of customers who would come into the store with “extreme” (whatever that means) requests and questions however I wasn’t extending the same courtesy to the other end of the spectrum, those who were just starting to explore their desires.

Keeping an open mind about relationship norms and boundaries promotes respect and understanding across diverse interpersonal dynamics. It encourages inclusivity and adaptability in navigating personal connections. This approach fosters healthier and more communicative relationships.

5 Things You Can Learn From This

  • Expands awareness of various relationship norms and boundaries.
  • Fosters a more inclusive view of personal and sexual freedom.
  • Stimulates critical analysis of complex character motivations.
  • Facilitates conversations on important topics like consent and safety.
  • Cultivates empathy by appreciating different emotional experiences.

Finishing Up

In truth, I think there is a lot of judgment surrounding the 50 Shades Of Grey franchise, it seems to be the easy target for many different groups of people and after considering it, I think that this is just silly. Just because you don’t find something appealing doesn’t mean others will have the same reaction. Live and let live as they say.

Author: Jamie is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

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