The Frightening Implications of Fifty Shades’ Popularity


This post contains mature themes and is intended for adults. Last weekend, the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, was released. This movie is based on the novel by E. L. James. Apparently, it was the largest release for an R-rated movie ever, playing in 3,646 theaters across the country. It was a smashing success, leading the Box Office with revenue of over $90 million.

Of course, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, nor do I plan to do so. In fact, I hope that Christians will avoid this kind of depravity. I hope we’ll find our life and fulfillment in Jesus, and forsake the counterfeits that the world pursues.

The movie is the story of an average young woman, Anastasia, who is pursued by a powerful billionaire named Christian. He introduces her to sadomasochism. This deviant behavior mixes sexuality and physical or emotional pain.

It is unimaginable that a book and movie that elevates the abuse of women in the context of sexuality could be so popular. In fact, both the book and movie have been notoriously popular among women with 68% of the movie’s audience being female. Not only is this movie the mainstreaming of a more hardcore pornography, even more frightening, I fear that it points to a new reality in our culture. The modern sexual ethic, desperately seeking to abandon all of the so-called repressive rules of Christian sexual ethics, will not ultimately protect women.

While much of the culture despises biblical Christianity with its gender roles, its refusal to acknowledge countless genders, and its insistence on sexuality within a marriage of one man and one woman, women (and children of course) may be the biggest losers as society continues the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s.

In biblical Christianity, a husband is called to protect his wife and children, never to harm her or the kids. He is called to provide for his family. He is called to lead his family spiritually with sacrificial love. Indeed, he is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

As a culture, we’re breaking free from all of these supposedly repressive and patriarchal ideas. Where has this “freedom” taken us? You tell me when a movie that exalts sexual violence against women is thrilling to so many, particularly women. Ultimately, the more startling question is this: where will the wholesale rejection of the Christian sexual ethic ultimately lead? What will be the effects on women and on children? Though unpopular, let’s hold fast to the Word of God. When the Word is truly followed, women and children will most surely have the greatest opportunity to flourish.