We can’t stop teenagers from seeing Fifty Shades of Grey, but we can teach them to view it with a critical eye.
Yesterday morning I went by myself to the cinema and saw Fifty Shades of Grey.
So what did I think? That’s what you want to know, right?
The truth is it doesn’t actually matter what I thought. It’s irrelevant whether I thought the film was an abomination or two hours of steamy, kinky escapism. It doesn’t matter what the critics are saying. Or religious groups. Or protestors. Or even Lisa Wilkinson (as much as I respect her).
The movie is out. The ship has well and truly sailed.
What matters instead is that the cinema I went to yesterday morning was filled with teenage girls.
I was surrounded by them. Hemmed in. Seventeen-year-old girls who looked like they were possibly wagging school. Uni students. Workmates. Groups of friends. At least half the people in the cinema with me yesterday morning were young women aged between 17 and 22.
And there we all were, ready to devour a tale about a brother and sister who are locked in an attic by their physically and emotionally abusive grandmother and who – bored out of their brains – turn to each other for affection and fall in love. Oh no wait – that was me reading FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC WHEN I WAS 12.
We can’t stop teenagers from seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. With an MA rating, anyone over 15 can buy a ticket and see the film. What we want to do is use the film as yet another opportunity to discuss THE BIG STUFF. Like the nature of consent, the difference between obsession and love, the concept of red flags and safe sex and what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
So with that in mind, here are my six take-aways from Fifty Shades of Grey:
1. Consent is an ongoing conversation when it comes to sex.
One positive thing I noticed in Fifty Shades of Grey is the fact that when it comes to the kinky sex, Ana’s consent is constantly checked, monitored and rechecked.
“Are you okay with this? Do you want me to stop? How did that feel? Are you sure? Did that hurt? DO YOU WANT ME TO STOP?” Nice work, Christian.