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Fifty Shades of Darker Double Standards

Surely the same women who were able to bring a half a million of their sisters and supporters together so quickly must be planning another major show of defiance against the latest example of female abuse and misogyny?

A scene from "Fifty Shades Darker" (YouTube)

Where are they?  Where are the women who are so utterly angry and irate; the women who are simply besides themselves about the way their sex is allegedly abused and demeaned by those in positions of power and major influence?  Where in the world are all the thousands of protestors who donned their pink pussy cat hats and marched defiantly with their angry signs just a few short weeks ago, railing against a system and an administration that continues to, as they so righteously claim, objectify them and keep them from reaching their potential?

Surely the same women who were able to bring a half a million of their sisters and supporters together so quickly must be planning another major show of defiance against the latest example of female abuse and misogyny? Where are they this weekend in particular when two of the most powerful and influential cultural forces—Hollywood and the porn industry—are once again combining efforts and selling domestic abuse, violent sex, and stalking as love, happiness, and fulfillment?

It’s possible, I suppose, that many of those who participated in the so-called “women’s” march the day after the inauguration, are as disgusted as I am with the cricket-like silence from much of the radical feminist movement regarding the damaging effects of pornography, especially on women.  But so far, unless I am missing something, there are no protests planned to speak out against films such as Fifty Shades Darker.  The latest screen adaptation based on the best-selling, Mommy-porn trilogy by E.L. James is opening up in theaters everywhere this weekend and just in time, of course, for Valentine’s Day.

Pornography rakes in approximately 100 billion dollars annually around the world, with about 13 billion of that being earned right here in the United States. The silence is even more stunning when one takes even a quick glance at the connection between porn and many societal ills affecting women.  Research gathered by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation should have the pussy cat hat crowd—and the rest of us for that matter—not just protesting the local theaters in person and on social media, but demanding the film and others like it be tossed where it belongs: in the garbage heap.

Here is a brief summary of some of the research pertaining to the devastating impact of pornography on women:

Adults exposure to pornographic media is connected with

  • Believing a rape victim enjoyed rape
  • Believing women suffer less from rape
  • Believing women in general enjoy rape
  • Believing a rape victim experienced pleasure and “got what she wanted”
  • Believing women make false accusations of rape
  • Believing rapist deserve less jail time
  • More acceptance of the rape myth
  • More acceptance of violence against women
  • More adversarial sex beliefs
  • Increasing their estimates of how often people engage in sex with violence

And that’s just for starters.  There is plenty more research where this “top ten” list came from and yet when it comes to being outraged groups such as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and a handful of others are, for the most part, voices in the wilderness, surrounded by deafening social silence.

The NCOSE, meanwhile, is offering those concerned a chance to speak out through a worldwide boycott of the latest Fifty Shades installation.  Dawn Hawkins, the center’s Senior Vice President and Executive Director, points out the darkness of the new movie and is asking for people to use the hashtag #FiftyShadesIsAbuse in order to bring more attention to its many issues:

The Fifty Shades of Grey series revolves around a man who consistently threatens, stalks, intimidates, and coerces his ‘romantic partner.’ If this man lived in a trailer park there would be no question that he is a domestic abuser. But, the series packages its abusive lead character as handsome, wealthy, intelligent, and powerful—as if these attributes make domestic and sexual abuse acceptable. Despite the narrative of Fifty Shades, no amount of wealth or good-looks can transform an abuser into a prince charming.

Fifty Shades Darker also sends the dangerous message that women can ‘fix’ their abuser by loving them the right way, and that domestic violence can be excused because of the abuser’s troubled past. These are prevalent cultural myths that contribute to some women choosing to stay in dangerous and unhealthy relationships. No amount of appeasement will ever solve intimate partner violence in the real world.

As Hawkins explains, NCOSE also hopes the cash that would have been spent at the theater will instead be donated to needy organizations such as a domestic violence shelter or a pregnancy resource center.  In addition to NCOSE, Catholic therapist Dr. Peter Kleponis is at the top of the list when it comes to not only fighting porn in the culture, but in defeating porn addiction. Dr. Kleponis recently released a new Catholic self-help recovery program workbook, Integrity Starts Here! A Catholic Approach to Restoring Sexual Integrity that people can order online confidentially if they want to get help. This program can be used by Catholic therapists for their patients, and is the only Catholic program of this kind in the world. If you or a loved one need help in fighting porn addiction, practicing Internet accountability, or learning more about the negative impact of pornography in general, contact Dr. Kleponis.

For parents, the question is not if, but when porn will be exposed to their children. Covenant Eyes is helping many parents and families proactively fight against porn through internet filters for their children’s phone and computer. They are stopping it even before it can reach their kids. Even parents are using this software on their own devices.

So let’s ditch the double standards and the hypocrisy and speak out against pornography. Let’s also remind those who claim to be so concerned about women, that we all deserve much better than Fifty Shades of Darkness, and the many shades and shapes of deception that porn continually takes.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission to help support my blog and help with my evangelization efforts.)

Related at CWR:
• “Grey is the Devil’s Favorite Color” (Feb 5, 2015) by Teresa Tomeo
“Fifty Shades…” and the Sexual Objectification of Women (Feb 11, 2015) by CWR Staff

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About Teresa Tomeo 11 Articles
Teresa Tomeo is an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with 20 years of experience in the secular news media as a reporter/anchor. Her daily morning radio program, Catholic Connection, is co-produced by Ave Maria Radio and EWTN Global Catholic Radio and heard on 500 domestic and international radio affiliates as well as on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. She has authored over a dozen books, including Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture (Ignatius Press). Her latest book, Listening for God: Discovering the Incredible Ways God Speaks to Us (Sophia Institute Press.

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