Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Fifty Shades of Awkward Disgust

A routine visit to TODAY takes on the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session. The experience of filming is recounted Vogue in with a gravity typically reserved for describing a violent, horrific trauma... 
Because 50 Shades of Grey is a sex movie, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have routinely been asked about sex. Because Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan seem to dislike at least this specific sort of sex (fake sex, with a person they hate, in a movie they made for a job they regret), they routinely display discomfort (ranging from wide-eyed confusion to intense aversion) when talking about sex, in general. 
Jamie Dornan, Glamour, January 30, 2015:"Some of the Red Room stuff was uncomfortable. There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I'd never choose to do to a woman." 
Jamie Dornan, Glamour, January 30, 2015:
"The first day [of filming] was kind of an out-of-body experience. I got there and they said, "Action!" I'm like, "What the f—k is happening? I'm a dad. What?
Dakota Johnson, Glamour, January 30, 2015:
"I grew up in Colorado, and there are manly men there, so manliness is attractive to me. I think it's unsexy when a man chews with his mouth open or when a man is rude or wears fedoras. I hate fedoras. Oh God, I can find more things I hate about men than I like. I think it's just a phase!" 
Jamie Dornan, GQ UK, January 6, 2015:Your dignity is intact as much as it's all tucked away in a little flesh-coloured bag... As a guy you put all your essentials in a little bag and you tie it up like a little bag of grapes and it's tucked away. 
Jamie Dornan, Elle UK, January 2, 2015, on visiting a sex dungeon:
"It was an interesting evening. Then go back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards … I had a long shower before touching either of them."
Basically, no one believes in this movie:
To sum up, in their own words: Jamie Dornan would like to point out that 50 Shades' success is certainly unlike Hitler's success, in many ways. Dakota Johnson would rather you not see this movie. 
Jamie Dornan, Elle, January 12, 2015:
"Mass appreciation doesn't always equate to something good. Think of Hitler! But I think, in this case, it must. It simply must." 
Dakota Johnson, Glamour, January 30:
"But I don't want my family to see [the movie], because it's inappropriate. Or my brothers' friends, who I grew up with. I think they'd be like, 'Blegh.' Also there's part of me that's like, I don't want anyone to see this movie. Just kidding." 
Author E. L. James, for her part, is pretending everyone will like the movie. 
E.L. James, Variety, January 20, 2015"I'm pretty sure the millions of fans who have the read the trilogy will think there is enough sex." 
Sounds like an episode of Disasterpiece Theater, minus the good clean fun.

I wrote about the moral problems of books like 50 Shades a while ago:
Romance novels -- novels for which the raison d'etre is sexual fulfillment, whether they're the hard-core Fifty Shades stuff or "Christian" romance or historical-tragical-pastoral -- create an image of effortless sexual complementarity that can supplant the very real work it takes for a woman to meet her husband where he's at, each time. And they undercut that work because fantasies can become addictive. They work their way into a woman's mind and rob her of the ability to respond honestly to her husband, just as any physical skill not practiced becomes rusty over time. It takes so much less emotional and physical commitment to become mentally aroused by retreating to happy stories (especially if there has been a fight or some breach in the relationship that has damaged communication) that eventually a spouse can become no more than tool for achieving satisfaction, or a "bin for one's urges" (as a commenter recently put it). Fantasy breeds lust, not love.

A woman who develops a reliance on sexual fantasy is cultivating a taste for something other than reality. Fantasy, so infinitely malleable, creates puppets for the purpose of objectifying them, or conveniently allows for the emotional manipulation of real people in a way that stubborn real life seems to resist. It also dismisses the real ugliness of subversive sexual situations -- women who find themselves excited by the fictional S&M antics of Fifty Shades would feel horrified, humiliated, and dehumanized if their husbands were to subject them to the same emotional and sexual abuse. True brutality isn't glamorous or arousing -- it's sickening and damaging.
Sounds like Dakota Johnson might agree:
Dakota Johnson, Vogue, January 20, 2015: 
I still can't look at it objectively or wrap my head around it. The parts of the movie that are difficult to watch were even more difficult—and emotionally taxing—to shoot." 
Dakota Johnson, TIME, February 2, 2015: 
"Filming a sex scene is not a sensual or pleasurable environment. It's really hot—not in a steamy, sexual way. It's just sweaty and it's not very comfortable. And on top of that, my hands and legs were tied, and I was blindfolded, and I was being hit with this bizarre tool. ... It was emotionally taxing. At first I was like, 'Oh my God, this is the worst thing ever,' and then I was like, 'All right, let's get on with it.' 
This is the language of reality, not fantasy.


bearing said...

I honestly feel bad for the actors. It sounds like a traumatic experience. They were being used.

Jenny said...

I feel bad for them too. They know something is wrong, but lack the moral clarity to understand what it is.

Enbrethiliel said...


LOL! It's like KStew and RPatz all over again . . . times 100!!!

Lydia Cubbedge said...

Such a bad gig. I do feel sorry for them-they're nowhere near as morally bankrupt as the author and the weirdos embracing this nonsense. That being said, this was one of the funniest and best things I've read in a while.

Josiah Neeley said...

I saw a clip from the movie set in a hardware store. If that sounds boring, don't worry; the film goes out of its way to make it EXTRA boring. The romantic leads have about as much sexual chemistry as two pieces of plywood. And of course, this was a clip the filmmakers specifically choose to highlight. Disasterpiece theater indeed.

Sarah said...

Well, when the source material is a fan fic of Twilight, there's only one way it can go....