- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2014

With 100 million copies of the novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” sold and massive public anticipation for the movie’s debut in 2015, the recent release of a trailer for the film was bound to attract attention.

Some people, however, are seeing 50 shades of red over the trailer.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie trailer is “absolutely a misrepresentation” of what is in the book, said Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston.

“It advertises it as a love affair and erotic sex — what it’s really about is abuse and violence, and the grooming of a young girl into sadistic sex,” said Ms. Dines, who is also a founding member of Stop Porn Culture.


Media reports are “glamorizing” the movie, said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media and PornHarms.com.

Author E.L. James, whose "Fifty Shades" erotic trilogy has sold 16 million copies since its spring U.S. release, will sign her books July 12 at Comic Con in San Diego.
Author E.L. James, whose “Fifty Shades” erotic trilogy has sold 16 million ... more >

Americans may not realize it, but bondage, dominance, sadomasochism (BDSM) and “kink” scenes are part of mainstream pornography, she said.

Both hard-core pornography and BDSM have a lot of “deviant, violent material” that is cruel and degrading to women, and treats women as objects, “and not in any way equal,” said Ms. Hawkins.

Melissa Henson, an official with Parents Television Council, also denounced both the movie trailer and NBC’s “Today” show for promoting and airing it.

“Today” aired only part of the movie trailer Thursday morning — saying it was too much for morning television — but posted the full trailer on its website. The last seconds show the book’s main character, Anastasia Steele, tied and blindfolded on a bed, apparently naked and in the throes of sex.

Ms. Dines was incensed by that last scene, noting that in the book, Anastasia has been beaten, wounded and traumatized many times before she reaches such a moment. More importantly, Ms. Dines said, in real life, women in these situations don’t end up like Anastasia — “they end up dead or in a woman’s shelter or on the run for years.”

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie is currently unrated, and the trailer — which carries a “green band” saying it is approved for “appropriate audiences” — is available in many places on the Internet, including the movie’s website at Universal Studios, which is producing the film with Focus Features.

The “Fifty Shades” trilogy follows wealthy businessman Christian Grey as he meets Anastasia, a virginal college student, and woos her into his BDSM world and “red room of pain.” Married author E.L. James said she was interested in writing an erotic fantasy, and has been amazed at the runaway success of her three books — the first of which sold its 100 millionth copy this year.

Some 97 percent of people who interact with the Rotten Tomatoes movie review website say they “want to see” the movie when it comes out in 2015.

The new movie trailer includes a reworked snippet of superstar Beyonce’s 2003 “Crazy in Love” hit.

Even that was alarming to Ms. Dines. “My sense is that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘ was [written] largely for white people,” she said. By bringing in Beyonce — “who’s a hero to African-American girls” — they are widening their audience, she said.