Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: Cover Your Eyes and Run

As Valentine's Day creeps closer and closer, bringing with it the long-anticipated release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, my heart becomes more an more burdened. I remember when the novel first came out, ladies of all ages became obsessed with it. I didn't know what all the fuss was about and somehow, by the grace of God, I managed to avoid reading it and falling into the trap of justifying the novel as anything other than what it is: sick.

I don't need to go into detail here about what the novel and movie are about, but to summarize, it is the dark story of a young college student who falls in love with Christian Grey, a handsome, mysterious, young billionaire after she interviews him for a newspaper. Not only is the story sexually graphic and full of bad language, but it is also demeaning and dehumanizing to women because Christian expects the women he is involved with to totally submit to his sexual perversion - which involves whips, chains, and handcuffs.

J. Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine lists just three reasons that people need to "cover their eyes and run from Fifty Shades of Grey:" 

"1. It encourages sexual deviance. In the novel, Christian invites Ana to become his sexual partner, but he asks her to sign a document that spells out what he plans to do to her—and he demands that she tell no one about it. The contract says: "The Submissive shall accept whippings, floggings, spankings, canings, paddlings, or any other discipline the Dominant should decide to administer, without hesitation, inquiry or complaint." Ana finds out that Christian has had relationships like this with 15 other women—and yet she still pursues him, agrees to the painful sex and enjoys it.

There might have been some redemptive value in this movie if Ana called the police or ran out of Christian's penthouse and refused his advances because she respected herself. But no—she submits to the abuse, and signals to women everywhere that there is pleasure in pain. The film also tells women that it's OK to be a mindless sexual slave, especially if your boyfriend is rich, handsome and has his own helicopter.

2. It glorifies violence against women. Last year a researcher from the University of Michigan did a study on the effects of Fifty Shades of Grey on women readers. It showed that women who read the books (it is actually a trilogy) were 25 percent more likely to have an abusive partner; 34 percent were more likely to have a partner who stalked them; and 65 percent were more likely to engage in binge drinking.

Just as there is a link between violent video games and violent behavior in teen boys, this study showed that women who read graphic porn novels tend to gravitate toward the types of abusive relationships depicted in books like Fifty Shades. The study also showed that these women were more likely to have eating disorders. (Interestingly, the dominant male character in Fifty Shades carefully controls his girlfriend's eating habits.)

3. It totally perverts the meaning of love. In one scene in the book, Christian buys Ana a platinum and diamond bracelet so she can cover the bruises on her wrists—which she got after being tied to her boyfriend's bed. The message from Ana's lover: I will hurt you, but I will buy you nice gifts so you will stay with me. That's twisted. And couples are going to see this movie on Valentine's Day?

One of the most bizarre moments in the book occurs after Ana leaves Christian and then goes back to him. She says: "The physical pain you inflicted was not as bad as the pain of losing you." Any psychologist will tell you that is the mentality of an abuse victim, who is brainwashed to believe that the attention she gets from her abuser is better than no attention at all.

True love is not about pain, domination or control—but Hollywood is happy to serve big helpings of this slop if people are willing to pay for it. Please protect women. Please defend decency. Please don't support this movie."

His summary is just so well stated that I had to share! I could have never said it better myself!

The hype surrounding this movie breaks my heart, and it should. It should break yours too, because if we really care about having a heart like His, there is no room for indulging in sin. There's no room for justification of evil. There's no room for supporting further corruption of the media. This is the world that our children are going to grow up in, and whether we like it or not, the media will in some way, shape, or form mold their little hearts and minds. Are we taking a stand against this? Are we making the world a better place by standing up for Christ? The choice is yours, and the time to make that choice is NOW.

Just one last thought, in the words of Mumford and Sons, "Love will not betray you, dismay you, or enslave you. Love will set you free."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Leaving the party at 8:00

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say, "getting married at 22 years old is like leaving the party at 8:00p.m.," I would never have to work another day in my life. Seriously... I'm over it. That's why I've decided to address this topic today.

The age right after college is such a dangerous time. It's my opinion that a lot of girls feel pressure to get married right after they graduate, and there's several reasons for that. First of all, they think that once they graduate, how will they meet anyone else? They could be comfortable in a relationship that, in all honesty, could be completely pointless... but all their friends are getting married and it just seems like the next step. Or, they could just be unwilling to wait for God's best because they want to be married now, not later.

So, because of all these things, I understand why people are hesitant to get married at a young age. HOWEVER... this is not always the case.

I work with the public at a travel agency in Charlotte, N.C. so I have the opportunity to interact with all kinds of people with different backgrounds, stories, opinions, and perspectives. It's one of my favorite parts of my job, really, because I love people. Last week, a man and woman came in who were approaching their 48th wedding anniversary. They ride a motorcycle with an attached side car all over the country and truly seem more like 25 year olds than 70 year olds. They got married at 19 and 20, and granted, things were a little different then, just like they were when my grandparents were of that age, but their perspective on marriage resonated with me in a way that I will never forget.

Their next trip was up north for a wedding, which of course, led to the conversation of my recent marriage. The man asked me how old I am and when I responded with "22," I braced myself for a comment about how "that's awful young," or some other comment I've heard a thousand times.

Instead, he said, "good for you," and I'm sure my jaw dropped. That's when they led into their story about how they got married at such a young age and have never regretted it a day since. They said that of course, there had been hard times as well as good times, but that they wouldn't have changed a thing. He shared with me his opinion that if you wait until you're "ready," you'll never be ready. It was so refreshing to see a couple at that age, more in love than ever, who did what they knew was right at the time God told them to do it, not when the world told them was acceptable, and have never looked back.

So, sure... I guess getting married at 22 is a lot like leaving the party at 8:00p.m.

if you're going to a super awesome after party with your best friend.