Fifty Shades - The Truths You Need to Know
Fifty Shades Freed is the third and final installment into the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. The series of books-turned-movies has been a talking point for many, especially those who love BDSM. There are complaints on how unrealistic BDSM is portrayed in the franchise, doing more harm than good.
Is it really that wrong? Well, here's a look at everything the Fifty Shades franchise gets wrong about BDSM and the truths you need to know.
BDSM Relationships Aren't Healthy or Fun
The Truth: BDSM enthusiasts have looked at how Anastasia and Christian's relationship in Fifty Shades is anything but a healthy BDSM relationship. When it comes to pain and sexual pleasure, it's all about consent and communication. Both parties have to be happy with the next step and there's a respect for boundaries.
Rather than focusing on this, the series shows Anastasia as putting herself in uncomfortable and uncertain situations because of fear. She worries that not allowing Christian to do something leads to her saying yes to something that she doesn't actually want.
Dominants Have Abusive Pasts and Mental Illnesses
The Truth: Christian shared in the first movie that he was a submissive at one point. Over time, it was also revealed that bad things happened and this made him into the dominant man he is today. There's the touch on his love of BDSM being a mental illness.
The idea is that Anastasia gets to feel like she's mending him. Good girls like to fix broken boys, right? It makes good fiction, right? The problem is that it treads into the dangerous stereotypes of BDSM and focuses on the misconceptions.
Most dominants are actually more submissive in nature. They want to gain power when they don't have it in life. This leads onto the next point.
Submissives Are Virgins with No Self-Esteem
The Truth: Fifty Shades likes to set up the idea that the submissive party is also submissive in life. Anastasia is this woman with no self-esteem, struggling just to get through each day of her life. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Submissives tend to be more dominant and successful in live. They have all this power and responsibility outside the bedroom that they don't want it inside. Fifty Shades would have been more realistic with Ana being the dominant and Christian being the submissive.
Forcing a Sex Contract on a Person
The Truth: Christian forces his contract on Ana. While she's able to negotiate a few things, it's mostly a "sign or you can't be with me" situation. That goes against everything that BDSM is. There are BDSM contracts, but they take time to negotiate and develop. This is something that both parties have to be fully agreeable with. It's more than a business decision and more of a contract between two people who want to explore more in their bedroom activities. These contracts are nothing like usual business contracts that remain set in stone and are minimally adapted. They are constantly fluid, as partners discover new things they want to try and those things they don't like.
Anything Can Be Used to Restrain
The Truth: Cable ties, silk ties, and ropes are all commonly used in Christian's playroom. At no point does he discuss all the risks involved in BDSM and using these items and it doesn't look like he's had any training in being a dominant.
Yes, there is training involved! Using the wrong materials can cause injury and that's not the point of BDSM. While it's supposed to cause pain, it's pleasurable pain and not injury. Ana never gets a reason to trust Christian with his play toys, which is something that would have needed to happen in a real BDSM relationship.
The Lack of a Safe Word
In the later books, Ana wants to set up a safe word. This is a smart move and something all BDSM enthusiasts advocate. The safe word is a random word that is a clear "stop." It is always to be followed and listened to. Yet, Christian doesn't want Ana to have the word and even ignores her when she uses it.
This is a clear reason not to trust him; a sign that he has no idea what he's doing. It's not surprising that there is anger over this particular scene. It showed complete disregard for the submissive, which would never, ever be allowed to happen in reality.