But rather than shrieking and pondering about who should play each character, I stopped and thought about the real question that boggled my mind: should we even be celebrating that there will be a perpetuation of the 50 Shades phenomena? And in spite of the nature of the novel, shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that a female director will be taking the spotlight? After all: only 5% of movies were directed by women in 2011 only to be topped off by a 9% in 2012, according to The New York Times.
And this film promises to gets a lot of attention – whether we like it or not.
Although I’ve yet to read the novels, I do have to admit that I read the Twilight installment, mostly because I felt the need to see what the other girls were fussing about at the time.
About three things I was absolutely positive: First, Bella, the main character, was physically, emotionally and spiritually weak. Second, the book was poorly written. And third, there was a part of her that was unconditionally and irrevocably dependent on not one – but two other men.
50 Shades was originally a fan-fiction inspired by Twilight. The novel’s protagonist, Ana Steele, is a 21 year-old virgin that submits herself to character Christian Grey’s BDSM fetish (caused in part by a sexual abuse episode that transpired during his childhood.) Grey apparently enjoys inflicting pain but not receiving it – he likes to be in control and Ana submits because “[he] needs it.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with receiving pleasure from S&M – we all enjoy and seek different sources of pleasure. But there’s this something that makes me uncomfortable about a female character that conveys an image of purity in contrast to a rich and powerful man. Shouldn’t they have had a conversation about limits? In chapter 26, Ana says : “I close my eyes bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside and the bite of the belt is everything I feared.”
She does seem to gain pleasure from the experience (hence the fact that there are sequels to the first novel?) But can we consider her to be an empowered female character because she becomes the source of Grey’s pleasure – or does Mr. Grey continue to be the metonymy of [male] power? Do Ana’s actions play an important role at all in regards to 50 Shade’s female fan-base?
There seems to be something that works right: this book has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide. But what does that even mean? Do women feel empowered and satisfied with the novel’s plot- or are we looking at social stereotypes that have been successfully infiltrated into the novel?
In any case, and according to The Daily Beast, Johnson was chosen thanks to her ability to “gracefully showcase complex relationships dealing with love, emotion and sexual chemistry.” She’s also an amazing photographer and two-time cancer survivor.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see [or read it] ourselves.