An Open Letter to the Fans of “Fifty Shades”

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Dear fan of ‘Fifty Shades’,

As you likely already know, the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon is continuing with the second film, “Fifty Shades Darker”, coming soon to a theater near you.
Maybe you already have your tickets? The book trilogy, followed by two on-screen renditions, has been wildly popular- mostly among women.
Even women within the Church
.

Maybe you are proud to be a fan, or maybe you are slightly ashamed of what you are endorsing with your money and your time. Maybe you’ve been following the series since day 1, or maybe you just picked up a book one day out of curiosity, and then got hooked.

Well, either way, you can take a deep breath and relax, because I’m not going to use this post to tell you to pack your bags and head off on a guilt-trip.

I’m not going to announce that you aren’t a true Christian ( because that is between you and God), and I’m not going to question the freedom you have to choose your preferred means of entertainment.

So now we know what I WON’T tell you in this letter.
Let’s move on to what I WILL tell you:

Entertainment is never “JUST” entertainment.

“Chill out, it’s just a movie.”  It’s not that simple. Garbage in, garbage out. When we fill our bodies with unhealthy food, our bodies become less healthy. In the same way, when we fill our minds with unhealthy ideas, our hearts become less healthy.  Our brains are like tofu: tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever surrounds it in the frying pan. Similarly, our brains “absorb” the ideas and concepts we surround ourselves with, whether consciously or subconsciously.  It’s incredibly naive to say it’s “JUST” entertainment, when the reality is that the entertainment choices we make DO affect our mental and emotional health.  Are we mindfully engaging with culture, or are we turning out brains off and simply absorbing whatever ideas are thrown at us?

You might be trading the richness of reality for a shallow fantasy.

I personally know women who are deeply dissatisfied in their relationships, their marriages, their sex lives… all because of inherently flawed expectations. Please hear me out, ladies: Romance novels can be equally as damaging to relationships as pornography addiction. The effects are similar; certain expectations are set, and dissatisfaction ensues.  Maybe you can relate? If you are finding excitement and escape through this series, or any other similar form of entertainment, my heart breaks for you.   In chasing after a shallow fantasy, you are missing out on how incredible reality can be when you turn off your television, put down the graphic novel, and invest in whoever God has put in your life to love and to cherish. It’s natural and normal to want to be loved, desired, cherished, and fulfilled. When you allow God to meet those needs in your heart,  you will feel the freedom leave the “shallow kiddie pool” of cheap entertainment and escapism, to jump into an ocean of grace and lasting satisfaction.

Toxic relationships never deserve to be glorified.

Disclaimer: I’ve never read the entire book series. However, shortly after the first book was released, before all the hype began, I did pick up a friend’s copy and skimmed through a few pages- and quickly put it back down. Even the few pages I skimmed were violently opposed to everything I’d learned about what love truly is.
Love is patient, while Fifty Shades is lustful. Love is kind, while Fifty Shades is aggressive. Love does not envy or boast, while Fifty Shades finds it’s foundation in jealousy and pride. Fifty Shades is a portrayal of self-seeking pleasure disguised as romance. In psychological terms, the story glorifies a toxic narcissist/co-dependent relationship, when the reality of that type of a relationship is anything BUT romantic. I’ve personally witnessed the damaging and traumatic effects of abusive relationships.  I firmly believe that glorifying this level of brokenness, on-screen in front of MILLIONS, is only adding fuel to the fire.

 
So, now what?
You still have your movie tickets, and you still have the trilogy on your bookshelf.

Again, just like my introductory disclaimer, I believe that you have the freedom to choose your entertainment preferences. I’m not naive enough to believe that a single blog post has the power to change your mind, or impact your heart. Only God can do that.

I just want you to hear this: You are far, far too precious and valuable in God’s sight to settle for a cheap fantasy, when you could be pursuing true joy and fulfillment that only comes through Him.  Your mental and emotional health are WORTH asking yourself tough questions about entertainment choices. 

Sure, some people will think it’s weird if you swim against the current and choose to engage  your mind before buying your tickets.

Some people might call you a ‘prude‘.

I used to be so afraid of being called a ‘prude’. But if the word ‘prude’ is short for ‘prudent’, and ‘prudent‘ means “acting with or showing care and thought for the future”, is that really such a bad thing to be?

~K

 

 

 

 

 

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