There is a blog companion to FamilyLife/Dennis Rainey’s Stepping Up® book and video program, and it has a three part series by Scott Williams on Fifty Shades of Grey (50SOG). With the titles alone, you can’t make this stuff up:
- What’s a real man do with Fifty Shades?
- Man up to Christian Grey, Fifty Shades
- Real manhood: Black & white, not Fifty Shades of Grey
The denial is comical, starting with the refusal to accept that women’s reaction 50SOG is driven by sexual desire, the desire to be objectified by a powerful dominant man:
In case you’re not familiar, Fifty Shades of Grey is based on one of the best selling books of all time. The movie bills itself as a romance between powerfully-attractive young billionaire Christian Grey and a naïve, not-so-self-assured college senior, Anastasia Steele. Without meaning to, she catches his attention when she’s interviewing him for the school newspaper, and he begins to do everything in his power (and he has a lot of it) to make her the object of his desires…
…Ana repeatedly tells Mr. Grey (after each time he does his thing with her) that she doesn’t appreciate it. She’s constantly in tears about it. She tries to leave him, only to have him stalk her and emotionally manipulate her into staying. He demands control of her life to the point of prescribing her exercise and diet, choosing her wardrobe, and having a doctor examine her and put her on the pill.
Here we have a fantasy written by a woman, and consumed by women, and all Williams can see is a fictional man making women sin. This is truly fantastic, because 50SOG came into existence by women going around the standard publishing process. 50SOG started as Twilight fan fiction, and women loved it so much eventually the book and movie industries showed up to give women what they were demanding. As Williams notes, Christian women are just as enthralled with 50SOG as non Christian women are:
What is surprising is who is viewing the film and reading the book—and why in the world they even would. Many refer to the book as “mommy porn” because of its wild popularity among adult women. And ticket sales are briskest in the typically-conservative deep south…
…it’s also reaching our young daughters. According to IMDB (Internet Movie Database), the movie drew the highest reviews by far from girls under 18.
And just in case you’re wondering, a Barna survey found that women who identify themselves as Christians are reading the books at the same rate as the general public. It’s captivating women everywhere.
That should concern any self-respecting man.
Williams can’t blame the Christian women shamelessly consuming the porn; they are being tricked into trying to “rescue a broken man”. There has to be a man to blame, so Williams blames the fictional character E. L. James invented (and E.L. James for inventing him). He’s the one to blame, for not being a real man:
Christian Grey is no real man in any sense of the word. A real man respects and honors a woman’s body and emotions; he doesn’t abuse and manipulate her. But author E.L. James has somehow made Grey the desire of 100 million women. She cleverly plays to women’s innate longings to be sought after, to live a more fulfilling existence and to rescue a broken man. In doing so, she gets women to excuse abusive behavior and to ignore countless warning signs on a fool’s road to romance.
Reading through two very lengthy, very detailed synopses of the first book (I refuse to read the book itself), I was continually struck by how much Mr. Grey’s behavior was the very picture of everything we tell women to run away from to avoid abuse. How many times have we listened incredulously to real-world horror stories of women who endure years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from boyfriends and husbands, yet can’t bring themselves to leave. Yet here we are with a book series and movie that draws women into that same warped, powerless thinking—“I’m not worth it. He can’t help it. What will happen to him if I leave?”
While a fictional man is to blame, real men need to step up and solve the problem. Real men do this not by confronting women’s sin and refusing to allow women to deny the nature of their temptations. Real men do this by treating women better and improving their self esteem. This is especially important for daughters. If daughters have enough self esteem, they won’t be tempted to go after sexy badboys:
A young girl needs to know that she’s loved—by her Heavenly father and her earthly father. We daddies need to remind our daughters of their intrinsic worth to us, and especially their value to the God who created them, who knows them intimately, and who loves them unconditionally. The more they accept this, the more likely they will be to look for a man who recognizes and respects their value.
According to Williams, Wives need self more esteem too. But they also need more beta comfort to prevent them from pining for alpha attraction:
Your wife should be the object of your desire. She longs to see in your words and actions that you are always seeking the best for her. Rather than expecting her to sign a contract listing your demands, remind her that you have made a covenant to cherish and care for her, and to love her as much as you love your own body (Ephesians 5:29).
He advises men to get their wives sexual juices flowing with some modern Christian seduction, straight from the Book of Oprah. According to Williams, the key to getting your wife hot is lots and lots of talking about your feelings:
There is a much healthier way to jump-start romance and intimacy in your marriage. It’s called communication. Open, honest conversations about intimacy and sexual fulfillment keep romance and passion alive through years of marriage.
Talk honestly about how each of you assess your love life, frequency, likes, dislikes and wishes. Maybe you can start with some simple questions that you answer together.
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate our intimacy?
What things that I do make you feel most wanted and fulfilled?
What would you change about our love life?
Lastly, Williams closes the three part series with a warning to husbands not to respond to their wife craving to submit to a man by reminding her that she should be submitting to her own husband (emphasis mine):
The Bible teaches women to submit to the God-given leadership of their husbands in the same way that Christ submitted to the will of God the Father. But here’s a reminder, guys: God doesn’t command a husband to remind his wife to submit. Instead He calls the husband to unconditionally love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave his entire life for her.
This is of course not true. Husbands are to lead their wives spiritually, and wash them in the water of the word; there is no exception for biblical instruction on marriage. If a wife isn’t submitting, her husband has an obligation to remind his wife what Scripture says on the topic.