Why It's Okay To Enjoy The '50 Shades Of Grey' Phenomenon

by Becky Wells

There’s a plethora of reviews to cover all 50 of the shades of grey as discussed in the film.

But, it’s rare I’ve read one that seems to talk about the record-breaking phenomena written by someone who wants to just enjoy the books or the films without having to question the existence of them.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" came along at a time when the concept of BDSM wasn’t being addressed at large, delving deeper into the discussion of a woman's sexuality.

Yes, everyone knew about the hidden realms of Ann Summers, and on Valentine's Day, we’d don some lacy underwear in an attempt to release our “inner goddesses,” but the huge publicity, debates and excitement that stemmed from the books are somewhat awe-inspiring.

Suddenly, we were being asked about our orgasms; we were encouraged to enjoy sex, and it raised the profile of women who like and enjoy a good shag.

We were finally allowed to enjoy sex, indulge porn and imitate being a sexual goddess without the shame and taboo that was present before.

I remember the rise of the books slowly spreading across the news. From girly mags and national newspapers to online feeds, everyone was talking about this book.

The rising popularity, slow trickle of underground knowledge and the giggly water cooler conversations you’d have when you saw a friend with a copy made me sit down with my own to see what the hype was about.

It started whole new topics. I read blogs about sex toys and why we need them. I’d discuss the books with my Nan. I’d have conversations about butt plugs with my boss.

It was a new time for sex.

I read the books when I was 19 and on holiday.

I was single, sitting in the sun and reading, “Mummy Porn” about a millionaire with a helicopter who drove an R8 and loved a good shag. I loved it! It was fun; I laughed and I got a bit turned on.

The book has raised many concerns and discussions about abuse in relationships, and quite rightly so. Whether you agree or disagree with "Fifty Shades," it’s raising awareness of consent, abuse and rape.

And, if people are thinking about it and talking about it, then it’s good. Although it's not quite the publicity EL James was expecting, if we’re debating, discussing and fighting about sexual consent, then it’s even more of a blessing in disguise.

In fact, the film is even better at highlighting this.

Okay, so the film isn’t going to give Scorsese a run for his money anytime soon. It’s not going to win Golden Globes, and it’s not going to receive any awards. But, it's still an important part of our culture.

Dakota Johnson, who plays Ana, is bland and monotone, but then so is her character.

She has some funny moments, some try-hard emotional moments and her boobs are "normal" enough that you feel like the movie is still relatable to the everyday woman. All in all, she does a good job.

Jamie Dornan isn’t “my” Christian Grey, but put the guy in a suit and have him fly a helicopter and you’ll be hard pressed to not get a little weak at the knees. It’s a simple formula.

The film also expertly addresses the Internet’s main issues of consent and abuse in excellent fashion.

Everything Christian says about the contract and the red room of pain begins with, “Women who want me to do it” and “Only with those who ask for it.”

He says, “I don’t do this to women, I do it with women -- women who ask me to do it.”

There are safe words, and he stops whenever Ana says so.

While very niche in his sexual preferences and a bit weird ("50 shades of f*cked up" is pretty accurate after all that), the movie is in no way about an abusive relationship.

Again, it’s weird and it’s certainly not a purely romantic relationship, but it’s an exaggerated version of a guy who hooks up in one-night stands every night.

He gets sexually turned on by BDSM with girls who he has no feelings for, except things change with Ana, and Christian treats her to fancy cars and clothing because he’s a millionaire, so why not?

Quite simply, you have to take it for what it is: light-hearted erotica. You want a giggle and get some flushed cheeks on a Wednesday night? Check it out.

While it changed the world for women’s sexuality, women’s porn and women’s enjoyment, it is, after all, a silly story about a millionaire and his penis. And, hey, if you’re getting "50" percent of that in real life, you’re not doing too bad after all.