Each year, Hollywood celebrities grace the red carpet at the Oscar Awards, modeling the latest fashion as the world watches. Last night’s show was no different. Customarily, headlines following the oldest entertainment awards ceremony highlight which designers were featured and the winners for best lead female/male roles. However, today reporters are singing a different tune. Conversation is brewing about the painful-to-watch interview between Dakota Johnson, lead female actress in Fifty Shades of Grey, Melanie Griffith, long-time actress and Johnson’s mother and Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer. Along the star-studded red carpet, Spencer interviewed the Fifty Shades of Grey star about her latest debut in the film. She then asked Johnson’s mother if she had seen the feature. Her response was shocking, as she awkwardly responded with, “I don’t think I can. I think it would be strange.”
Her answer sounds like a lot of the women with whom I have talked. Many are hesitant to see the film, and one must ask why that is. After all, this movie has been quite a hit, earning over $100 million in the domestic box office and trending as a topic on Twitter over the past weeks. Aren’t parents, especially mothers, usually our biggest fans? Aren’t we as women supposed to embrace the sexual exploitation that Fifty Shades of Grey promotes? Not in this case. Perhaps the hesitancy is because Fifty Shades of Grey displays Griffith’s daughter, in an abusive, erotic, and unhealthy relationship complete with BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism). After all, what mother would enjoy viewing a movie that contains that type of content with her daughter as the lead role? It is obvious that Griffith is uncomfortable with viewing this film.
The women who have refused to see this film will shock you. The wife of actor Jamie Dornan, who plays the lead male character, hasn’t viewed Fifty Shades either. According to People Magazine, Dornan said, “she hasn’t seen the film and I don’t think she will, to be honest … I’d understand if she didn’t want to.” Who could blame her? Any wife, or husband for that matter, would likely feel uncomfortable if they watched their spouse participate in sexual relations with another person, especially practices like BDSM.
The bottom line: the reasons for not going to see Fifty Shades of Grey are endless. If the below-average ratings and distasteful content aren’t enough to convince you, follow the examples set by the wife and mother of the stars themselves. If neither of them watched the film, maybe you should reconsider as well. I’ve chosen not to see the movie, and applaud any woman who does the same.
Mary Teal Mulligan is an intern with CWA’s Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program, Spring 2015