Saturday, February 14, 2015

50 shades and real love

I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. 

Don't get me wrong, St. Valentine is awesome. (Well, all the saints are!) I wrote about him on V-Day last year, here

This year, though, there are other things on my mind. 

My husband and I don't really "celebrate" Valentine's Day, but last night, we saw the movie "Old Fashioned". It was great - and I whole-heartedly recommend it - but that's not what's on my mind, either. 

What's on my mind, is the line of women waiting for the next showing of "Fifty Shades of Grey" as we left the movie theater last night. 

All I can say is, WHY, ladies? WHY?? 

Disclaimer: I haven't read the "Fifty Shades" books, and have no intention of reading them; what I know of these books is what I've read in the media. 
Now that that's out of the way... 

Why, in a culture that acts so concerned about domestic violence and women's freedoms and women's rights, are women lining up to see a movie that is about a controlling, manipulative - dare I say ABUSIVE - relationship between an (initially) naive young woman and a jealously possessive stalker-type guy? 

And why do so many women find the jealously possessive stalker-type guy otherwise known as Christian Grey so attractive? 

I suspect it is at least in part because he pursues Ana, though in such a twisted way. In a time when commitment has fallen by the wayside and casual hookups are becoming the norm, women are not accustomed to men pursuing them, "wooing" them, if you will. 

But as far as I can tell, Christian Grey is only pursuing Ana for her body. He's not interested in pursuing her for her mind or her soul, or interested in her wellbeing in any real sense - because it's all about him, what he wants and what he "needs".

What's so attractive about that?

Seriously. Without reading the book or seeing the movie, I can tell you that I don't need, or want, a Christian Grey in my life. I don't need someone who tells me that, "If you do this, I will be devoted to you, and only you..." 

That's not love. That's not devotion. Real love is not an "if-then" proposition; it's not a quid pro quo.

Real love is not about manipulating or stalking or controlling the person you're with, or using them to fulfill your sexual fantasies. 

Real love is sacrificial: "willing the good of the other as other" (St. Thomas Aquinas) - making the choice to love that person, whether you feel like it or not, without twisting them to fit your own idea of who they should be. 

Real love is not easy. But most things worth doing, aren't easy. And ladies and gents, we're not "things," so no snickering about "doing" each other, or about the ones who are worth it not being "easy".

We are human beings, women and men with inherent, God-given dignity; we're more than soulless sacks of chemicals that are constantly colluding to form illusions that we call emotions. 

How different would our world be if we treated each other like that's true, for a change? 

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