Liberation or bondage?
The book ‘Fifty shades of grey’ became an instant best seller, and now the film is a sell- out.
I have read what the book is about, but have no desire to read it nor to see the film. I have a very good visual memory, and have learned that I prefer not to have unnecessary and unwanted images planted in that memory. I personally do not believe that sexual behaviour that demeans or hurts anyone mentally, emotionally or physically, even if in supposed 'fun' is acceptable and I do not find knowing about it either amusing, stimulating or interesting. You may think I am a miserable individual - that could not be further from the truth.
I simply question 'why do people need either to behave in these ways or even to know about them'?
The behaviour is as old as the hills, but why now are people particularly interested en masse or wish to tell about and encourage others to follow suit? Is this their idea of 'liberation'? Are they secretly ashamed so want others to behave in the same way to lessen their disquiet, or are they so thrilled with their new discovery that they think other people are 'missing out'?
I would imagine the lady who wrote the book simply wanted a 'best seller' and to be famous, and recognised a 'gap'. When I was young it was books like 'Lady Chatterley's lover' that received that kind of attention.
I do not moralise, and believe that adults can do what they wish sexually, as long as they do it by mutual consent with another adult and cause no harm or hurt to others. They must take responsibility for and accept the consequences of their behaviours.
I couldn’t care less whether people are heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, or what they need to use in an attempt to get sexual satisfaction, or anything else about their behaviour, as long as they leave children and teenagers alone. But it is this latter aspect that causes grave concern.
The two problems I have with a book and film of this nature, is not that people can read or watch, that is their choice. No, it is because, though this is supposed to be an ‘over 18’ film, its content will inevitably be seen by many younger people.
The result of such a book and film is that gradually, over time, the behaviour extolled will be seen as normal ‘main stream’ behaviour. That behaviour is likely to gradually infiltrate society and become thought of as acceptable. The danger to our society is the subtle changing of values as a so-called ‘liberated’ society develops. These changes are not leading to long-term happiness and fulfilment, just temporary and fleeting sensation and thrill. Living 'for the moment' should never lose sight of the future.
In the present day ‘through-away’ society, long lasting love, devotion, loyalty, kindness and long term caring are gradually being faded away in the pursuit of the excitement of instant pleasure, in whatever way it can be obtained. Inevitably the 'energy and desire' will disappear with increasing age or illness, and then nothing will be left of any worth except possible regret.
Such a lot is being lost, not gained as is foolishly imagined. I speak as a retired Consultant psychiatrist, who heard about people’s sadness, broken relationships and lost opportunities as a result of behaviour, for nearly 40 years. Time could be reassessed but could never be relived. Pursuit of gratification per se is along a path to emotional mediocrity and often ends in loneliness and depression.
I wrote a short article for teenagers called ‘Aliens report back’ (in my articles on Author’s den) in which an imaginary group of ‘aliens’ visited earth a few times to assess what was happening. The précis of their final conclusion was that ‘the most important part of the body of a human is obviously the brain, but gradually that importance is being diminished as the genital organs take precedence. Brain function could not be found in those organs, so we remain puzzled.'
Is this an increase in liberation or is it bondage?
Despite the lack of antibiotics and treatment for asthma, which I needed and couldn’t have as a child and teenager, I am glad that I was born in a time before the so called ‘progressive culture’; before ‘women’s lib’, so had a mother who ‘mothered us’ and my children were also my priority before my career; and before TV and computers, so that my inner images were innocent and created only by my imagination and to match my understanding.
Much may be gained in the modern world, but much more is now being lost, subtely, without public acknowledgement or a whimper or protest - apart from the occasional 'voice in the winderness'.
Dr Audrey Coatesworth