The Warped Message “Fifty Shades” Teaches Your Teen About Love – YourTango

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 11.04.07 PMI know, I can’t seem to stop talking about this. I promise, you will not have Fifty Posts to read on this topic.

That said, last weekend saw the 4th largest opening in history for an R-rated film with the blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey, and interest is growing not just among adults, but young people. How could it not, with the mass marketing and teen burgeoning curiosity and sexual development? And it turns out, kids are so curious that in Florida, 100 underage teens mobbed a movie theater after being denied admission to the film. This is going to mean that like it or not, this film, and how they and their friends think about it, will be part of our kids’ sexual development. Parents and educators need to be ready help preteens and teens process and translate the powerful messages in the film.

One conundrum is that Fifty Shades has struck a chord with so many women longing for romance, novelty, or simply submission fantasy. These fantasies have helped many couples spice things up in the bedroom, so important to keeping intimacy and connection fresh. And yet this message is overpowered by the mixing of romance and violence, well beyond the scope of accepted BDSM practices that involve consent, safety, and respect. This confusing message is particularly dangerous in a culture that is already growing more and more complacent as rates of sexual violence are escalating, especially on college campuses.

As our kids are trying to define and secure healthy loving relationships, they need our input, and they need to talk about it. Taboos and keeping secrets only increase their power, whereas talking about them diffuse their power. Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about this – they need you. Here’s a link to the article I wrote for Your Tango – title was editor’s choice.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD

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