Almost four years ago, I settled in for what I now know would be my last single girl's Valentine's Day. My roommate and her boyfriend were out for a romantic night of Applebee's and I had the room to myself. I snuggled into my twin bunk bed, opened a package of Thin Mints, and picked up Fifty Shades of Grey.
Even at 19, I realized pretty quickly what complete and utter nonsense that book was; normalizing a relationship that had all the markers of emotional abuse, treating childhood trauma as an excuse for such behavior, and encouraging me to mistake unhealthy sexual decisions as "liberating". I tossed it aside after the first few chapters.
Four years later, and what started off as fan-fiction of a teen series (Twilight) is now its own international phenomenon, normalizing what only can be described as a wrong. Sexual liberation does not equal rape, pedophilia, and pornography. Love does not equal "fixing them", lust, and control. And this movie is not about any sort of relationship we should hope for in our lives.
When we see it on the big screen, in all of its glitz and drama, we forget the story really being told: of a young man who was victim of pedophilia; a young woman who was stalked and harassed into a sexual relationship; of a couple who rushed into bed without real consideration of what sex means. And while we may pat ourselves on the back, calling ourselves adults, and be confident in our ability to distinguish fact from fiction, what are we teaching our children and teens when we post about how much we loved this movie? What are we encouraging in our relationships? And what are we them teaching to expect in theirs?
I cannot begin to tell you how damaging Twilight was on my relationships in high school. I had unrealistic, unhealthy expectations for my romantic relationships that I could only recently traced back to that noxious teen romance. It took years of growing up to realize how much of a subliminal influence it had on me. I cannot imagine how damaging Fifty Shades is.
The characters are not "relationship goals". We owe our friends and family the love and respect to not fall for it and recognize that this film isn't a story worth sharing, it isn't worth our money, and certainly isn't worth our relationship with God.