Today’s discussion topic:
Is 15 years old too young to read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Before I begin, let me clear the air about myself. I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey. I will never read it, nor will I ever see the movie. But I’m going to try to relay my thoughts on why I don’t believe 15-year-olds should read this book, why I don’t think anyone who is not secure in themselves should read this book.
The subject matter in Fifty Shades is recognizable to those who have read it or seen it, and those that never will. It is a book about sex. Yes, there might be a love story in there, but ask people why they like it. You will probably hear more comments on how “hot” and “sexy” the book is, not comments on the actual storyline.
The story is about sex, male-dominating, demeaning sex. Okay, cool, you’re into that. To each their own on your sex life. But lets look at how popularizing that type of sex, selling that type of sex, effects the young girls in our world.
I have a view that differs from the majority. One that doesn’t agree that we should teach young girls to “embrace their sexuality,” tell them to dress as skimpy as they want, have sex if they want, whenever they want. I don’t think that we should encourage young girls to engage in sexual or sensual behavior.
Yes, you should be able to dress as provocatively as you want and not be terrified of being assaulted. No, I do not think that if you dress in very little clothing you deserve to be assaulted. That is not where I am going with this.
But I do believe in the detrimental teenage years, and what “embracing sexuality” is teaching these younger generations.
As a teen, I was focused on boys. That seems normal, yeah? Looking good for them, falling over myself to get their attention, and ultimately finding my worth in them. Again, this seems normal. Though most won’t admit it when it sounds like that.
If a guy thought I was hot then I felt beautiful. If he wanted to be with me then my self-esteem was through the roof. And I am nowhere near alone in that. It afflicts the majority of teenager girls but no one sees it. Why? Because most people never get over that need for attention for validation. It is so common that it isn’t addressed as a problem. It seems normal.
When we tell girls to embrace their sexuality, be the sexual beings they are, we are avoiding an issue. The issue that their sexuality will not simply be part of who they are, but instead will become who they are.
Yes, embrace your sexuality. After you have determined that your body is your own, your worth and validation are not dependent on if a guy thinks your hot, and sleeping with guys isn’t the only way you can feel beautiful. We can encourage a strong, sexy, sensual woman, but we can’t forget to advise what happens when that encouragement takes a wrong turn.
So how does this relate to Fifty Shades? If a teenager who is told to embrace their sexuality, is told that this type of male dominated and abusive sex is what sex is supposed to be like, and they still use men to find their worth, where do you think that will lead them?
It could never lead to anything. But it could also lead to an abusive sexual relationship that the woman can’t escape because that’s how she feels it’s supposed to be, because that’s the only way she can feel wanted.
This is an issue we have failed so miserably to acknowledge and address in society. We are not only beautiful if men deem us worthy to sleep with. We are worthy whether or not the men around us think we are sexy or if we succeed in turning them on.
To my mom, who is married and a grown ass woman who knows who she is, I don’t care that she loves this series (okay, I do a little, mom, it’s smut). But to the young teens that read these books and saw the movie and aspire to be that, please rethink things.
If you grow up and you determine that you, as a woman, as part of who you are, enjoy that type of sexual relationship, pursue it. But please know, right now, that sex doesn’t have to look like that. Please know that you are more than the men you hook up with. Please don’t base your sex life on a smut novel that has succeeded in nothing but proving that sex sells more than good literature.
This post went a little deeper than Fifty Shades, so I will leave you with this: educate yourself and educate the young girls in your life. Sex is not a determining factor in your worth. Men are not the ones that get to determine your worth. Be more than Fifty Shades of Grey gives you credit for.
What are your thoughts on 15 year olds (or any age group) reading Fifty Shades of Grey? If you want to write your own post, link up on Corralling Books page.