I will admit I haven’t seen the movie or read Fifty Shades of Grey. Beatings and bondage? Meh. I barely have time to make my bed let alone be interested in a college student who is shackled to one.
Breaking and entering isn’t my style, but I’ll likely reconsider if Christian Grey blasts through my door with Merry Maid, barking orders to scrub the kitchen and empty the garbage. “Yes, give me some chore play. ‘I’m Curious’ if you’ll get out all the toilet stains. (Enter Beyonce music) Uh-oh!” Until then, between the dishes, the laundry, the book reports and the work deadlines, I can only catch up on Fifty Shades of Grey through the Facebook blurbs. Here’s what I’ve deduced from the hubbub.
For some women, this fantasy is merely an erotic story, nothing more.
For others, the movie is nothing short of a satanic sandwich – filled with lies and deception about God’s true purpose for us as cherished, respectable daughters of worth.
For others, Fifty Shades of Grey serves as a hideous example for our daughters. It is these posts I relate to most. After all, I’d rather die than have my strong ten-year old daughter morph into a subservient, insecure twenty-something who exists only to fulfill a man’s pleasure.
Unlike many of these other moms, however, I’m not freaked out about this movie. Not in the least. Rather than wring hands over Christian Grey acting as a power-hungry role model, how about I act as an empowered role model instead?
Rather than worry about the time my daughter gives to a greedy bastard in her future, how about I spend as much time as I can with my daughter in the present?
Instead of freaking out that my kid will be seduced by rich, unethical business tycoons as an adult, how about focusing on the men I fill her childhood with right now? Her papa? Her brother?
How about encouraging her about the men that aren’t in her life right now? “Yes, it’s fine you don’t have an interest in fifth grade boys, sweetie. Most of them don’t even have pubic hair. Waiting for a more mature relationship is just fine.”
It seems to me that if I want my daughter to set boundaries later, I need to encourage her to set boundaries now. These little seeds of confidence I plant might not protect her from all of life’s hurts and insecurities, but it’s a hell of a jump-start. “Slow down, Pipsqueak,” I want my actions to say. “Dig in the dirt. Laugh at the worms. You’ve got a few Springs until womanhood blooms.”
Side by side, in thrift store jeans and bulbous plastic Crocs, I’ll show her how to grow beautiful things – beginning with her. On the exterior we’ll talk about painting her bedroom… a new pair of ballet shoes… how to French braid her hair… how to have that difficult conversation with her bff.
On the interior I’ll raise a virtual shovel. “Here’s to stalks of strength and dignity to choke out weeds of weakness. Your beauty is yours alone, not for some man to yank out and set as a centerpiece on his egotistical table of pride. PS: Always brush your teeth.”
If I don’t want my daughter being silenced by a masochist, now is the time to give her the words she needs:
“No means no.”
“I don’t like how you spoke to me.”
“Go away until you can treat me nicer.”
Why worry about the Christian Grey’s of the world blackening my daughter’s true voice with a blindfold of oppression? How about every day, from the way I dress, talk, interact with my husband and run my finances, I allow my daughter to see my strength in Technicolor clarity?
How about I allow her to see that vulnerability does not mean weakness? That beauty comes from shaking hands with a homeless man? That true honor comes not from money but from getting off the freakin’ cell phone in the grocery store to honor the tired cashier with a friendly conversation… a smile. “How is your day going? Thanks for all you do.”
Having a ten-year old girl is an honor and a privilege. It’s not up to Hollywood to raise her. It’s up to me. It’s not an easy task, but since my identity as a woman isn’t tied to a man, I’m thinking I’ll be okay.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to vacuum the red carpet. It’s not a sexy life, but someone’s got to live it. I’m glad it’s me.