Hello James, recently I’ve seen the Secretary movie from 2002. It’s pretty funny and sexy and I really liked it, but I’ve also noticed that the BDSM community considers this movie to be much better entry point to kink than Fifty Shades and it makes me wonder why. Because while, as I said, it is a great movie, it seems to me that Lee’s relationship with Mr. Grey is not much healthier than that in Fifty Shades, he doesn’t communicate and ignores her and pushes her away when she needs him…
. So I wanted to ask someone experienced and part of the community, what do you think about that movie (not only) in comparison to FS?
What an interesting question.
I love The Secretary.
I don’t love Fifty Shades.
That’s literally the most expressive Dakota gets in the entire films. Actually, that’s about as expressive as he gets too.
As grateful as I am to the 50 Shades books introducing BDSM to millions of people, they are terribly written, and the films are pretty dire too.
But here’s the problem with BOTH films…
They both strongly imply interest in BDSM and kink are a result of brokenness.
The narcissistic, sociopathic millionaire who got abused and mindfucked as a kid, or the self-harming loner who can’t accept love apart from being spanked, or the hugely insecure lawyer who needs control to stop his life falling apart.
Anastasia is the least broken character of the four of them (although it hints at low self esteem and an eating disorder). It’s a shame she’s written as deeply as a piece of cardboard, with absolutely no complexity or depth besides her vapid infatuation with an abusive dominant man.
However 50 Shades also gets consent so horribly wrong and that’s why most kinksters hate it.
My favourite critique was in Newsweek though:
If I were a member of the Christian right, sitting on my front porch decrying the decadent morals of working American women, what would be most alarming about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena … is that millions of otherwise intelligent women are willing to tolerate prose on this level.
To quote from the above article:
Fifty Shades eroticizes sexual violence, but without any of the emotional maturity and communication required to make it safe.
However I go back to my point, both of them imply a love of kink comes from being somehow broken or defective. That annoys me, a lot.
What the fuck people? God forbid people are kinky because it’s fun and positive and makes you feel amazing.
Hmm now what other kinky film examples can think of off the top of my head… maybe Mr & Mrs Smith. Oh no wait, she KILLS HIM AT THE END OF THE SCENE.
Basic Instinct? Oh no wait, she’s a serial killer (probably, no spoilers)
The Dreamers is a really interesting film, but. oh yeah, they’re fucking twins (literally).
Crash– fetish of fucking in car accidents, Tie me up tie me down – mental patient kidnaps porn star, Belle de jour – housewife becomes prostitute, Nymphomaniac is about sexual addiction, Maitresse – penis plus nail plus plank, Eyes Wide Shut – features Tom Cruise, and while I’m a kinky fucker I do have limits.
The truth is, there’s little authentic BDSM shown in mainstream films. And that’s not surprising. It’s a very complex thing to capture and films play to caricature and extremes.
There’s a list of 25 films here which is quite an interesting breakdown:
Preaching to the Perverted has a lot of positives, but also despite being filmed in 1997 old looks like it was filmed, and scripted, in the 1970s. And frankly if that’s our best bet let me go back to Pornhub right now.
You know what, fuck it, I’m going back to The Secretary. At least there’s genuine, powerful love in the mix, and the ending makes me cry. I’ll make do with that.