Throwing Shade

Rope, whips and female empowerment: Anastasia Steele wins in 'Fifty Shades'

This CD cover image released by Republic Records shows the oriiginal motion picture soundtrack for "Fifty Shades of Grey."
This CD cover image released by Republic Records shows the oriiginal motion picture soundtrack for "Fifty Shades of Grey." AP

This blog isn't about BDSM. It isn't about kink. It isn't about domestic abuse. It isn't about domination and submission roles in a relationship.

This blog defines Anastasia Steele as a woman with power.

I've read countless Facebook statuses and blogs that depict Steele as a mindless, defenseless creature who allows Christian Grey to spank her with belts and force her into sex against her will.

Sure, if you were to pick and choose quotes from certain scenes throughout the book and post them to an online platform without supporting text from the novel, it could be perceived that Steele was in an abusive physical relationship. Yes, she was spanked. Yes, she was expected to kneel at the door of Christian Grey's playroom, almost nude, and wait for his instruction. Yes, she was blindfolded, tied to the bedposts and lightly flogged. Yes, she was hit hard with a belt at the end of the film. Yes, she cried. Yes, she said Christian went too far.

But Anastasia called all of the shots. Christian may have been the dominant in the "Red Room of Pain," but it was the mousy, quirky girl with a beat up Volkswagen Beetle and love of romance novels who reigned supreme.

Steele had no experience with the sexual kink that Christian asked her to consider, but it was never forced upon her. When Christian gave her a contract and asked her to consider, she kept him waiting for an answer. When she finally did respond, she asked for a business meeting to negotiate the terms of the contract. Steele was fine with leather cuffs and intrigued by handcuffs, but she refused to be restrained by masking tape. Rope suspension? No way. Sex toys? That was up for discussion. At the end of the scene, Christian expressed his want to have sex with her in his work conference room. After Anastasia bit her lip and got Christian to outline everything he wanted to do to her at that very moment, she left.

Did she ever sign that contract Christian insisted upon having in order to have a relationship? Not in the first book or in the first movie.

Did Christian stop her from doing anything she wanted to do? Never. He was furious about her going to Georgia to visit her mother, but she left anyway. When she became angry that Christian visited with an old flame, he flew to her to apologize. When Ana wanted Christian to sleep in the bed with her, he obliged. When Ana said to leave, he left.

Christian didn't change Ana or force her to be a submissive. Every single facet of intercourse explored in Christian's playroom was consented by Steele.

If anything, Steele changed Grey. He had never slept in a bed with another woman or taken a women on his helicopter. Although she was asleep, Grey revealed his troubled past to her, even if she couldn't hear it. As time went on, he posed with her for a picture — and he had never been photographed before with a woman. Grey even brought Steele to meet his entire family.

If "Fifty Shades" did anything, it empowered women to take control of their own sexual exploration. Dominant/submissive role play, whips, ropes and sex toys don't define a person as a deviant. From the millennial viewpoint, Anastasia Steele represents a woman with power, not a powerless woman.

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