Last night, I found myself driving the familiar route to the strip club. As I pulled up to the side door and toted in snacks and gifts, the dressing room was quiet - only about 1/4 of the usual number of girls was working. I silently said a prayer of thanks and then greeted everyone with hugs and a smile.
We ate and chatted about everything and nothing as the girls rotated in and out of the dressing room on their breaks. At one point, I emptied out a locker and my soul danced at the thought that my newest daughter would never again have to step foot into this world. Like a fiercely protective momma bear, I carefully bagged up each item and vowed to do whatever it takes to keep you from ever reaching this level of desperation again.
As I finished emptying the locker, I heard conversation drifting from across the room about the new movie coming out for Valentines Day, "50 Shades Darker". The girls chattered about how eager they were to see this latest installment of the Christian Grey saga.
Long after I gave good-bye hugs and made the drive home, I was still thinking about that conversation. Then when I got home and did a quick Facebook scroll, I saw lots of my own friends were posting similar thoughts on their excitement for this movie. I knew it was time to have this conversation with you, my precious daughters.
You see, the "50 Shades" craze isn't all that surprising to me. Like a billion other controversial books or movies, it's spawning everyone to shout their opinions. Love it or hate it, this is just part of our society. But that's why we need to talk about it. As your mom, I want you to look beyond the lure of the newest trend and see this Grey fascination for what it really is.
I'm not one to jump on the judgmental train - in fact, I tell you all the time that you can tell me anything and I'll still love you completely. So please know this isn't coming from a place of judgement... it's coming from a place of love.
Daughters, please don't go see these movies. Don't read those books. I stuck my toes in the water to test them out a few years ago, sampling the books to see what all the fuss was about. It's a dark ocean with a strong current. It will pull you under before you have a chance to catch your breath.
Sure, the storyline is compelling. The erotica is deliciously inviting. The enemy knows this, darling. Here's the thing - the 50 shades series starts out with Anastasia's innocence and then takes her through a journey where she discovers a new world of desire and pleasure all bundled up in abuse, torture, and bondage. Hollywood sells this as sexy and romantic, but at the end of the day, it's just one more way the world is telling you that you're not worthy of a safe relationship.
As Anastasia slowly learns to "let go" and "lose control" by surrendering her body and emotions to Christian Grey, she isn't entering a beautiful new relationship. She is allowing herself to become a victim. The truth is that there is a safe place where you can "let go" emotionally and sexually. But that place is not in bondage or in the presence of a man who treats you as an object to be conquered or controlled.
Daughters, you are worth more than this.
This whole 50 Shades craze is just a symptom of something much darker happening in our society. Innocent girls are bought and sold, convinced that they have no choice but to take off their clothes for money, to sell their bodies to the highest bidder. The world will teach you that your body, your beauty, your appearance is the most powerful asset you have, but this isn't true.
The enemy is crafty, sweetheart. He wants you to think an abusive, controlling man is glamorous and enticing. He wants to paint torture as erotic, portray control as the pinnacle of sexual satisfaction. If he can convince you that pleasure and pain are intertwined, he can make you an easy target to abusers who have much darker plans than the fictitious Christian Grey.
When I see women in my own circle raving about 50 Shades on social media, I want to scream. Don't you know what my daughters have been through? They have been tied up, raped, and tortured. They have been priced, sold, and traded. But they are so much more!
You, my daughters, have such value! These things you have endured were not your fault. You were created for a purpose and our great God has a plan for your life. His plans for you are ALWAYS for good, not for evil. He treasures you, cherishes you, and He fights for you. He longs for you to find love that is safe, a picture of His own love for us. True love is giving, sacrificial, laying down its own life for the other. It's never about control, abuse, or bondage. It's about freedom.
So sweet daughters, when a friend invites you to go see the new 50 Shades movie, please say no. Tell her that you don't need to see it to know how the story goes.
Tell her you want more from your relationships than that brand of cheap erotica. Tell her that abuse isn't entertainment. Tell her that you refuse to pay a dime to support a culture that depicts women this way. And tell her that she too is worth more than this.