50 Shades of Magic Mike: A Mormon Girl's Perspective

I realize this isn't the world's opinion, and it isn't the popular opinion, but it is my opinion and I feel that I should share it. 

When I read this blog post I was a little sad I didn't think of it first.

With the possibility of offending some people very close to me, I'm just going to say it: the other day some friends told me of their excitement to see Magic Mike, and I died a little inside. After politely expressing my lack of desire to see this movie, I was met with the statement: "but it's a romance movie about strippers, how could you not want to see it?"

For those of you who haven't heard of 50 Shades of Gray or Magic Mike, 50 shades is an erotic novel and the latter is, well, a stripper movie, so take that as you will. Both are aimed toward women. 

I feel rather awkward writing this post as I honestly have never told anyone I didn't approve of their actions. I think the closest I have ever come to doing something like this was the time I told my roommate's male friend that he needed to leave as it was after midnight (BYU honor code). To be honest with you I kind of pride myself in my ability to accept people and their actions. I try to always stand up for people when someone is gossiping or speaking negatively about them. We don't know where they have been, what they have gone through, or what cards life has dealt them. I do have to admit, however, that there is one thing for which I have little patience: pornography. 

With a topic like this, where do we even start? After some consideration, I have decided to turn to a document dear to my heart: The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity . . .

. . .WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

Does this not make it clear enough? Our families are falling apart. 50% of children born to mothers under the age of 30 in the United States are born out of wedlock. 50% of marriages are ending in divorce. The family, which is "central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children," is under attack. If we do not have strong and solid family units, our individuals, communities, and nations have no choice but to fall. 

So what does pornography have to do with the disintegration of the family? Isn't pornography found on every street corner, magazine cover, and, to some extent, in nearly all forms of media? Yes. And that is the problem. 

I do not mean to turn this into a research paper. There is much to be said about the research side of pornography, and I feel that this topic is covered greatly. That may be because I am a family studies major and we discuss it daily, but the research is easily accessible if you wish to find it. Instead I will write from my own opinions, my own knowledge, and my own testimony. 

I understand that people are not perfect and that we make mistakes, I've had my fair share. I also believe in the process of repentance. It sickens me a little to know that good Christian women are supporting these works that are so clearly designed, if not intentionally, to tear apart our relationships and our families. 

The thing about pornography is that it is the embodiment of objectification. No self-respecting women wants to be disrespected the way pornography allows it to be done. Were a man to rape a women to satisfy his sexual pleasures, we would be, we are, outraged. The man is hunted down, brought to court, and sent to jail. But when a man looks at pornography for the same reasons it is written off as nothing but satisfying his natural man. 

I see the obvious difference here: in the first example, a girl is being forced into an action against her will. In the second, she is acting willingly. But the concept behind the two remains the same: the man is seeking sexual pleasure in a way that defiles the female body and diminishes her worth. 

As women, we do not want a man who cares nothing about our thoughts, our personalities, our spirits. We want a man who will respect us, who will never hurt us, who will set an example for our children. 

And what do we do to attain this? We live a life that would attract such a man. We dress modestly, never downplay our worth or knowledge, are proud of our standards, and, most importantly, we never indulge in pornographic material. The more we objectify the male body, the more it enables them to do the same to us. How do we expect the men in our lives to live up to standards we ourselves do not meet?

Along with the blog post I linked at the start of this post, the inspiration to write this came from a general conference talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland, found here:
http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/place-no-more-for-the-enemy-of-my-soul?lang=eng

Elder Holland does a fantastic job addressing the topic of pornography, and the underlying issue: lust. My favorite part of his talk is that he states that we needn't try to change the world, but instead we should look at our own lives and see how we are doing:

1. [Separate] yourself from people, materials, and circumstances that will harm you.
2. Acknowledge that people bound by the chains of true addictions often need more help than self-help, and that may include you.
3. Along with filters on computers and a lock on affections, remember that the only real control in life is self-control.
4. Like thieves in the night, unwelcome thoughts can and do seek entrance to our minds. But we don’t have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept!
5. Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is.

Women: I ask you, I beg of you, please respect yourselves. Please do not set yourself up for heartache by opening your mind to the modern plague that is pornography. Seek for love, not lust. Remember your divine potential, and never stop working to better yourself. You are worth so much more than that.


14 comments:

  1. "And what do we do to attain this? We live a life that would attract such a man. We dress modestly..." Except, you know, when we wear leggings as pants. But luckily you already solved that problem.

    But seriously, thank you for this. SO much. I love your courage.

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  2. You are amazing. End of story.

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  3. Um, I love this. I am so happy to see another woman speaking up and taking a stand! I wish I could give you a big hug. :)

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  4. =) Good job to be brave and post this! I couldn't agree more.

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  5. Sadie- This is wonderful. Thoughtfully written and supported. And so badly needed. Thank you.

    When I get my computer and Internet speaking to each other again, I will post a link to this on my own blog.

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  6. How do you feel about the movie The Notebook?

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  7. Madde, I wish I had an email address for you! It's funny you asked, I actually blogged about that a while ago!

    http://www.thatsadie.com/2011/07/well-this-is-pointless.html

    Honestly, I'm just not a fan of chick flicks, not because of their "underlying message" or anything, I just find action movies to be more entertaining.

    Thanks for the comment :)

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  8. It just seems that the standard by which something is held as "pornography" (both in your post and the one linked to in the beginning of your blog) is tied to a Christian definition of marriage. I'm just not sure why The Notebook was let off so easy and even praised by lots of women (including relgious women) when the morals inside of it seem to so strongly defy the notion of "traditional marriage." It just seems like a double standard. The movies/books which outright claim themselves as sexual texts (movie about "strippers" and an "erotic novel") are shot down as inappropriate but when the sex is hidden within a romance plot and "true love" it is brushed off and forgiven. Even the difference in tone between this post (which is serious and direct vs. the joking and floaty tone used in the other post which you provided the link to) seems to reflect this mentality.

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  9. I guess what I'm really wondering is why now? Why these two works?

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  10. Madde, you are bringing up some really good points! I'm hesitant in my response because I can't speak for the entire female Christian population, I can only state my opinions and thoughts. You're right, there is a lot of "pornographic" material that slips through the cracks under the name of romance and doesn't get a second thought. To answer your question - why now, why these two? - I think the most prominent answer is that this was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. Between media like the movie "Like Crazy" and the song "Scream," I've been becoming much more aware of the level of pornography the world is letting in, these two works were just the most recent offenders. Also, they've been getting a descent amount of media coverage so they are something that would be familiar to a wide audience. Mainly, the topic of pornography is one that I am passionate about, and though there are many ways to address the topic, this was the way I choose to go about it. I hope this answers your question!

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