OTTAWA, February 19, 2015 ( — The large box office numbers achieved by the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” seems to be proving the rough sex—or BDSM (for Bondage Dominance Sadism and Masochism) is a fantasy whose time has come. Nonetheless, Manitoba MP Joy Smith has drawn on her experience fighting against human trafficking to condemn it, while the CBC has drawn on taxpayers’ dollars to find two so-called “sex experts” to condemn her.


The film about a young, inexperienced woman pursued and finally led into sexual bondage by a young, handsome billionaire has been panned with a 26 percent rating by the critics at the Rotten Tomatoes website (though they did agree it was better than the book of the same name). Meanwhile the site’s general audience gave it 50 percent and cinemagoers spent $85 million on it since it opened on St. Valentine’s Day, at least twice the take of any other film.

Smith, a practising Evangelical Christian and Parliament’s main opponent of sex trafficking and prostitution, stayed clear of specifically religious moralizing in condemning the movie’s makers for pretending it is a “‘date night’ movie of romance and intrigue.” In fact, she blogged, the movie and book are both “about humiliation, degradation and the emotional and physical abuse of women.”

The CBC wasted no time lining up two “sex experts,” clinical sexologist Susan Wenzel and Ummni Khan, a Carleton University law professor and author of Vicarious Kinks, a book about how law and culture view deviant sex. But though the CBC headline claimed they both criticized Smith, a close reading of the corporation’s story revealed only one knocked her position. As far as her published comments were concerned, Khan ignored Smith and criticized only the movie. First, for perpetuating, as she saw it, the myth that such abnormal sexual practices must be rooted in childhood abuse, and second, for portraying an essentially conventional heterosexual, monogamous relationship (OK, except for the whips).

As for Wenzel, a sex and relationship therapist, she accused Smith of “moralizing” (using the term as do secular humanists, to mean only religiously-based sexual morality). She insisted that BDSM is fine when part of “healthy, consensual and safe relationships.” And she implied that Smith shouldn’t knock it till she tries it.

“That’s not going to happen,” Smith laughed. She added that even with consent this was “not how we want our young men treating women, and not what we want our young women accepting from men.” She urged Manitobans to boycott the film.

Smith cited abused women who responded to her blog, one of whom, @50shadesofabuse, commented: “50 Shades is a horrible reminder of my own abusive relationship, repackaged as a ‘love story’.”

Click “like” if you say NO to porn!

A longer critique came from “Karen,” who noted it wasn’t the sex scenes or even the whipping scene that bothered her, since she herself is “a person who does, under safe, consensual, non-coercive circumstances, enjoy sexual activities that some people might consider strange.”

What did disturb Karen was “the rest of the relationship,” especially how the protagonist Christian Grey used his money and power to stalk the heroine across the country, even invading her home and destroying her possessions, to get her enter a submissive relationship with him. “He exhibits a horrifying pattern of abusive behaviour. He's manipulative. He's obsessive.”  

“It comes down to consent,” one Canadian instructor in bondage told LifeSiteNews. “When it is done in a respectful manner, when a person willingly surrenders to another, it becomes another language of love.” She compared this to how people in marriages and long-term relationships often do things their partners want them to do but which they themselves find unpleasant—“like cleaning the rain gutters.” They consent, nonetheless, out of love.

Commented Smith, “Many supporters of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' claim that female lead, Anastasia, always consented to the abuse. However consent, under physical or psychological duress is not consent. It's no different for prostituted women. Many of them have often shared with me that, until separated from their abusive pimp or trafficker, they ‘consented’ to selling sex.”

None of which made it into the CBC’s print story. Nor did the news service see fit to include Smith’s recommendation that her blog supporters donate to the #50dollarsnot50shades campaign of Dr. Gail Dines, a professor at Boston's Wheelock College, and Megan Walker, Executive Director of the London Abused Women’s Clinic.  This, she said, would enable people “to donate the money they would have spent on 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to a women's shelter instead.”

The recommendation came too late for Karen, who believed the hype and saw the movie. “I thought I would be going to a fun, risqué romantic film that celebrated and empowered female sexuality,” she commented. “I left feeling violated.” For Smith she had only praise: “I wish you the best, Ms. Smith, as you continue your crusade. Domestic violence is an oft-ignored scourge in our society and does not deserve this sort of glamorization.”

Sign the petition calling for a boycott of Fifty Shades of Grey.