By the time the Buncrana cinema made it clear that they hadn’t succumbed to pressure from the Catholic Church and the whole world had compared the situation to a Father Ted episode, I had dusted down my tool box and purchased some rope and cable ties. Now I’m waiting on Mr Grey-hair to arrive and put up my new clothes line! I might even make him a cup of tea. Ah, go on, go on, go on.
All joking aside, I don’t claim to be an authority on Fifty Shades. I never read the book—badly written erotica is of no interest to me— but for purposes of this column I did watch the trailer. While Beyoncé moaned Crazy in love, I noted the producers of the film chose Valentine’s weekend to launch the movie, a time normally awash with fifty shades of red. In the mean time, my children asked a few questions.
First Missy. “What’s fifty shades about anyway?” I answered as honesty as I could. “I’m not sure of the premise but it contains sexual content that some believe is not for mainstream viewing, the way I censor what you can and cannot watch on television and on the internet for your own personal safety.” “Oh.” she said and went to get her coat for school. “If you have any more questions about it, talk to me, okay?” She rolled her eyes the way ten year olds do and I breathed a sigh of relief but I wanted her to be crystal clear that she could talk to me again because I have concerns regarding the emotional and psychological impact of a sexually charged society on our children and vulnerable young people in a socially detached media driven world. When my 18 year old asked me what the Buncrana ‘stand off’ was about, a debate ensued about the pros and cons of films that muddy the complexities of love, sex and healthy relationships. It turns out we held similar views, though we argued them differently. Still, I breathed another sigh of relief. My son has come of age but due to living in the 21st century that continues to push boundaries through music videos, clothing, advertisement, film, television and the internet, I feel it is my responsibility to help navigate all my children through the confusing, and sometimes disturbing, grey and red areas of growing up. In a newspaper article last Sunday, CARI (Children at Risk in Ireland) highlighted the direct dangers of children being exposed to a hyper sexualised society and urges that parents to be on their guard and think the unthinkable with the increase of violent teen incidents linked to pornography. CARI’s black and white statistics show that 600 children were victims of perpetrators of rape and sexual assault last year.
When speaking with my son, he moved on to lighter topics and told me he couldn’t wait for Age of Ultron to be released. I am looking forward to it too, mainly because we will all go and see it, including Missy and Mowghi, but for Valentine’s I’m opting for a few black and white classics. Something about cinematography and old-fashioned romance pleases me. I’m thinking of Casablanca or Roman Holiday, or It happened one night that won five Oscars in 1934. There is a rope in it too but it’s used like a clothes line, funny enough, to hang a sheet on it. When Ellie comes from behind the sheet she sounds more ‘crazy in love’ than Beyoncé, begging Peter (Clark Gable) to take her with him. Another thing, Mr Grey’s bare chest in the Fifty Shades trailer is not a patch on Clark Gables…just saying.