Ropes, handcuffs, whips and floggers — those are just a few of the many props used in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, and they can all be used in any real-life BDSM relationship.
BDSM is an overlapping acronym for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission and Sadism and Masochism, according to Cosmopolitan. The number one rule for those who practice BDSM is “Safe, Sane and Consensual,” and that plays a huge role in everything the members do, Nathan Hammerle, a freshman studying integrated social studies, said.
The first Fifty Shades of Grey book in the trilogy came out in May 2011 and the movie came out in February 2015. The second book, Fifty Shades Darker came out in 2012 and the movie is set to release Friday. Controversy has surrounded the topic since its release concerning the realistic depictions of people who participate in BDSM.
If You Go:
What: Fifty Shades Darker
When: 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:10 p.m., Thursday; 1:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 9:50 p.m., 10:20, Friday
Where: Athena Grand, 1008 E State St
“It is a good opener for people who did not know about the community,” Hammerle said. “But it is not represented well enough for a full representation of BDSM.”
BDSM has always existed, but when the series came out, the topic was brought into a new light.
“A lot of new people have become part of [the community] because the movie came out,” Hammerle said.
Hammerle kept a positive attitude when talking about the Fifty Shades series comparing it to a “gateway drug.” Other people do not have such a positive outlook on the series.
Meredith Thompson, the co-owner of Honey, 13 W Union St., felt the writing was really bad.
“I don’t know why it is so popular,” Thompson said, “There is a lot of better erotica out there.”
There is a section in the store with bondage gear and other pieces of equipment, such as whips and handcuffs, that could have been featured in the Fifty Shades series. Thompson said the section has always been there, but people are just now starting to notice it and call it the “Fifty Shades section.”
Elizabeth Harklerode, a sophomore studying special needs education, said the movie is a good representation in some ways, but not in other ways.
“I feel like each experience is different,” Harklerode said. “One couple’s experience with BDSM is completely different than another couple’s.”
She said the movie doesn’t talk about a relationship as a whole, just the sex side of it. The movie doesn’t dig deeper into the relationship, rather only looks at the surface.
Harklerode said people started to look at BDSM as a “shiny new toy” after the books and the movie came out. It became more accepted and well-known.
“People can do things that are considered BDSM but don’t realize that’s what it is,” Harklerode said.
The problem of consent became a big factor surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey, questioning whether the lead character Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) really consented to what Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) was doing. In reality, consent is one of the biggest keys in a BDSM relationship.
“It is always a verbal and auditory ‘yes’ or a word that means ‘yes,’” Hammerle said, “It can also be ‘no,’ and that’s where safe words come in.”
A safe word is a pre-arranged signal from one person to the other giving the sign to stop or slow down. It is all agreed upon before any sexual activity takes place, Hammerle said.
“If you don’t consent, you’re not going to have a fun time,” Harklerode said, “And this sort of thing is supposed to be fun.”
Whether the Fifty Shades of Grey series is a realistic depiction or not is up for debate, but it is getting a conversation going about the topic of BDSM where there wasn’t much talk about it before.
“People are realizing that they weren’t the only ones that do it,” Harklerode said.