If you haven’t heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, you must have missed the Super Bowl, local pop radio stations, cable television or just about any other form of media in the last few weeks.
Slated for a Valentine’s Day release, the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey has generated massive social media interest with more than 8 million followers on its Facebook and Twitter pages.
Originally released in 2011, the novel has since been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million paper and e-book copies, according to the movie’s official website. It is currently ranked fifth on the New York Times bestseller list.
The story, which Focus on the Family has condemned as pornography through its radio programs, is centered on a rich entrepreneur and a literature student who become entangled in an explicit and dark affair. The movie is rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
Mikael Seamans, a former student at John Brown University, plans on seeing Fifty Shades of Grey in theaters next week.
“Movies usually end up much worse than the books, but from what I’ve heard, the book is very poorly written,” Seamans said. “But I think this movie will be different, I think it’ll be even greater than what people expect.”
However, Seamans does think that most JBU students will find other things to do this Valentine’s Day.
“We talked a lot about guarding your heart on campus,” he said. “In the story, the main female character in the book is certainly not guarding her heart.”
For those more in touch with popular culture, Seamans does think that the movie contains plenty of entertainment value.
“If you’re a JBU student in touch with your inner Rihanna, then Fifty Shades of Grey might be for you,” he said, referring to Rihanna’s hit song “S&M,” which is a popular abbreviation for sadomasochism.
JBU’s Dean of Student Life, Andre Broquard, encourages students to be cautious with consuming all types of media.
“I wonder if it skews our healthy romantic or sexual expectation,” Broquard said, regarding explicit content in general.
“As Christians, the healthy sexual interaction should take place in the bounds of marriage, between a man and a woman. When we begin to stretch that and play it in a romanticized way, we skew the way it should happen,” Broquard said.
The university student handbook prohibits any X or NC-17 rated films from being viewed on campus and also bans any movies that are exceptionally violent, vulgar or sexual from being shown in group settings. Individual viewings are allowed but strongly discouraged.
The university is careful with banning or outlawing content or behavior, Broquard said. Instead, John Brown leaves most decisions in the hands of students.
“JBU is a place where we limit what to limit,” Broquard said. “We would caution students to be wise in any sort of activity. Don’t just consume it or fall into it by accident, but make an informed decision on how you will take part in something.”