Fifty Shades of Normalcy?

By Amanda Tonoli

It is the day for love. It is also the day for complaining and incessant Instagram pictures of either inspirational quotes from the lonely singles or endless bragging about the beautiful tokens of appreciation from all the couples — it’s Valentine’s Day, of course.

What’s coming to theaters this holiday isn’t your typical love movie, however. It’s the taboo that makes some of us — like my usually otherwise outspoken co-worker would say — blush.

Our culture is quickly adapting to a sexier norm, and there is less impropriety in matters of sex and the discussion of it. The first movie of this book trilogy is coming out the day before Valentine’s Day, full of sex and BDSM — which is typically understood as an array of sexual practices involving dominance and submission — for what some people are saying is one of the more unabashed and explicit explorations of sexuality in popular culture.

According to “Explaining ‘Fifty Shades’ wild success,” published on cnn.com in July 2012, Emanuella Grinberg said, “Whatever the case, sex has long been selling erotic tales, earning spots on best-seller lists and testing attitudes toward sexuality.”

This test of attitudes is so true, because the more people talk about this phenomenon, the easier it is being accepted by audiences. And the easier it is accepted, the more people voice opinions and talk about the ugly — but necessary — topics that make us uneasy to be open and honest about.

“Influencing this shift in sexuality is popular culture,” said Justin R. Garcia, Chris Reiber, Sean G. Massey and Ann M. Merriwether in “Sexual hook-up culture,” published in February 2013 on apa.org — the American Psychological Association’s website. “The media have become a source of sex education. … The themes of books, plots of movies and television shows, and lyrics of numerous songs all demonstrate a permissive sexuality among consumers.”

When you’re practically eating, sleeping and breathing in this information-driven culture, it is hard not to get used to hearing about sex all the time.

In “What’s So Special About Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s Not Just About The Sex” published on Huffingtonpost.com in April 2013, Linda Bloom, a best-selling author and relationship expert, discusses the inner-workings of the infamous novel-gone-movie to be released for this Valentine’s Day.

“I believe it has a lot to do with the desire that so many of us have of being swept away from our mundane lives and into a world of passion and ecstasy,” Bloom said.

Bloom further explains that this series is the modern fairytale taking on an adjusted setting and circumstance — ending the same with a happy ending of luxury and living happily-ever-after.

Love it or hate it, good or bad, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is one part of an explosive shift in the cultural opinion of sexuality and sexual exploration — blurring the line between what is considered normative and what is atypical. We will likely see a different world to adapt to once the smoke is cleared.

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