I recently spoke with Kelsey Miller at Refinery29 re the #50DollarsNot50Shades campaign, awareness and support for survivors of domestic violence, and the dangers of either/or thinking…

Here’s Kelsey’s write up or our conversation – “#50DollarsNot50Shades: How This Fundraiser Got It So Wrong” (2/13/15) – and below is the statement I provided her, in addition to our phone interview.

My concern with the #50dollarsnot50shades hashtag is in line with concerns I would have regarding all stances that are firmly anti or pro anything – they lack nuance, or, in this specific case, shades of grey.

From my understanding, there is a considerable amount of abuse present in the Fifty Shades trilogy, and if people feel compelled to boycott the film and related media on those grounds, that’s a strong stance. All the more so compelling is the call to action, be it donating money or time or awareness, to help alleviate domestic violence and support survivors.

Writing off the narrative as all bad – as sophomoric or poorly written or inauthentic as it may be – however, is rather problematic. And to raise issues of abuse without also raising issues of BDSM in/authenticity is flat out inappropriate. For better or for worse, Fifty Shades has called attention to a vibrant dimension of human sexuality and social behavior. I feel that we as a culture should engage the Fifty Shades texts as a platform for education, awareness and activism, and evolving sexual expression. This can involve a hashtag for sure, but it also takes way more work that just a hashtag can provide.

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