February 8, 2015
The film “Fifty Shades of Grey” is opening shortly … along with plenty of hype. I read the book last year to see for myself what all the hype was about.
Fifty Shades of Grey? Yes, “grey” indeed because of the fog of murky emotional crap being promoted to the public as “romance.” More like “Fifty Shades of Pandering to All The Emotional Dysfunction We Can Milk in a Movie for the Masses.” But I guess that title was too long.
The book glamorizes and romanticizes something very painful and yet all too common in relationships today. An insecure woman is attracted to a cold, aloof, remote, emotionally unavailable and immature man who is sexually aroused by abusing and controlling her, but he –fantasy of all fantasies!—falls in love with her in spite of himself. “Yes, in spite of all that pain he is causing, he really does love me!”
Initially, of course, the woman “can’t help herself,” (“swept away!”) and, against her own better judgment, she “falls in love” with this bad boy (“boy” being the operative word for those of us who are paying attention). He has the power over her. In the end, though, the woman, through her quirky and unconventional attractiveness (because that subtly manipulates the average woman into relating to the character better than someone stunningly beautiful---“Hey, I could be that woman!” ---sneaky!), combined with her deep, powerful, true love, conquers him … and changes him for the better. It is revealed to us that, yes, ultimately, she has the power. What woman doesn’t want to be told that! We knew it all along! Yay! The power of love! What a great fairy tale. What a fantasy. Wait a minute. Aren’t we too grown up to fall for this?
Let’s use the hype over this film as an opportunity to inspire each other to educate people about the truth of this situation so we may all mature beyond this tired old paradigm of projection of power. “Bad boys” and emotionally immature, unavailable and messed-up men are only attractive to women with resonating and matching emotional dysfunctions. Women must not project our own original power onto men, then try to “buy it back” by “making him fall in love” with us.
In reality, this never actually happens. Dysfunctional men are transformed, not through some kind of magical fairy tale romance, but only through their own individual personal work and effort to understand all they are keeping hidden from themselves about their human natures. When they honestly start looking into this, they have the chance to mature beyond their issues. This is when they begin to be wonderful partners. Just like women.
Certainly, the “love of a good woman” can indeed provide a safe and loving context for a man (or woman) to do this work, but the maturation, and the fulfilling love relationship that results, does not happen automatically simply as a result of one person loving another. That’s the fairy tale part. That only happens in the movies. But a lot of women keep buying it because the idea of doing the hard work of maturing emotionally –or requiring another to step up and do this in order to be your partner---is just not as fun and easy as a fairy tale.
Neither women nor men, nor any other gender, for that matter, can afford to keep playing this game of “emotional hide and seek” with ourselves and each other. For women who are attracted to bad boys (or girls) or to remote and cold men (or women), ask yourself: are you hoping to feel “the power” in transforming him, in magically getting him suddenly to realize how wonderful you truly are so he can finally have that warm, loving and fulfilled relationship you are just sure he has always secretly dreamed of … with you?
Women love to fix things, to rescue people. In choosing broken people, what broken past relationship are we desperately seeking to restore, to fix, to make whole? Being attracted to bad boys or remote men is a big red flag for women … and an opportunity to see what is resonating inside ourselves with that dysfunction … and get past it. The bad boy, or the aloof man, can be kinda interesting in the beginning, but in the end, trust me (and I speak from personal experience!), he never contributes to a happy relationship. Unless you’re happy being miserable.
It’s the princess who falls in love with and magically transforms the prince—at least in the fairy tale, But we’re grown-ups. We are no longer princesses, but now queens, and queens keep their own power. Bad boys, keep walking. Remote, cold, aloof men? Go be by yourself for a while and figure yourself out. We’re too busy being happy and fulfilled with emotionally mature, joyful, honest partners to take time to save you. We are Queens and we are living life as it was always meant to be … not with perfect people, but with partners who want to keep living, loving and growing happily with us.