'Fifty Shades of Grey' is to be released in theaters this weekend, Valentine's Day weekend.
'Fifty Shades of Grey' is to be released in theaters this weekend, Valentine's Day weekend. (Universal)

The much-anticipated Valentine's Day weekend release of Fifty Shades of Grey has certainly been touted in the media, from morning talk shows and entertainment programs to commercials, magazine covers and social media.

But not everyone is looking forward to the movie that's creating controversy for its graphic sexual nature, promotion of BDSM and scenes that degrade women. The film, based on the first of a trilogy of books by British author E.L. James, borders on pornography and glamorizes abuse. In fact, one-fifth of the movie's 100 minutes consists of sex scenes.

In light of the damaging movie and as part of its mission to promote media integrity and protect families, American Family Association (AFA, afa.net) is calling on movie theaters around the country not to show the film.

"Nothing in Fifty Shades of Grey builds up society, respects or empowers women or demonstrates healthy relationships," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "Rather, the film glorifies abusive relationships and glamorizes abusive tendencies such as stalking, bondage sex, intimidation and isolation. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control's standards of emotional abuse and sexual violence include nearly every one of the interactions between the two main characters. Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content that's touted as 'entertainment' and choose not to show or pay to see the film."

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Fifty Shades of Grey includes scenes of abuse, bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadism/masochism, as well as the suggested signing of a "contract" that would allow these acts. The film follows a young college graduate, Anastasia Steele, who meets Christian Grey during a newspaper interview.

A social media movement, #50DollarsNot50Shades, is encouraging potential moviegoers to donate $50 to a domestic abuse shelter to help women rather than spend $50 to see Fifty Shades of Grey.

A spokeswoman for one of the sponsors of #50DollarsNot50Shades, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told Fox News that real women "don't end up like Anastasia; they often end up in a women's shelter, on the run for years or dead." The movement's Facebook page added, "The money you would have spent on movie tickets and a baby-sitter or movie tickets, popcorn and drinks will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships like the one glamorized in the Fifty Shades series. Hollywood doesn't need your money; abused women do."

Other sponsors to #50DollarsNot50Shades include the London Abused Women's Centre and Stop Porn Culture, as well as other co-sponsors and affiliate sponsors.

"The irony is not lost that the film's main character is named, 'Christian,' while this film presents anything but a 'Christian' view of intimacy," Wildmon continued. "The idea that anyone would think this film is in any way appropriate demonstrates an incredibly unhealthy view of relationships and sexuality. A more apt title for the movie would be 'Fifty Shades of Evil.' Without question, this film will have a corrosive effect on cultural views of what normative sexuality ought to be. Healthy relationships seek to safeguard the emotional and physical well-being of another; this film promotes inflicting emotional, physical and psychological harm on another for the sole purpose of self-serving sexual gratification. It is the epitome of elevating abuse, and we call on all theaters to reject promoting such abuse on their screens." 

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