A lot of kinksters have been unfavorably comparing Fifty Shades of Grey to Secretary, the 2002 film about a BDSM relationship starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal. A lot of the criticisms from BDSMers goes like this: "Fifty Shades gets BDSM all wrong—it portrays an abusive relationship! it features bad BDSM practices!—and people who want to learn about BDSM should watch the far, far superior Secretary instead!" Erika Moen argues that Secretary, while a much better (and much hotter) movie, is actually worse than Fifty Shades where abuse and best-BDSM-practices are concerned:
In Secretary, Lee is the vulnerable, unstable employee of Mr. Grey, a man older and more experienced than her in life, who controls her ability to financially support herself. Even before their physical relationship begins, Mr. Grey, a man in a position of power over her, alternates between praising and humiliating her. That’s emotional abuse. Then, without communicating to her what he intends to do, without her informed consent, he orders her into his office where he proceeds to beat the fuck out of her ass because of a typo. They never discuss the nature of their relationship. Ever. They never communicate about what their likes and limits are sexually. They never establish safe words, and we never see any aftercare when their D/s scenes are over. When Lee needs him most as a human being, he coldly turns her away from his house. And after climaxing on her back, he devastatingly fires her. Now guys, I may not be a BDSM expert, but I’m pretttty sure that is not good aftercare....
In 50 Shades, Christian presents Anastasia with a written document laying out all the sexual things he is into, a number of which she vetoes. Christian teaches Anastasia about safe words and is sincere that he will always honor it if she chooses to use them. Christian and Anastasia cuddle and are affectionate with each other after their BDSM scenes. That is, they practice aftercare. Yes, the rest of 50 Shades is completely fucked, they absolutely have an abusive relationship, and yadda yadda yadda you can read the million other blog posts and essays detailing all the ways this book is Horrible For Society and Especially Women. But still… I can’t help but notice there is more direct communication and consent between our protagonists in this reviled book than there is in the celebrated movie Secretary.
The kicker? Moen loves Secretary and has watched it a dozen times. Go read her entire post.