‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has gone on to become one of the big hits of the summer season, drawing in (mostly female) crowds and rocketing to the top of the international box office. But not all viewers have welcomed the release of the sexually controversial film.
In North America, the release of the movie kicked off a backlash against its perceived lack of morality. Filled with sexually explicit and occasionally aggressive sexual behaviour, the film has polarised the viewing audience and those on social media platforms. Some have even called on women to boycott the film and donate fifty dollars to a local women’s shelter.
Taking the lead of this group, the Papua New Guinea Censorship Office has officially banned the film from release within the country, claiming that its explicit sexual content creates a real concern for local women facing domestic abuse. The Government has even begun its own ‘anti-Shades’ campaign called “Fifty Kina, Not 50 Shades”.
The campaign coordinator, Kari Taviri, says that the film glorifies sexual violence and anger towards women. “It isn’t just something that we read about or a statistic or a number that we see, for everyday Papua New Guineans it’s the reality,” Ms Taviri told ABC Radio National. “Our sisters are trapped, our mothers, our aunties, people in our community. I really saw that there was a movie glamorising or suggesting that it’s OK to be in a relationship like this.”
Ms. Kaviri believes that the PNG Government has done the right thing by banning the film from distribution. “Some people say domestic violence has been here for years and years and years,” she explained. “We’re seeing in our communities that the kind of rape, the kind of hurt of women… people are being impacted by what they see. If we can do something to just bring down the number, to [educate] someone to say ‘Listen, no, don’t beat up your wife, don’t beat up your girlfriend,’ then that’s a good thing.”
So it seems that domestic violence and its portrayal in film is a ‘black and white’ issue after all…
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