’50 Shades’ panel to explore the grey area of culture

By Carly Laucella
Staff Writer

The THIS MATTERS discussion on “50 Shades of Grey” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Bill Daniel Student Center den.

THIS MATTERS is a series of discussions at Baylor that brings together faculty and leaders with diverse perspectives to discuss and challenge today’s toughest topics.

The dialogue aims to discuss issues related to the book “50 Shades of Grey” and its subsequent movie from a media and faith perspective. It will be led by panelists from across Baylor faculty.

“Women may think violence against women is ok because those are all the behaviors that we see,” said Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, associate professor of journalism, public relations and new media. “Hopefully through this panel we can learn how to navigate through these messages. Sometimes you should avoid them, but its really impossible to avoid them completely.”

Panelists include Dr. Jonathan Tran, associate professor of religion; Patti Crawford, Title IX coordinator; and Ramirez. It will be moderated by Baylor Counseling Center’s Emma Wood.

“50 Shades of Grey,” a virally popular novel by E.L. James, was recently turned into a motion picture, which came out Valentine’s Day 2015. Of late, the movie is the center of much controversy due to its explicit nature, raciness and questionable sexual practices.

“Given that significant parts of the film deal with sex, including sadomasochistic sex, and that the central character is a college student, talking openly about this film will help us at Baylor get some bearing on a culture seemingly very interested in sex,” wrote Tran in an email to the Lariat. “To my mind, talking about sex means talking about desire and talking desire means talking about God, so talking about this film will open up new ways of talking about God, which will make this conversation important as well as entertaining.”

The movie grossed $85 million in its opening weekend and around $266 million globally, according to Forbes.

The discussion Wednesday will last an hour and will be followed by intergroup dialogue from 7-8 pm in the Baines Room on the second floor of the SUB.

“I hope people can leave with a better idea of what’s being presented through these messages and how to handle these images,” Moody-Ramirez said. “We want them to learn how to view these images without necessarily internalizing them. You need to be able to make your own decision about what’s beautiful and what’s appropriate.”