"Fifty Shades of Grey" comes under fire for showing its first trailer on "Today" show. Watchdog group Parents Television Council argues that the video should not have been promoted at the morning time slot due to the sexually-charged content in the adaptation of E.L. James' S&M romantic novel.
"We're talking about basically the equivalent of a dime-store trashy romance novel. Essentially, what [the 'Today' show is] doing is they're promoting what people refer to as 'mommy porn.' That's what it boils down to," PTC director of grassroots education and advocacy Melissa Henson tells The Hollywood Reporter.
There should be a disclaimer before the trailer was shown, so she notes. "If they had couched it with very strong disclaimer language about how this is a movie that's romanticizing violence in relationships - sexual violence is basically what this movie is promoting - so if there had been very strong disclaimer language, that might have mitigated against [the impression that airing the clip without a disclaimer created]," she explains.
Although the morning show broadcast a tamer version of the trailer, Melissa says, Savannah Guthrie's invitation to check the unedited version online was misleading. "It seems like a very ordinary ... romance story, so the fact that they cut off the last few seconds, if anything, might be a little suggestive, a little misleading because you don't truly understand what this movie is about unless you've read the articles or read the book," she says.
"It's all made to seem very romantic to a teenage girl who's watching that trailer. That's definitely going to be appealing and probably going to pique her interest and be something that she wants to see - and for parents that don't know what the book is about or what the movie is about, they may easily consent to letting their teenage daughter see this film."
In line with PTC, anti-porn group Morality in Media says the trailer "deceives the public with a visually appealing melodramatic love story that romanticizes and normalizes sexual violence." The org's executive director, Dawn Hawkins, claims the film "glamorizes and legitimatizes violence against women."
"The popularity of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can 'fix' violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving. A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture."
"Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power."
"Is this really the kind of relationship we want our daughters, relatives and friends willingly entering into? With a stalker and a batterer? Do we really want our sons to become Christian Greys, practicing a violent masculinity that degrades men as well?"