this morning i woke up and along with millions of others began scrolling my facebook feed. i’ve been following the coverage of the 50 shades movie release with some interest. i joined #50DollarsNot50Shades and have been happily promoting this fantastic initiative to send $50 to your local womens refuge rather than buying a ticket to watch what the reviews are telling me is a really poor film regardless of the subject matter.
so as i scrolled down past cats pushing glasses of water off desks, coverage of the terrible chapel hill shootings and beloveds holiday shots this morning there was a very distasteful presence of memes made by midwives suggesting all the birthkeepers better prepare for a spike in the birth rate come november after the release of this movie. it has turned my stomach. i believe birthkeepers have a responsibility to be feminist and woman-centred always fighting for women to be kept safe and flourish, to be empowered and to protect them while they realise and actualise their own strength and power. more than anyone else we know the impact of sexual trauma on a woman – i have held so many women while they wept and broke in half with the pain of their sexual abuse in my role as birthkeeper. this smacked of those same women trivialising something that can be so damaging, demoralising, haunting and often times deadly – i am despairing – i am crestfallen and i am really fucking angry!
now i’m all for everyone getting DOWN in whatever way they want – seriously i have no hang ups about what people get up to when they are being consensual. thing is with this book and this subsequent movie is that it’s not hot sex in a safe context – it’s hot sex in a very dangerous context. this blog post however isn’t to pull that apart as many, many others have done so in a wonderful way.
this blog post is about how on earth women who are supporting women around birth can think its appropriate to joke about this! since when is it okay to joke about stalking, domestic violence and sexual abuse? i grew up in a home with a very charming, handsome, rich, charismatic and horribly abusive and controlling man – i know how this goes down and i know how far it permeates – female members of my family have read this book and found it hot regardless of the trauma they have suffered. you know i really hope lots of people have some great really hot sex this weekend and i hope that some of this sex results in babies or i’d be out of a job but what i want more than anything is for us all to THINK about this for a minute. is it about hot sex or is it that the mainstream have now decided that this kind of abuse is hot ? many abused women stay remember and have sex and express love and still find their man hot – it’s a very fine line that is easily crossed – as a dear facebook friend said and i quote “.. replace Grey with that creepy guy working down the road in tesco, and the whole thing would not be regarded as quite so harmless and hot anymore. so as long as you are a hot guy, abusive is ok….women should probably just count themselves lucky….”
please, please birthkeepers i emplore you to take down any jokes that have this distasteful subject at its heart – please, please i beg you do not bring this 50 shades bullshit to birth work!
nicola mahdiyyah goodall is a revert muslim who grew up with hip hop based in edinburgh, scotland and london, england. she works with women trying and mainly succeeding to build circles of knowledge and community primarily with birth.
she is also the director of wysewomen publishing and facilitates wysewomen workshops and red tent doula courses.
7 thoughts on “don’t bring this 50 shades bullshit to birth work”
Thank you for your wise words. I had seen the campaign but hadn’t linked it explicitly with midwifery which is shocking really. Haven’t seen any of the jokes yet but hopefully our sister midwives will wake up and smell the coffee.
Are You serious? All the jokes on social media regarding 50 shades is mostly from midwives who are jokingly fearing the repurcussions of the workload this will add to an already busy time for them (Xmas and new year conceptions). You really need to get out more if you need to write about the 50 shades bullshit as you call it. Oh and btw all the sex in 50 shades was consensual and not demeaning/rape or abuse!
i am deadly serious – i don’t joke about these things as a survivor – i believe you’ll find the sex is not consensual according to uk law and the BDSM community are also disowning it because of this – did you read the books? or all the much mainstream media commentary? i’m not opposed to joking around sex AT ALL but i am opposed to rape jokes and i can’t apologise for that i’m afraid
Then what’s all ths 50 shades of bullshit?? It’s midwives having a bit of a joke about being busy at a certain time of the year because of an erotic film. Pls let us have some fun on social media as work for us atm is a struggle with money/staff shortages and it’s good to have a bit of a giggle at a post which forewarns us of potential extra deliveries at an already busy time!
It’s the subject matter Sarah – I just can’t joke about those things – in our neughbouring trust the nhs has its own leaflet about 50 shades referring women to domestic violence services. There are so many other things to joke about – I agree let’s have fun just not about a film that promotes abuse.
Btw just to be clear the bullshit was reference to the film not the poster! Here have a read of this and see what you think http://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/truth-about-fifty-shades-of-grey-movie-glamorizes-sexual-violence-domestic-abuse/
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