Friday, March 27, 2015

50 Shades of Nausea

I know sharing this makes me guilty of what I'm about to rant about...but, it's an attention-getter - an effort to make a point.

Ever since the pornographic series of books and then movie, 50 Shades of Grey, came out we've been inundated with 50 Shades of Everything. For example Target not only carried a line of 50 Shades products (lotions, hand cuffs, blindfolds, etc.) - in some stores they were even next to children's toothbrushes. Evidently mommies with kiddies are the chosen demographic. Kind of makes you think twice about letting Junior spend the night at Tommy's house, doesn't it?

Then we had teachers handing out 50 Shades of Grey word searches to middle school children and other horrifying examples of irresponsible adult example.

This was blatant coattail riding on the wildly successful, albeit perverted success of all things 50 Shades. At least you knew what they were about.

Now, however, we're seeing an entirely new use of 50 Shades - mainstream, 'normal' products are joining the porn coattails. I've seen 50 Shades of Gray Hair, 50 Shades of Savings, 50 Shades of Debt, and all sorts of 50 Shades references from sources who have nothing to do with bondage or perverted sexuality. Is this the direction we really want to go?

We've all seen the effects of advertising and how it colors our world. Hearing the same phrase over and over again, ad nauseum (pun intended), tends to normalize an otherwise offensive topic. Yes, many columnists have expended many keystrokes to objecting to (or recommending) the offending books and movie - and using some twist of the 50 Shades title garnered interest and readership - but using this phrase in mainstream advertising runs the risk of coloring (yep, I went there) the consciences of even the most sensitive souls.

In the same way that marketing PG-13 movies to the toddler set by licensing toys to fast food chains is a problem, so is this. Currently Subway is giving out Guardians of the Galaxy take home bags with their kids' meals, even though the movie is rated PG-13. Now I ask you, won't many children be inclined toward watching this movie, based on a favorable association with their meal and gift? Will you, a morally responsible parent, take them to see the movie in question? I would think not!

Why then, associate anything - especially morally neutral somethings - with a horrific display of sexual depravity? That's the question and that's what brings me to 50 Shades of Nausea.

What strange 50 Shades associations have you encountered?