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"It's not a character defect, it's not a mental illness,'' Tara Indiana told City News Service prior to a protest at the film's opening. "It's a sexual orientation.''
The movie opens Thursday night and is expected to be wildly successful at the box office.
"My overall concern is that most people who see this movie are going to be exposed to S&M for the first time and they're going to think this is what it's about,'' Indiana said.
Indiana and other dominatrixes and their supporters will be protesting outside the Regal Theatre at L.A. Live Thursday when showings begin. Indiana said she does not want people who watch the film to walk away with the wrong impression.
"Our main problem is the way that it depicts it ... as a mental illness,'' she said. "People in our community ... they've lost their jobs, they've lost custody of their children -- they've lost their homes, families, wives -- when they get outed. It's really bad.''
She said the character Christian Grey is essentially portrayed in the books by E.L. James as a "damaged and flawed'' man who is left with no ability to relate with women except in an abusive way. The story portrays "a dominant guy as being mentally ill.''
Indiana said she is not advocating a boycott of the film -- in fact, she has already purchased tickets -- but she wants people to understand it is a work of fiction by an author who is not a member of the S&M community.
"I want them to understand that it's made up,'' she said. "It has nothing to do with the real S&M. ... S&M is not about abuse. It's not about rape, it's not about stalking.''
Indiana also noted that S&M more typically involves a submissive man and dominant woman -- the opposite arrangement as the film.
Meanwhile, a separate group calling itself Stop Patriarchy Los Angeles is planning a protest tonight at the Regency theater in Westwood, calling the film "a tale of stalking, domestic violence, abuse and torture dressed up like a love story.''
The group also alleged that domination of women is only sexy "in a society that accepts women being bought, sold, owned and controlled.''
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