'50 Shades of Grey' sparks 50 shades of controversy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

'50 Shades of Grey' sparks 50 shades of controversy

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The best-selling book series, turned motion picture is now one of the most highly anticipated box office releases of 2015. However in this case where there is hype, there is controversy. People across the country are protesting the film, saying it promotes violence against women, including a group of women in Madison.

The Madison women say despite its Valentine's weekend release, the film is anything but romantic. "It's a manipulation of the public. It's like a gateway to bring pornography into the mainstream," says Thistle Pettersen, organizer of the event listed on Facebook as 'Picket Premiere of 50 Shades of Grey.' "It's Valentine's Day, and violence against women is not sexy. It's not loving. It's not romantic, and so I feel like we need to speak out against that."

Thistle admits she hasn't read the books. "I have seen analyses of passages where Ana, the female character, is not comfortable with her sexuality at all," she says.

Other women involved with the protests have read the book though. "I've read enough of the book. I actually had to stop because it was upsetting me too much," says Brianna Carlson, a protest participant. At 16 years old, she says she wants people her age to see why she doesn't think 50 Shades of Grey portrays a healthy relationship or a healthy first sexual encounter. "From hearing people my age talking about it, they seem pretty oblivious to the fact that this is just blatantly spewing abuse, and that's the only thing," says Carlson. "They think it's 'Oh he's hot. This sounds like a really cool thing to be in,' and it's really not."

The group plans to be at Marcus Cinema on Madison's west side ahead of their Thursday showings. They're making valentines to pass out to distribute to movie goers. The movie theater does not have an official statement to release in regard to protests. The movie industry has seen protests in the past.

The group of women say they are prepared for what the day brings. "They may point us to the very edge of the parking lot or something like that, in which case, that's where we'll stand," says Pettersen.

Plenty of people are still excited about the film's release though. Supporters of the book series and the film believe it encourages women to explore their sexuality. Tickets are already on sale, and experts expect the movie to bring in $60 million this weekend.

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