Nearly everyone, it seems, is obsessed with the spanking-new erotic drama, Fifty Shades of Grey — a film apparently so awesome that two sequels were announced before the first one even hit cinemas. The theatrical trailer has been watched almost 200 million times on YouTube alone. The anticipation is unprecedented. “I don’t think anyone has been this giggly and excited since Titanic,” said one female fan — whose boyfriend, a less-than-willing participant in the Grey-mania, is, she admitted, “taking one for the team.”
Consent is not, we hope, irrelevant in all of this. After all, this is a movie about a lady college student discovering the joys of S&M. We sure hope that movie goer’s less-than-willing boyfriend has an easily remembered safe word.
But, speaking of consent, that’s exactly what was missing in Pennsylvania this week when a teacher in the Monessen school district gave a handful of 8th-grade students a “word find” puzzle that was based on the movie. The puzzle asked students to find hidden words such as “spanking,” “paddling,” submissive,” “intercourse,” “leather cuffs” and the like.
When this got out, parents were not pleased. They think it’s going way too far when a sex and bondage flick becomes a teachable moment in the 8th grade.
Perhaps they'd better get used to it. The blockbuster novels (and now, movie) have brought kinkier sex into the American mainstream. Even Target stores started selling “No Peeking” blindfolds and vibrating love rings — probably near the back-to-school aisle. And over in the toy aisle, even Play-Doh! is getting sexier. Check out the “frosting extruder tool” that’s included with your next Cake Mountain Playset. Or, better yet, check out the gizmo that’s replacing it after a parental outcry. Yowza.
So is this just the new normal in the post-50-Shades era? Or were the parents of those 8th-graders overreacting?
Is it possible that Pennsylvania teacher meant no harm? After all, when your school ranks 475th out of the 498 in Pennsylvania, you have do something to whip those kids to attention. And, to be fair, the "word find" puzzle included plenty of other, non-sexy words like helicopter, entrepreneur, bestseller, physical and intimidating. Maybe we're reading too much into the sexy stuff?
Well, you can decide for yourself, because we got our hands on a history quiz recently given by the exact same teacher in that exact same school in Pennsylvania. This quiz is creating a similar buzz around the web, with different factions lining up behind whether or not this teacher has been taking things a bit too far in trying to hold those kids' attentions. What do YOU think? Take the quiz yourself and ask, Are Pennsylvania parents overreacting?