An eleven year-old boy was unable to take part in his school's World Book Day celebrations as he came dressed as the lead character from E L James' sensational book, Fifty Shades of Grey. The trilogy has recently been made into a film and 11 year-old Liam Scholes came dressed to school as the main protagonist, Christian Grey. Liam was excluded from the school's World Book Day photographs by staff at Sale High School, Greater Manchester, who deemed his costume "inappropriate."
In a statement to BBC news, Sale High School said, "The aim of our World Book Day was to celebrate and encourage reading and we are disappointed that what was a fantastic day for our students was marred by this issue."
His mother, Nicola Scholes, a teacher herself, supported her son. She said that he had wanted to look a bit more grown up and had been searching for a character. It was in fact Liam's decision and he was "conscious that he didn't want to dress up as a cartoon character" though Nicola was careful to say that he has not read the controversial book. She went on further to say that Christian Grey is a character from a book and is perhaps one of "the most talked about book characters for the last few years."
Nicola revealed that Liam was told instead to get dressed up as James Bond, who has a less than angelic reputation as a womaniser and a double agent with "a licence to kill", whilst a teacher dressed up as a serial killer and another student was dressed up as The American Sniper.
One of the main issues of complaint is the fact that he was also carrying cable ties and a mask as props, a clear reference to erotic scenes from the film. Nicola argues however that other #Children were allowed to come in carrying toy guns which she personally considers far more "offensive than carrying cable ties".
Liam is in secondary school and, whilst aware of the connotations of the character and the props, it was meant to be done for a laugh, "tongue in cheek, to be the butt of jokes." With the other costumes in mind, it has the air of double standards about it, though the family do not bear any malice about the school. "We've laughed about it," admitted Nicola, and there was a certain irony in the fact that Liam was being dressed down by Darth Vader!
The school was presented with a conflict of interests, wanting to promote literature whilst still maintaining a sense of decorum. It seems they felt that they were unable to condone the representation of such a book particularly because of the age of the pupil concerned and owing to its explicit and overly sexual content. When presented with such a dilemma, the school needed to make a decision they felt was in the best interests of the children, staff and the school. However, in taking such a decision and through the power of social media, it seems that the issue has provoked attention from further afield.
Fifty Shades of Grey has now been released as a film, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. It has been rated "18" by the British Board of film classification because it contains "strong sex and nudity." #Cinema