Unless you've been living under a rock for the past six years, you've probably heard of the erotic 'Fifty Shades' Trilogy. If you have, let me give you a brief rundown. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele find themselves in a relationship of dominant and submissive, and engage in some hard core BDSM activity. Along the way, they find some love and wisdom.

Fifty Shades has been phenomenally successful since its publication in 2011, captivating readers with its novel look on relationships - and not just the vanilla relationships that writers have written about in the past. The movies have gained even more fanfare, and everyone seems to have something to say and something to contribute to the conversation that swirls around. 

So what happens when an imaginary relationship becomes fantasized about and talked about as the ultimate goal? What do people have to say when this relationship isn't considered 'normal'?

A writer for the Huffington post published an article around the time of the release of the second Fifty Shades movie, publicly stating that she believes these movies to be 'abusive' and clear demonstrations of intimate partner violence. She sees them as degrading women and their sexual nature to that of something that can be 'had' and 'demanded' by the men in their lives. 

Fifty Shades doesn't necessarily cover the romance and explicit details within the books or the movies. Rather, it lifts the proverbial shades on what, years ago, may have been considered violent.

But, now, in 2017, we're at a turning point.

We're at a point in our lives where many women would consider the current president to be a sexual predator. We're at a point in our lives where women still make less than men, about 83 cents to every dollar a man makes. We're at a point where men hold higher positions and are 'entitled' to more in life

Women have power, and it's time to own it.

We are in a time where women have the ability to march on Washington and claim our rights, to protest for what we believe in, and to finally shatter that glass ceiling that seemingly holds us back. And Fifty Shades, regardless of the - yes, overt- sexuality within it, helps to empower women and shows us that we can too, be powerful.

In a hyperaware society of the rape culture and domestic violence that occurs all too often, it may be easy to dismiss Fifty Shades as simply another store that goes too far and glamorizes what should be unable to be made glamorous. And yes, I do see the points that these opponents make - without really reading it, or watching it, it does seem that way on some level.

But I urge you, look past the superficial levels of this movie. Look past the BDSM and the tumultuous relationship between Ana and Christian. Look past the critics, because underneath what you'll find is a story of empowerment. Ana does not hide her sexuality, rather, she displays it. She shows that she can not only take control of it, but that it's nothing to be ashamed of.

And its not. Women being sexual creatures should not bring the shame that it once did. Rougher and adventurous sex does not mean abusive, and does not translate to an abusive personality. Obviously, there are lines that must be drawn, but when E.L. James was writing these books, there's not really a doubt in my mind that they were written as tools of empowerment.

Now, not everyone will find a relationship like Ana and Christian, and probably not everyone should. But empowerment, awareness, strength, and beauty, all shown in this book, are traits that everyone women should aspire to have, and every women should aspire to achieve. It's 2017, and it's time for empowerment.