So I went and read 50 Shades of Grey.
I had no intention of doing so, quite honestly. At all. I’m more of a YA, chick-lit, non-sexual-fantasy sort of reader. (SPOILER ALERT: if squeamish, stop reading.) But everyone was reading it, and then there was controversy over it and the way it was marketed to moms, and I’m not one to back down from poorly written popular fiction (hello, Twilight) NOR a fight that lets me unleash my inner feminist.
Oh. Em. Gee.
One, these books make Twilight look like high literature. I mean, that’s impressive.
Two, I am a wimp, and the hot and steamy scenes I scanned/didn’t read because I was blushing. BY MYSELF. I mean, it’s totally fine, in a way. The books are marketed for adults and are about consenting adults and whatever works is none of my business closed doors we’re all grown ups but LA LA LA LA HAPPY PLACE.
(Am a prude.)
But the real problem is here, with Issue Number Three: these books romanticize violence against women. No, really. They do. I’m not talking about the In The Bedroom Naughty Stuff They Do For Fun. That’s something else all together. I’m talking about the She’s Afraid He Will Physically Punish Her For….fill in the blank. For wearing a sleeveless dress, for taking a call from a male friend, for getting drinks with her girlfriend, for not replying to his email, for….whatever, does it matter?
I know it’s fiction, and I know that it’s written by a mostly inexperienced writer. But there is a HUGE difference between what happens between consenting adults and what happens when one person in a relationship extends physical/emotional control over another person against her (or his!) wishes.
This does not make Christian mysterious, sexy, romantic, tortured, jealous, insecure, insert-placeholder-euphanism-here.
It makes him abusive.
Abusive is not hot. Is not sexy. Is not okay. And I hate that a work of popular fiction is making it seem okay and normal and something to desire and fantasize about.
I have no idea if this is the norm for this genre. I have honestly never read any erotic fiction before (see above: am prude). I may not be the one to come to on analysis of erotic fiction. But gah – for the love of Pete. Stop making it normal for a man to hurt a woman against her wishes, OK? Can we at least agree to that?