|Photo Credit: I survived domestic violence|
I've been trying to think of something good and decent to write for an entire week, but this is all I can wrap my head around right now: The insanity that is 50 Shades of Grey.
First and foremost, let me set the stage for this post.
If you A) Read this book and got some kinky sex ideas and/or had a sexual awakening of some kind and B) Realized this is nothing more than a horribly, horribly, horribly written story about two completely fictional characters, while understanding that C) In the real word, Christian is a stalker/jackass and Ana is in a domestic violence situation basically the entire book, then this rant is not for you. However, I implore you to at least try and find an erotica book that is written well. Or at least better than this one. Surely, one must exist, but maybe that's wishful thinking. Let's be honest, this is basically a script for a porno. And we all know those aren't about the writing.
Now, on the other hand, if you (or someone you know) A) Read this and wished you were in a relationship just like this or B) Decided Christian is your dream man/the most perfect man in the world or C) Thought Christian was "a little" messed up but then Ana "fixed" him and they lived happily ever after, then it's time to talk.
Because tens of millions of these poorly written books sold and created tens of millions of fans and some (not all) of the fans actually think this is a healthy, good relationship that they should strive for in their own lives.
No, no no no no no no no no no.
Several years ago a friend told me to read this. I never made it past the first few chapters because I couldn't get past hating Christian and his domestic violence/insane stalker ways. Plus, I felt like my braincells were dying with every paragraph. Then, I heard the movie was coming out and there was all this uproar, so I decided to try and finish the first book and see if I had just been wrong. Somehow. Really, really wrong.
Now, let's clear up a few more things.
First of all, sex isn't a bad thing when it's with two consenting adults who respect and care about one another and who feel safe with each other. Love is also (in my personal opinion) a great thing to accompany it, but I get that not everyone agrees with that. BDSM sex- also not a horrible thing. It's just what some people are in to and what others aren't. No big deal. I also don't think that the author knowingly wrote a domestic violence trilogy. I think this is her personal interpretation of BDSM, however wrong it may be, and that she was going for nothing more than a kinky book series.
The problem, however, is that far, far too many people have read these books and now think this is what BDSM sex is and this is how one should be treated (Ana, in this case). The glamour of this wealthy fictional man and his good looks dulls the actual underlying inaccuracies of the books. Do any amount of research on BDSM and you'll learn how off the books are. Christian crosses line after line after line that would otherwise not be allowed in a real life BDSM situation. That's just one problem, though. The biggest and baddest issues lie in the way Christian treats Ana.
I've been reading articles on this exact concern with the 50 Shades series. In one of them, a 16 year old girl (she said she was 16 in the comment) writes how much she loved these books and how perfect Christian is and how she wants a man just like him. This is where we have a problem. She clearly lacks the knowledge around what a healthy relationship looks like. Unfortunately, there are men like Christian (albeit, probably not mega-millionaires) in the world. Men who are attractive, alluring, and predators. Men (and women, let's be fair here) who will take advantage of people's weaknesses, praying on the fact that they don't have the knowledge to prevent them from getting into a messed up relationship where one person is a controlling psychopath and the other is the victim.
What needs to happen is this: First, we all need to quit being so weird about talking about sex. We're making it worse by overreacting about talking about it, about learning about it, about it in general. The more educated you are, the better- bottom line. Second, we need to help people understand what a healthy relationship is and what an unhealthy one looks like. If you have a friend in an unhealthy relationship, tell them. Yes, they might not get it. Yes, they might get mad at you. But one day, one day, they'll understand and they'll remember that you tried to be there for them when no one else did. You might even just save their life.
Here's one article about the 50 Shades concerns that I found really well written, thought out, and appropriate to the subject. Long- yes, but worth the read.