50 Shades of Grey was originally fanfiction based on the Twilight series, which was then published as a novel (along with 2 subsequent books). It sold over 100 million copies around the world and topped best-seller lists everywhere. It’s about to be adapted into a film, set to come out early next year.
It follows a college student named Ana Steele, who enters a relationship with a man named Christian Grey and is then introduced to a bastardised and abusive parody of BDSM culture.
While the book is paraded as erotica, the relationship between Ana and Christian is far from healthy. The core mantra of the BDSM community is “safe, sane and consensual”, and 50 Shades is anything but. None of the rules of BDSM practices (which are put in place to protect those involved) are actually upheld. Christian is controlling, manipulative, abusive, takes complete advantage of Ana, ignores safe-words, ignores consent, keeps her uneducated about the sexual practices they’re taking part in, and a multitude of other terrible things. Their relationship is completely sickening and unhealthy.
Basically, “the book is a glaring glamorisation of violence against women,” as Amy Bonomi so perfectly put it.
It’s terrible enough that a book like this has been absorbed by people worldwide. Now, we have a film that is expected to be a huge box-office success, and will likely convince countless more young women that it’s okay not to have any autonomy in a relationship, that a man is allowed to control them entirely. It will also show many young men that women are theirs to play with and dominate, thus contributing to antiquated patriarchal values and rape culture.
50 Shades of Grey is more than just a bad novel; it’s actively damaging on so many levels. Do not support this film, even just to see if it’s unintentionally funny. DO NOT SUPPORT IT.
I see your point, but I rather want to see the reviews and the discussion to stem from it. I want to see those people defending the guy’s behavior for real (not as a fantasy, which is perfectly valid for women to have in any form - right?) have to explain why it should be considered “acceptable” or “normal.” I doubt I’d watch it - I’m simply not interested - but as it has a screenwriter who isn’t its original low-talent fanfic author, I’m actually curious if she’s done a better job at all with the adaptation. “Twilight” sparked discussion of relationships for girls and pointed up abusive tropes, which I felt was a good side effect.
As for parodies, pastiches … I’ve read only one, and what I liked about it was the writer took James’s clueless naïf and transmuted her into someone with opinions and friends and a life and studies/ambitions outside the relationship. And who walked away from it until getting what he wanted out of it. (And made the BDSM consensual and sort of understandable to even me, LOL.)
You know, that’s the way I felt about the books, when they came out. I WANTED there to be reviews and critical discussions and inevitable ridicule, and there was… except it didn’t make any difference.
People still read, loved and thought the book was “hot” and “romantic” and even a lot of articles and discussion in the press was often lighthearted and normalizing. We don’t need any more of that shit. This thing should be silenced into obscurity; even ridicule just gives it more attention. No money should be thrown at this thing; I think, at this point, the best that can be hoped for is that no sequels are made. People who loved the books will see the films anyway, but if it doesn’t make enough money, there’s the off chance that… *sigh* I just really fucking hate this thing, you know? (Which is one of the many reasons why I get no enjoyment from parodies or references to it; it’s too unfunny to me.)
I guess I regard it like writing I see that I don’t agree with for whatever reasons - if it’s somebody’s fantasy, I’m not going to rain on that. As long as that’s how it’s regarded, and not as an instruction manual for male-female behavior, or actual BDSM. In that case, I agree with you that it’s shitty. *nod*
Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s important to me to underline that I don’t think this is a matter of “don’t like, don’t read” - 50 Shades is actively and directly damaging to young girls who read it and think what the book portrays is a healthy relationship, which is one of COUNTLESS reasons why it is destructive. I am passionately anti-censorship, and I don’t want this book off the shelves or this film off screens, I am just strongly encouragingly people not to consume this media. I am not shaming people who like it, but I would encourage anyone who does to look into the text a little more closely, and consider what it implies.
I guess I feel about this book like I feel about most books and movies and fanfic and anything else too old for a child to read - it’s the parents’ job to monitor their kids’ consumption of media. If adults want to read or see it - and turn off their brain to enjoy it - that’s OK. It’s the same thing behind tons of old romance novels that were popular - they are an escape, and sometimes the trashier, the better. I honestly don’t see 50 Shades as much different than those books (except that some of them were better-written).
I remember you reblogging something that was a Ven diagram about “things I like” and “things I would never approve of in real life” overlapping. Wouldn’t this fall under that for some people, maybe?
This is not about underage kids getting access to material they’re not mature enough to read or about stifling perfectly healthy fantasies; this is about a piece of media perpetuating ideas that normalize and romanticize abuse, spread misinformation about BDSM and what constitutes a healthy relationship, etc. etc.
50 Shades depicts a dangerously abusive relationship and presents is as normal and romantic. This is NOT a case of someone wanting to write a rape fantasy, or depict a fucked up relationship because that can be fun to read about; this is an abusive relationship being presented as normal and romantic and BDSM being grossly misrepresented.
What you are talking about is - for example - folks who enjoy reading/writing/drawing underage sex, or rape, or torture. Those folks, rather obviously, would not want to experience any of those things in real life, nor to inflict them on other people. However, 50 Shades of Grey is not written for people who like to fantasize about abusive relationships. How do I know that? Because it’s not marketed as a story about abusive relationships, nor is it presented as such in any way. It is presented as a racy, sexy, kinky novel about a couple who go through romantic obstacles to arrive at true love.
- There is nothing wrong with enjoying reading about abuse
- There is nothing wrong with writing about abuse
There is, however, something very wrong about presenting a fucked-up, abusive relationship as a desirable one. In fic or in fanfic.
in two words: there is no proper warnings on this fic. It’s tagged like BDSM and romance but really it’s angst and non-con. Or something like that. And also we have to be passionate about this cause because it concerns us as fanwriters. The fact that it was fanfic once is a common knowledge and it put all fanwriting in bad light. We are victims here as well as BDSM community. victims of twisted representation. So yes, we have to be passionate. The main stream judges us by this example. And example is very bad - it’s not keeping rules of fanwriting - it’s not giving proper warnings, for example.
Your point about the BDSM warnings and misrepresentation is well-taken. I would probably be pretty pissed off if I were in that lifestyle and saw this and felt like people were regarding it as an accurate depiction of the activities I engaged in.
I got a headache