It’s time to talk about the controversy surrounding 50 Shades of Grey. I’ve taken my time, listened to podcasts, watched a lot of people on YouTube talk about it, and plenty of this type of research before coming to my own opinion regarding the statement people love to throw around lately: 50 Shades of Grey supports rape.
Before I get to this statement though I want to talk about why I refuse to buy the books, even though I’ve read the first one, because it has nothing to do with it. When the books came out, it eventually came out that 50 Shades of Grey was a Twilight fan fiction, and EL James not only took the idea for a book from something that already existed, but took all the characterizations that weren’t her original ideas, and used them, only changing names in her story. There are people who have claimed she stole parts of their stories on fan fiction websites, and used them in her book.
So I have a problem with EL James making money for an idea that wasn’t anywhere close to her own. That is why I won’t buy the books, and when the movie came out it took a lot of thought to decide to go see it; eventually I decided to go because realistically very little of the $12 I spent on a ticket is going to EL James’ royalties. My opinion is that Stephanie Meyer should be getting royalties for these books.
Okay now that that part is out of the way, we can get into this idea that the books/movies support rape and an abusive relationship. I want to put a disclaimer here that I have only read the first book, and I have seen the movie, so that’s what my opinion is based on.
I agree that Christian and Ana do not have a healthy relationship. They don’t. He’s emotionally abusive, he sometimes stalks her, he belittles her with words, and when he gets mad he will at least say that he wants to hit her/spank her/etc. There are scenes in the book that made me uncomfortable, reading Ana’s thoughts and knowing she wasn’t always okay with what was happening (i.e. the scene at his parents house after he makes her go outside and away from his parents).
All of this can be true without the story saying THIS IS A GOOD THING YOU SHOULD ALL ASPIRE TO BE CHRISTIAN AND ANA.
Never has EL James claimed that this is a perfect relationship or that every girl should envy Ana or anything else of that sort. Yes Ana wants to change Christian, yes she wants to fix him. This is problematic too, and we’re getting there, but this does not mean the book supports this relationship as perfect or healthy. Now, there are people who read a book, romanticize the situation in the book, and wish they were Ana and had a Christian. But that can happen with any book. There are books about serial killers and women who run away from their abusive partners and people do that with those books too; that doesn’t mean a book shouldn’t be written, it means an individual may need personal help getting through something they’re dealing with on their own.
So let’s talk about BDSM and the community.
The big thing people are mad about is that this book claims its showing BDSM, but its not really BDSM and its showing the general population wrong information. I understand this feeling, and I think anyone who reads this and becomes interested in the BDSM aspect of it should then do their own research before tying themselves up at home. There’s plenty of information out there, WE LIVE IN THE WORLD OF THE INTERNET PEOPLE. In fact here’s a nice video about BDSM and it even talks about 50 shadesof Grey as well.
This all being said, this book never claimed to be the Guide to BDSM, or a how to on a BDSM relationship. It’s an erotic novel written by a woman who loved Twilight and wrote a fan fiction about it and somehow managed to make a shit ton of money doing it. The book, and author, shouldn’t be deemed as solely responsible for people mistaking this fictional erotic novel as a guide to a particular type of sexual kink.