The other day on Pinterest (it’s my addiction, don’t judge me) I saw something that made me stop and just stare. It read “For all those men wondering why there is no manual for women, have you read 50 Shades of Grey”.
Womenfolk of the world, I beg you, please try and regain your self respect. This kind of thing is not ok. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the “50 shades of grey” has been monumental in increasing the sex drives of repressed housewives the world over. More power to you. However, advocating to the world that men should read this book and assume that this is the way to “control” a woman is just plain ridiculous, and frankly very terrifying.
Now, I have not read “50 shades of grey” all the way through. This is not because of the subject matter, but because of the content. The fact that this is Twilight fan fiction speaks volumes about the lack of character development, the repetitive phrasing, and the general lack of range, imagination, and intelligence in the whole book. I got a few chapters in and realized that no matter how saucy the clunky plot became, any mojo-boost I might encounter would be immediately squashed by my fury and sadness at the state of the literary world.
I have expressed my opinions widely on this topic, and have actually been called “un feminist” as a result. Someone alert the press, apparently the new wave of feminism is allowing, nay encouraging, men to tie women up against their will and do multiple deviant sexual acts on them. Apparently this is the only way to understand us, and is, at heart, what we all really want. My astounded reaction to these “feminists” is to ask themselves whether is would be ok if this was a pornographic movie produced by men. If this movie was mass-produced, and millions of people around the world watched it, would it be ok for them to talk about it in airports, or at the school gates with other parents?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that not all folks that enjoyed this book think that this is an ok practice in “real life”, and I sincerely hope that most women don’t agree with the sentiments of that ridiculous pin. I’m crediting the world with some intelligence here. I think that reading a book like “50 shades” is totally fine (if general lack of creative substance in “literature” doesn’t bother you), but let’s not make the fact it’s a popular book mean that it’s content should become an expected or encouraged reality.
At the end of the day I’m a 27 year old, liberated woman. I’m not a prude. However, I think that the fact that “50 shades of grey” has been given a free pass because it’s popular is ridiculous. Let’s be honest here, it’s pornography, and while that’s fine in the bedroom let’s keep it off of our pinterest boards, Facebook news feeds, and twitter.
And let’s keep our smarts about us here: telling men that all women want is to be dominated al-la Christian Grey is not feminist. Emmeline Pankhurst fought for the exact opposite – that women are not tied down, that their verbalized wishes are respected equally, and that they know their own mind better than anyone else. She was a bad-ass, someone to look up to, who is remembered by history as a role model for activists regardless of gender. E. L. James is a highly successful porn-baron whose insipid female lead displays none of the qualities of the WSPU. I can’t really see Anastasia Steele throwing herself under a horse in political protest, can you? Well unless, of course, she was told to by her master.