MY TAKE ON 50 SHADES OF GREY


 

Welcome to my Electronic Soapbox   

Despite the furore over the book and the movie, I still haven’t read 50SoG. Why not? I hear you ask.  You’re a literary snob, yells someone from the back row. Well, yes, a little.  You’re a prude, shouts someone from the front row. No way – not me. I just watched the movie Don Jon which deals very graphically  with a New Jersey young guy’s addiction to on-line porn !

So why haven’t I?  My understanding of the book – and I may well be horribly wrong – is that it is about domination of a young woman by an older man, sexually and psychologically. Wikipedia informed me that 50SoG dealt with :   sexual practices involving bondage/discipline,dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifty_Shades_of_Grey

These days the notion of bondage sex, or the  whip cracking dominatrix , scarcely raise a ripple. They might raise a lot of other things, but on the whole, they’ve  been relegated into the ho-hum category. Anything goes –  consenting adult’s right to make choices in regard to their intimate lives etc. etc. All very true.  Where are the boundaries? What was once considered as taboo, or scandalous, is now mainstream.

I am baffled why the book has been so popular. Do women really want to be dominated and subdued?

For so many years women across the globe have struggled for political and economic freedom, for the right to education and adequate healthcare. Very recently the young Pakistani teenager, Malala, bravely stood up for her rights, in the face of violence and aggression. She’s been hailed as a heroine. Quite right, too!

Yet here in the West we have the 50SoG phenomenon. Are we so jaded that  we look to books/movies like 50SoG in an attempt to find something new? More tittilating? Maybe Western society really is decadent, degenerate, and morally corrupt, as some Asian and Islamic countries judge us to be. Perhaps they have a point.

Finally, and very close to home, I have an elderly woman friend who has been reduced to a nervous wreck – in the literal sense – by her domineering, control-freak husband. Recently she plucked up courage and fled to a safe haven. But she’s non-functional and penniless, after years of psychological abuse. Is this how women should be treated? Of course it isn’t.

And yet FSG is a publishing and movie phenomenal success. What’s the matter with us?  Think about it. We’re buying into FSG as entertainment ?  Hello? Reality check required here.

And that’s why I won’t read 50 Shades of Grey. You can keep it. Not for me.

 

 

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11 Comments

Filed under POLITICS, SOCIAL COMMENT

11 responses to “MY TAKE ON 50 SHADES OF GREY

  1. Graham Johnson

    Well said Alison. My take is somewhat different approach I feel any book or movie that requires that much hype by the publicists cannot be worth much. But then I could be just old and jaded!

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  2. Dawn

    Well said. I agree – all that and then some 🙂

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  3. Judy b

    Well said for hundreds of us. Who needs FSG in this world of today ? It’s crazy enough.

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  4. Charlotte

    Wonderfully stated. Absolutely agree.
    With no desire to read the book or see the film.
    It’s ‘ho hum’ for me.

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  5. I too agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, and arguments However, baffled as I am about the books popularity, and, as you, being in no way a prude, I would like to attempt to fathom it out. So here goes:
    First off, I have read the book. Take as read that it is poorly written and that the story line, plot, characterisation and all those aspects that go towards a ‘good’ novel are appalling. So what is its appeal? Its appeal to women? There has to be a reason. I do not for a moment believe that the vast majority of the women who enjoyed (and probably continue to enjoy) the book are in favour of going back to an age when women were totally dominated, sexually and otherwise, by men. Or even partially dominated. Many of the women who enjoy the book are successful working women, mothers, managers, etc, functioning well in a society that (on the whole) stands up for equal rights between the sexes. So. The reason (s) must be on a deeper, even subconscious, level. Is there some darker, hidden need we women have to be dominated by a man, even, further, to feel physical pain? (The book did not cover emotional pain, indeed it seems to infer that in suffering physical pain inflicted by her ‘master’, the woman enjoyed emotional pleasure).
    In trying to answer that question I found myself entering a confused and rather upsetting inner space. I looked inside myself, rather than outside. For, if I am to be honest here, and whats the point of not being, inspite of the boredom I felt in reading such a badly written book, and inspite of the fact that I am 100% against ANY emotional, physical or spiritual suffering inflicted on ANYONE, there was some part of me that felt a small …..stirring, (thrill is too strong a word) on reading the sm activities described so badly in the book. What was that stirring? Was this what those women who so love the book had felt, and maybe even felt a lot more strongly? And felt it the more strongly because they are more ‘in touch’ with their inner, perhaps shadow, side than me? Lets say it was. The next question, of course, is ‘what is that stirring, that feeling, that thrill, all about’? ‘How to describe it? How to define it? When I started to consider this I found myself struggling with hugely conflicting emotions. I had to first get over the feeling of guilt that I could even be admitting to feeling any sort of ….stirring…..at all. I am not any sort of masochist! I have led a reasonably average life (if any life can be called average), my sexual experience has, it would appear, remained within the bounds of a general vanilla flavour! So, again, what is this feeling, this stirring, where does it come from, and why?
    To ask you to accompany me into my subconscious would be arrogant and risky, and anyway I would be a hopeless guide because I am pretty much a stranger there myself. But I am convinced it is there that the answer can be found, indeed was found. Bear in mind, its MY tentative answer to the cause of MY erstwhile unaccountable…stirring. It may well not apply to all the women who enjoyed the book. (And remember I did not enjoy the book, I yawned my way through it, but nevertheless…).
    My answer is this. Most of my life I have felt the need to be in control of any situation I have found myself in. All day, every day. For me, a lack of control has equated with danger, weakness. It was a battle, often, to remain in control when events seemed to be spiralling out of it. When I lost control, whether over circumstances or myself, negative results always, it seemed to me, followed. It became a necessity to have control in order to be successful in my outer world. So, to relinquish that control deliberately, with or to a man I trusted and liked, could, would, come as a huge, a HUGE relief. So that is part of the answer, the pure unadulterated RELIEF. Both physical and emotional. And the physical pain that often went with it? That I can’t personally explain, but I have read that sometimes physical pain is the only way some people, male or female, can feel. Anything. And anything is better than nothing.
    Thanks for reading this, if you have. Just an attempt to understand.

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  6. I read the book, although at the time, I didn’t know it was famous – it was the last book on a list of downloads my husband had put on my kindle. When I began to read it, my immediate thought was that it was very badly written – then, that it was a Mills and Boon. About to put it down, I came across the paragraph when the guy buys cable ties and because I had recently read extensively about the BDSM world – read on!
    Before I get onto what I think of the book’s contents, I’d like to say that there is nothing memorable about the book at all – I can hardly remember the names of the characters! And only one incident! And that one, is to do with BDSM – not that it was disgusting or anything, just it was plain wrong, and by wrong, I mean incorrect. In the BDSM world it wouldn’t happen! Anyone who has studied this lifestyle (or is in it) will immediately say that the book doesn’t depict it at all – in fact if you read sites now, written by ‘slaves’ or even their ‘masters’ they constantly make jokes about S of G. In the ‘real’ world, a master would never allow his sub to get away with what she did – it just doesn’t depict that world.
    As to the pull of the lifestyle you mention, Alison – there is a pull, on many levels. What I studied about it would take volumes to describe, (which is why I wrote a book instead!) but for some, there is an inability to feel – already mentioned in the post above. Others cannot stop their minds working. Say a research scientist or a CEO. (Stories abound of the CEO’s who like to be bound and beaten!!! – they are dominant all day long, and need a release. Extreme you say? Perhaps, but then none of us are CEO’s!) Some people simply cannot have a ‘normal’ relationship and find a partner who is the same – a transient relationship, albeit intense.
    I’m truly sorry that this book has become so famous, because it gives a very false impression of the BDSM world, the reasons for the submission of seemingly dominant people. In part, it was one of the reasons I chose to use BDSM as the device my character Eugene used to gain control of Lisa. Having investigated the lifestyle thoroughly, I am certain I did a better job than in S of G!
    However, one thing is for sure – S of G attracts many women, because millions bought it – perhaps a vicarious pleasure, perhaps a desire for dominance in their busy lives – who knows? What I mind is that most of the major premise of the book is incorrect, and unfortunately, fiction such as this can turn into a whole subculture! After all most of the ‘slave/master’ terminology came from the Gor series!

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  7. I hate being dominated, so of course I’m not reading it either! I LIKE being in control and prefer it any day

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