Archive | December, 2012

Fifty Shades of Lame

13 Dec


Today a co-worker told me I reminded her of a character from Fifty Shades of Grey. I can’t say that I took that as a compliment because I didn’t enjoy the book nor could I relate to Anastasia. Here is a column I wrote for Niagara News (Niagara College’s college newspaper) as to why I just couldn’t get into Fifty Shades. An opinion piece if you will:

Reading books is a way to escape to another world, but Fifty Shades of Grey is one world I don’t want to get lost in. 

This “mommy-porn” book written by E.L James is about the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. The book, written from Steele’s perspective shows her relationship with the very powerful and wealthy Grey, who is into bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadomasochism in the bedroom and wants the inexperienced Steele to be his submissive.

Fifty Shades of Grey proves the point that sex sells. Not only have the books been flying off the shelves, but a possible movie is in the works and a Fifty Shades baby boom is expected to occur. Sex shops have had record sales of items mentioned in the book and an increase in rope sales has also been reported. The hardware store owner may be happy, but I’m not.

If Fifty Shades of Grey has been a catalyst for opening conversation between couples then it’s a great tool, but to go from vanilla sex to whips and chains seems a bit of a stretch. After reading one erotic novel, have women become so liberated that they are willing to try new things with their significant other? It all seems a bit alarming.

Women generally don’t like it if their significant other watches pornography because of feelings of insecurity and lack of intimacy, so why is it acceptable for all these women to fantasize about the unrealistic Christian Grey?

Studies show that women respond to mental stimulation while men need visual stimulation. In essence, if women are going to get into porn, it will be in the form of a book or story, even if the story is about control and trying to get a man to love you.

Not only were the characters in the book a cliché, so was the plot -or lack thereof. As a woman who tends to over-analyze, I don’t want to read about someone doing the same thing. Steele wants love from the emotionally unavailable Grey, and I just wanted to yell at the pages for her to run away while she is mesmerized by his stunning good looks.

It isn’t Grey’s alternative lifestyle or what he does in the bedroom that bothered me, it was the reasons he was into it – and his possessive nature. Grey is portrayed as a tortured man who has what we normally consider “issues.”

Why do we want a young, naïve girl who is just starting her life after university to become involved with such a man?

Women have been trying to prove to themselves and to society that they are independent, so why are so many women fantasizing about being dominated?

I can appreciate that many women are using this book as fantasy and a way to escape our mundane everyday lives, but I’m not sure if Grey is what I would consider a leading man.

A strong man is a man who can handle a woman who is just as strong as he is, not one who is controlling her every move. Women have liberated themselves financially, emotionally and even sexually, that the phenomenon and so-called love story in Fifty Shades of Grey is counteracting any of that progress.

There is nothing wrong in believing in chivalry and fairytales, but the ones I believe in help to empower women.

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