As much as I’ve tried to actively ignore E L James, bestselling fan fiction novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, it seems I’m in scant company. At first I bit my tongue when I came across articles about how Fifty Shades had apparently ‘brought s&m to the mainstream’ (I have to worry about someone who has managed to reach 2012 without trying out a little light bondage) and then we had the inevitable guides to bringing the novel’s sex tips to your relationship (thanks Cosmo). I’m not sure how these differ from their usual offerings but I am gleefully anticipating trying out number 6 on the hubby – Hit him with the back of a brush as he steps out the shower – sure to lead to hot sexy sex and not at all to the A&E after he slips and breaks his hip (we have very slippery tiles). Now we’ve even got libraries in the States banning the book and a women’s group threatening to burn it, denouncing it as “an instruction manual for an abusive individual to sexually torture a vulnerable young woman,” and I can keep quiet no more.
Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need does have a point. This work of “romantic” fiction sees a young woman, one who is apparently incapable of basic social interaction with other adult human beings without constantly falling prey to would be sexual attackers or falling over her own feet, fall in love with a controlling older man who ignores her boundaries, doesn’t respect her decisions and pushes her into taking part in sexual activity she clearly states she is not comfortable with.
For example even though she tells him she doesn’t want to be spanked, he repeatedly does spank her – “I will do it again, Anastasia, and soon,” he threatens quietly close to my ear – hardly the talk of a healthy relationship between two consenting adults. Even though her friend Kate tries to keep Ana away from this man and despite several warning signs that he is a crazed stalker (such as tracking her mobile phone while she is out with friends), she is convinced she can change him. The best part about this lovely relationship is that he’s super rich and showers her with gifts including laptops and cars, because everyone knows that it’s OK to be a controlling, abusive psycho as long as you’re paying for it, right ladies? (My favourite part about the laptop incident is that apparently this college educated woman in 2012 had never used email before, yikes).
As much as I agree with Wearside Women in Need, rather than burning this ridiculous piece of exploitative and unrealistic fiction, they would be better off just laughing at it. Fifty Shades may be the biggest selling book in the universe ever ever, but it also has to be the most badly written. Women may enjoy reading it as a fluffy piece of fiction or just to keep up with the hype, but I really doubt it will have any kind of long term impact on society once Cosmo’s readers are done dragging forks all over each other while doing backwards cowgirl or whatever it is kids are doing these days. With that, I thought I’d leave you to a selection of some of my favourite quotes for chuckles…
He’s my very own Christian Grey flavor Popsicle. – possibly the most satirised but still the most cringe-worthy blow job description in literature ever.
I had no idea giving pleasure could be such a turn-on, watching him writhe subtly with carnal longing. My inner goddess is going the merengue with salsa moves. – Ana talks about her inner goddess A LOT. It’s really annoying.
Why is anyone the way they are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese? – Goddam it hubby, why do you like like Stilton so much, when I like Edam? I’m never going to understand it!
Christian squirts baby oil onto his hand and then rubs my behind with careful tenderness — from makeup remover to soothing balm for a spanked ass, who would have thought it was such a versatile liquid. – Ana’s the kind of annoying girl who doesn’t need to wear make-up, because she’s just so much better than the rest of us, so doesn’t realise that the everyone else is using cleansing wipes these days. EL James also constantly has her borrowing her flatmate’s dresses as she’s just too deep and interesting to be worried about something so vain as shopping for herself. FYI since her flatmate knows how much sex is going on, because they talk about it ALL THE TIME, I’m very surprised she lets Ana borrow her clothes at all ( think of the stains, eww). Also wouldn’t Christian own some kind of gold-speckled sex balm, since he’s so goddamn rich?
This is wrong, but holy hell is it erotic. – Yep Ana just loves using phrases like “Holy Hell” and “double crap”, in fact she talks like she’s in a Famous Five book pretty much the whole time, which I find very disturbing.