Everyone has heard about “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the illustrious Christian Grey. Everyone has heard about the shy and timid Anastasia Rose Steele as well.
The problem is, is that I wish this book and these characters did not exist. “Fifty Shades of Grey” author, E.L. James, was inspired to write her sex novels after dabbling with “Twilight” fan fiction. To be honest I am not surprised that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was created from “Twilight.”
Both of these novels arguably exploit and sensationalize the idea of an abusive relationship.
What frustrates me about these novels is the message that E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer are spreading to young girls and women. These books are suggesting to women and girls that it is important to have a man in your life. We should be telling women to be independent.
In “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Ana is initially described as shy, timid, naïve and a virgin. When she meets Christian she is overwhelmed by him. So much so that she agrees to sign a contract with him to have sex. She gives in to Christian’s extreme demands all in the name of love. He controls her diet, schedule, birth control, friends and her career. Basically her entire life and yet she stays because she loves him. She willingly subjects herself to physical harm when sleeping with Christian, but complains that he can never just be normal.
She takes it upon herself to try to change him, and frankly, that is not her job. E.L. James attempts to make readers feel sorry for Christian because of his troubled childhood and past. I do not know about anyone else but I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who was adopted into a loving family, was given everything while growing up and who now owns his own company and has more money than god.
The driving factor that has drawn women into “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is the BDSM that is so heavily highlighted on every page. This is “mommy porn” at its finest. E.L. James attempts to give readers this glimpse into this incredibly kinky world, but I feel that she fails. The BDSM does not just stop in the bedroom it is prevalent all throughout the novel.
You constantly see Ana fall into her submissive role not just in the bedroom, but in her and Christian’s relationship as well. She is controlled, and she allows it to happen.
Is this the new trend for women? Has everything in our lives suddenly become BDSM? The same can be said for Bella Swan in “Twilight.” Bella goes to extreme lengths to keep Edward happy. Her character suffers the most throughout the “Twilight” trilogy. The worst scene from “Twilight” is when Edward breaks up with Bella. She allows herself to become so depressed that she has night terrors of Edward leaving.
Rather than Meyer showing Bella hanging out with her girlfriend’s to make herself feel better we see her gravitate to Jacob to receive some semblance of happiness. Is that the message that we are teaching girls these days? In order to be happy you must find a man?
Ana does the same thing in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” When she leaves Christian at the end of the first novel she is described to have lost at least 10 pounds, and is unable to do anything.
She is not happy again until she sees Christian two weeks later and they resume their relationship. This is a terrible message to spread to young girls who are at a time in their lives where they are incredibly impressionistic.
I do not think young girls, or women for that matter should read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Women should emulate female characters like Hermione Granger, Elizabeth Bennett and Lisabeth Salander.
These are not women who fight for their love life but women who are strong, independent, smart, loving and for lack of a better word, ballsy.