50 Shades of No, Thank You

I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey. When the book first came out, I was intrigued, but refused to read it because it was so popular that I figured it couldn’t be that great. Not that it’s such a terrific litmus test, I did the same thing with Harry Potter, and when I finally caved and read ALL SEVEN BOOKS IN THREE WEEKS last summer, I realized that maybe not everything that’s popular is horrible. Like bacon. Bacon is popular and AWESOME. But then, I’m also pretty particular about my bacon. It has to be nitrate free, humanely raised, – well I’m getting off topic. Anyway. I decided that I didn’t want to spend any money on 50 Shades of Grey, but that I would read it when it was free.

Then I started seeing “50 Shades Starter Kits” in some of my favorite sex toy stores. And I was equal parts disgusted and understanding – you have to market to your audience, and it’s really just good strategy to capitalize on the popularity of that title, no matter how crappy it is.

THEN THEY MADE A FUCKING MOVIE.

I remember going to one of my favorite movie theatres the weekend it opened. It’s a theatre that I go to, even though tickets there cost a bit more, because they have great sound, they don’t play commercials, they do cool indie stuff, and they have good food and beer. And 50 Shades of Grey was playing on two screens. Hordes of people were there to see 50 Shades of Grey. It wasn’t the usual crowd I see when I go to that movie theatre. Since no one I know who actually engages in what I would consider BDSM play (I’m talking beyond vanilla people who use handcuffs or play at spanking once in a while) would go to see this movie, I kept looking at all of these vanilla people wondering why the fuck they were going to see this movie. Because if you’re not kinky, what’s in it for you? What is tantalizing or appealing about it? The nudity? The excessive display of wealth? And if you are kinky, aren’t you just cringing the entire time at how wrong it is? Because according to everything I’d heard about it, E.L. James knows jack about kink. But still, I thought, “ok, when this movie shows up on HBO or Showtime, and I don’t have to pay to see it, I’ll watch it.”

And then I saw THIS and THIS. (And mad thanks to the amazing Laci Green for reading and parsing it for me, because now I don’t have to.) But after watching those, I no longer had any interest in supporting this book/movie/enterprise.

And then #AskELJames happened on Twitter, and I couldn’t avert my eyes. Some of my faves:

“AskELJames, How much money does a partner need to earn for them to be ‘romantic’ instead of abusive? Asking for a friend.”

“AskELJames I have a lot of respect for you actually, you’ve proven that you can succeed without having any talent. It’s remarkable.”

“AskELJames
what do you hate more?
a) good literature
b) consent
c) women
d) healthy relationships
e) all of the above”

There’s a part of me that thinks, hey, she was just writing some fanfic! It’s fantasy. I’ve sure as hell read some erotica that blurred the lines of consent. Do we have to pick on her so much? Did she have any idea that it would get this big?

But then I stumbled upon some actual quotes from the book. Let me give some credit here. Here are some from Digital Spy that are horrible or creepy or both. Then there are the remixed posters from the sixth siren that really bring the abuse home.

So. Yeah. I’m going to stick to my original plan and eschew everything popular. Excuse me, I need to go stand in the shower.

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