Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I Almost (but didn't) Read "50 Shades of Grey"

Ok, here's the thing about this post: it is not meant to judge anyone who has read the book or will read the book. Just a collection of thoughts on it.

A lot of people I know have read it. It's become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. I was curious. I've heard it's terribly written and that it's utter trash. So why does everyone keep reading it? Surely there has to be something interesting about it. So, I even went so far as to put the Kindle version of the book in my cart and download it. In fact, I thought I had downloaded it, but it turned out I didn't actually click the button. I knew going into it that this book was not your everyday Harlequin Romance; that it was a bit more than that. After a good friend of mine asked an important question, I decided I would opt out of reading it. That question she asked was, "Why on earth would you subject yourself to that?" That's a very good question.

As a woman, why would I subject myself to that? The book is about a young, virginal, niave, and inexperienced girl who enters into a contract to essentially be a sex slave to a much older, very rich man. He essentially emotionally (and I think sometimes even physically) abuses her. I've read many reviews of the book and I noticed three things. First, the book doesn't seem to actually have any sort of love or commitment (aside from this alleged contract). I am of the opinion that any contract like this is unhealthy (even though I know some people in that lifestyle would vehemently disagree with me; but that's my opinion on it), but it is especially unhealthy when there is no underlying trust or love present. Second, why does the main character see this as OK? Why do readers see this as a grand romantic gesture? This is the same issue I have with Twilight: Edward is manipulative and creepy (watching Bella sleep? weird. Having to restrain himself from draining her whole body of blood? very creepy.) but it's seen as completely normal behavior. Ladies, if a man is actually like that in any way shape or form... that should be a HUGE RED FLAG. A great relationship does not start with one or the other part of the couple having control of the other person.

As a Christian and as a wife, why would I subject myself to that? Erotica is the same thing as pornography. This book, and tons and tons of other books, movies, and television shows, make sex into something very cheap. It's just something people do; sometimes without even any commitment or intention of loving the other person. I believe that is a gross misuse of sexuality. I believe God intended sexuality to be expressed between a husband and a wife, joyfully and without baggage. Pornography and erotica, in my opinion, simply invite outside thoughts, addictions, and images into your bedroom. That doesn't allow for sexuality in marriage to thrive or be exclusive or bring glory to the Creator of sexuality. Marriage should be protected at all costs, and a big part of that is guarding your sexuality. One of the vows I made to my husband was to "keep myself for you only". That includes what I put into my mind.

I'm just really curious as to why this has become such a cultural phenomenon? Why are women everywhere so interested in this? 

Again, if you chose to read the book I do not think less of you or think you're somehow a terrible person. I'm just sharing where my heart is on the matter, that's all. :)

1 comment:

Katie Rose said...

Your blog on Fifty Shades is interesting; you have a few points that I do agree with. However, I have read the book, and there are a few things that you are inaccurate on. First of all, Christian is not much older than Ana. Both are in their 20s. Second, it IS a love story in that both characters do fall in love with each other and have actual romantic feelings towards each other, as well as sexual ones. In fact, they do get married in another book in the trilogy. Third, there never actually is a contract between Christian and Ana. It's more of something they agree to try to see if she is comfortable with it, which she very much is. I can understand your points about it being sketchy and even abusive, however, it is important to note that about every other paragraph in the book, Christian tells Ana that it's her choice and she can leave freely at any point. That is the true key in why this book is liked by everyone from feminists to housewives, and even religious figures. Ana always has a choice and Christian always plays by what are ultimately her rules. She even proves this by leaving at the end of the first book. As to how it's written, I actually didn't have a problem with it, and I'm a pretty tough critic (comes with being an English teacher). Obviously, newer printed edition of the book are going to be better edited than the original private publishing, but James' style was easy to read and understand; it went well with the tone of the book.

I understand and respect your views, I just wanted to throw my bit in. :) Also - I totally agree with you about Twilight.