I have read Fifty Shades of Grey ( book one) because I was curious and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. My daughter was reading it and I wanted to engage with her over the book’s content given the known material within it. I skimmed through the book at first and became very concerned very quickly. Here was a book portraying a young women clearly with low self-esteem with emotional issues embarking upon her first sexual relationship. It wasn’t the graphic content that shocked me, it was two things. The lesser being 1) That it depicted experiencing multiple orgasms all in one session could be so easy, that everyone clearly will know how to do it and if you can’t then you might think you have a problem. ( About 9/10 women do not experience orgasms through penetrative sex alone, so I have read).( A side remark: no mention of the fact either that having sex that many times so frequently in one day would probably lead you to, at the very least, thrush and an urinary infection). But like one friend said to me when I mentioned that, she laughed:
” Well, they are still lucky buggers aren’t they .”
We both laughed, so we can see a funny side of it too. However, the other more serious connotation of this novel is, 2) it’s clearly about an abuse relationship, hyped up with a BDSM topic. People either love or hate Mr Grey. I loath him, seriously would you really want to see your own daughter go out with such a control-freak? The appalling writing style,- mention of the “Inner goddess” bit incessantly and all the other slang words, did- my- head- in, could be forgiven if the message of the book was clear: stay away from this type of relationship. It didn’t, it glamorize it and that I can’t forgive her for. Anyway, I won’t write further about my viewpoint as this blog is not really about that. It is written to show a letter concerning an answer I received from a women’s group committed to protecting women against domestic violence. They work with the victims and see plenty of real My Greys’, his personality type, how abuse starts and where it ends. The happy after story line of they get married, have a baby in the later part of the Trilogy ( Sorry, If I have spoilt it but this is important) and he is a changed man doesn’t happen in real life for the most part. You see the problem with Fifty Shades of Grey, as a story, is that some people will see this as for real. Remember the Mo story in Eastenders. The domestic violence run where the woman murdered her violent and abusive partner. The actor who was the perpetrator had women coming up to him in the street shouting:
“Leave Mo alone your bastard.”
Stories can become real for some. More people watched Des, Angie and the divorce papers on Christmas day being handed out in Eastenders, in some other story line, than the funeral of Princess Diana.
The Wearside Women in Need wrote an excellent article in The Daily Telegraph condemning 50 Shades. I wrote to defend them and this was their reply. Paragraph three is particularly interesting. I had not thought of that angle at all.
” Hello …..
Thank you for your message of support.
We have, as you can imagine, been snowed under with both positive and negative responses to the campaign but what has really struck us is (a) how many women have wanted to speak out against this trilogy and (b) how hard this has been for them to do on an individual basis.
Here at the campaign we believe that every recent generation of women has had to contend with the publication of at least one book, film or other ‘literary endeavour’ that seeks to both legitimate patriarchy and to undermine the social, political and economic gains of women.
The fact that this book has been written by a woman, and is largely being read by women, does not undermine this analysis – indeed, if anything it serves to highlight how contemporary women, faced with attacks on their employment, on the services that they have developed, used and run and on the goal of gender equality in all policy areas, are starting to seek refuge (both literally and in their reading material) in the fantasy of male control and male protection.
That this will lead to violence and abuse for some, and to the loss of autonomy for many more, is incredibly sad and something we must all fight against. Hence our campaign.
So thank you, again, for writing to us. Your support is appreciated.
The 50 Shades of Abuse Campaign.”
Wearside Women in Need are calling for a burning of the books on bonfire night. A bit extreme you might say but the feelings are clearly running high for some. I wonder what E.L. James thinks to that idea. The money she has made with record-breaking sales, she no doubt doesn’t care much about anyone’s opinion. However, I am glad it is not me in that situation, even if a lot of money would come in very handy for my charity work.
I am no way criticising anyone for reading the book, nor for personally loving it and wanting to read the whole series. All I am saying is, that is going to be interesting to see in the future if 50 Shades could be measured as to whether an increase in abusive relationships has occurred say over a three-five year time frame. It would be worth while to conduct a piece of mixed research( both quantitative and qualitative) so we could truly understand what effect this type of book does have on real people’s lives.Meanwhile, in the short-term we know that Anna Summers has a Fifty Shades of Grey section, that sex toys sales have gone up by 130%, that the nations bedrooms are being revolutionised- so we are told, and a lot of women just seems to love Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s hope for most people they are just enjoying great sex. The baby boom will no doubt hit us in about six to nine Months time:):) Midwives will be at least be more busy and stretched than ever.
( PS: My daughter loved 50 Shades, could see my point and agreed, then went on to read the other two books, stating book two was slow but book three was the best with more of a plot to it).