50 shades of trouble
February 6, 2015 1 Comment
I have read nothing by E. L. James. Not a line of 50 Shades of Grey, or its sequels, nor anything else by this author. However, on this occasion I am not going to allow ignorance to stymie me from venturing an opinion.
Of course I have heard about it. Almost all opinion coming from women who, in my admittedly limited experience, appear to form the overwhelming majority of the book’s readership. The impression I am left with is that it is boring. This is little enough incentive to this lover of books; add in the subject matter and my continued avoidance is almost guaranteed. However, rather like the cat, my curiosity invariably trumps all.
It is a book about sex. Sex, and domination. Oh, and money. And a fine honed athletic male physique. Written by a woman. I have been told it is also juvenile, and debauched.
I have not tackled erotica. Not even D. H. Lawrence or Vladimir Nabokov. Well, not Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Lolita, anyway.
From what I have gathered though it is pretty clear that 50 Shades of Grey deals with a pretty dark subject. In of itself that is fine – I read a fair bit of crime fiction and this can be quite disturbing. What is different here, though, is that the male protagonist is becoming a hero, an ideal, almost a role model. In the novel he is abusive, and I wonder how this can be positive.
I know little about BDSM. My view has always been that what two consenting adults do is none of my business. The key word is consent; and this is where it gets troubling.
I have to defer to those who know their stuff: 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse pretty much self-describes itself – it is no fan page.
I would never want the novels banned, but I do wonder whether those who are chasing quick and easy big bucks have examined what they are selling – commercialising abusive behaviour cannot be acceptable, even to the most libertarian of souls.
At the risk of a terrible pun, very little in this world is black and white. However, woman all over do suffer, and if these novels at all trivialise or normalise that then it is very wrong.