#50Dollarsnot50Shades: Porn From The Wrong Place

0


Erotic literature is a fantastic invention. It’s porn for people who dislike the crudity that can occur in online videos. It’s a method of harmless, legal, public activity for those who enjoy exhibitionism. It empowers the reader by letting them bring their own detail to the novel, you get to imagine the characters yourself, put yourself in their place, enjoy your personal brand of kink within the sanctity of your own imagination guided only by words.

50 Shades of Grey is not Erotic. Actually, it’s not even literature. Trying to get off to it, is like masturbating to the shipping forecast (no offence if you’re into that).

Quite literally, it’s fanfiction. For those of you who don’t know, 50 Shades was first posted as a Twilight fanfiction online – and it’s bad fanfiction at that. The grammar is poor, the dialogue is atrociously worded, the inner monologues are dreary and punctuated with, frankly, bizarre language devices. Seriously, if I ever thought to myself that the person I was about to sleep with was looking at me like “a mother hamster”, I’d get the hell out of there.

And now, we get to suffer through the atrocity of this book being brought to life on screen. At first glance sure, it’s highly scandalous, with handcuffs and blindfolds all over the place. But when you really get down to it, anyone with a non-repressed sex life is going to be bored in five seconds. 50 Shades has all the common hallmarks of someone who has never actually experienced any of these acts themselves, but is instead mimicking other works of erotica and attempting to pass off her imaginary sex life as perfectly plausible. For a story that’s supposed to be wildly kinky, it’s actually quite vanilla. Most of the sex scenes reek of Cosmopolitan sex tips or teen rumours posted anonymously on Yahoo Answers. I feel quite sorry for E. L. James, as her writing suggests she has an incredibly boring sex life – although this sympathy does not mean she can get away with trying to ruin sex for other people. There are definitely better novels out there; actual kink that’ll get you off without all the abuse that’s prevalent in this work. I can recommend a long list of titles on demand.

More importantly, 50 Shades is not about BDSM in any way, shape, or form. BDSM does not include ignoring consent, disregarding safewords, or being madly jealous and obsessive. Rather, Christian Grey possesses no characteristics of a decent human who enjoys BDSM, but all the characteristics of an abuser. Real men and women in relationships like the one that so many readers are now declaring they want, are in danger. Gaslighting, sexual abuse, domestic violence, are all real problems that people suffer everyday and are trying to escape. A rape fantasy –  if that’s what you’re into – like any sexual activity, is fine if you have appropriate precautions and a partner who respects them. Real life rape in a relationship is absolutely not: consent is a basic human right. If I said no and tried to kick someone off me and they ignored me and carried on, I would be down the police station in an instant. We should not be normalising sexual abuse or blurring the lines of consent when it is already such a needlessly complex issue. Younger readers should not be put in the position where popular fiction (and the media flurry than accompanies it), teaches them that feeling scared or uncomfortable, or not being listened to when they say no, is normal.

It’’s a crying shame that 50 Shades is so hilariously bad on every level, especially as I would argue that we need to start talking about sex more, and not just the perfunctory, yet sub-standard safety talks we receive teenagers. We need to start talking about what feels good to every individual, about what’s safe, about what consent really is, and what it isn’t. It would be fabulous for a popular work to come out that explores sexuality boldly and unashamedly. Unfortunately we got one that explores abuse and calls it romance. We are experiencing a work of fiction that is normalising bad sex and awful ethics.

A protagonist who isn’t completely wet (pun not intended), who explores their sexual desires in a confident, empowering way, makes for a stronger, more educational story. In contrast, Anastasia Steel has the self esteem of a moth, the personality of an ironing board, and the imagination of a corpse. Anastasia’s low self-esteem is not something to aspire to, and fake low self-esteem is a bizarre trait akin to pretending to be stupid or boring. Imagine if some of the more badass female protagonists were to star in a (better written!) 50 Shades-esque novel. Characters like Katniss Everdeen or Hermione Granger, who have the confidence to ask for what they want, and who would recognise when their partner is a rapist masquerading as a romantic lead. Characters that will demand an open and honest conversation about sex instead of just saying “oh my” and lying back. Characters that would in turn have a far more fulfilling sex life than any of the characters in 50 shades, or anyone who attempts to reenact it.

The hashtag #50dollarsnot50shades is trying to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of the novel’s portrayal of a sexual relationship. It suggests you take the money that you would spend seeing 50 Shades in the cinema and donate it to a domestic violence shelter. Better yet, donate half and use the rest to buy yourself a really sexy, properly erotic book from Amazon. Don’t let E. L. James spoil sex for you as well as spitting on everyone who’s ever experienced abuse. There is a lot wrong with 50 Shades and we can only hope that the themes it explores don’t do any lasting damage to the psyche of its audience.

More articles in 21st Century Feminist
  1. Fleshing Out the Bones of Society
  2. Finally, A Car Made For Me, A Woman!
  3. The Telegraph Just Tried To Disguise Islamophobia With Feminism
  4. Does International Women’s Day Benefit Feminism?
  5. White Feminism : The Lack of Intersectionality Within Mainstream Feminism
  6. What I Talk About When I Talk About Men’s Feminism
  7. The ‘HeForShe’ Campaign: One Year On
  8. When Will the Media Treat Women With Respect?
  9. Vaginal Piercings to be Classified as a Form of Female Genital Mutilation
  10. Easy Ways To Take Feminist Action
  11. #50Dollarsnot50Shades: Porn From The Wrong Place
  12. Feminism Doesn’t Need A Rebrand
  13. Students Must Stand Up to Sexual Assault
  14. What does ‘Body Positivity’ really mean?
  15. Have You Seen Her? Where Are Women Going after University?
  16. Please, Don’t Mention the War
  17. I Clean, Therefore I Am
  18. 2014: The year of the feminist?
  19. Don’t ‘man up’, man your language
  20. White Feminism: Time to Ditch Our Prejudice When Faced With Our Privilege
  21. Rape Culture: Summed Up by Somebody Who Actually Has a Decent Insight into the Matter
  22. This Writer Believes That Sex Work Should Be Accepted by Society
  23. But What About The Men?
  24. Private: Breaking Barriers: Women In The LGBT Community
  25. Opposition to Religion on a Feminist Basis – An Old, Tired and Plain Bad Joke
  26. Losing the Lads’ Mags – Are we really losing our sexual liberation?
  27. The Sexist Sell
  28. Private: Coming Out of the Feminist Closet
  29. The Other Side of Feminism
  30. A Journey With Feminism And Depression
  31. Gender Wars – The Internet’s Front Line
  32. Coming out of the Feminist Closet
  33. Meninist…Feminist – Can’t We All Just Agree On Equality?
  34. What Would Quasimodo Say?
  35. ‘Yes Means Yes’ – A Change For Good?
  36. Delhi Gang Rapists: Victims of the Patriarchy?
  37. The One, or One of Many?
  38. The Anti-Misogyny Twitter Bot You Didn’t Know You Wanted Is Here
  39. The Internet Is For Porn
  40. End the Deforestation of the Female Rainforest
  41. Private: Let’s Stop Selfie Shaming
  42. ISIS Sex Slavery: Is Sexual Violence a Necessary Precondition of Conflict?
  43. Celebrities Like Taylor Swift Have Turned Feminism Into A Gimmick
  44. In Defence of 21st Century Feminism
avatar

Leave A Reply