Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

Everybody's talking about it, so I'll just jump the bandwagon and talk about it too. Fifty Shades of Grey: Twilight fanfic, mommy porn (what) and, apparently, bestseller.

First of all, I haven't read it, and my research is mostly looking it up on the internet (oh, and that one newspaper article I'll talk about in detail later on). So bear with me, correct me if I got something wrong and remember the name of this blog. Also:

This post may contain spoilers and traces of nuts.

Now that that's said, I don't like this book. Yes, you can not like something, even if you haven't read it. And here are my reasons, not necessarily complete:

The fanfic is strong in this one

Wait. Put down the foul tomatoes. I don't resent fanfic. Heck, I read fanfic myself, and even try to write some from time to time. It's just that, in a place where everyone can publish their writing, the quality is going to be all over the place. It ranges from "better than canon" to "what is this I don't even." Fifty Shades gets closer to the latter. I've seen part of the original work, called Master of the Universe back then. The male lead's Edward Sparklepire, the female one's everyone's favorite Bella. I'm not going to comment on how it sucks because it's Twilight fanfic, because it's not. It's one of these "in name only" fanfics that have abso-fricking-lutely nothing to do with the original material, except for the names. Kudos to James for recognizing that and making it an original work.

Fifty Shades of BDSM

Before you even think about picking up the foul tomatoes again: I don't have anything against BDSM. If you enjoy that stuff, have fun with it. Your kink is not my kink, you know?
What I dislike, however, is what I read about how it is handled in Fifty Shades. No matter what that article in the local newspaper said, I don't think it's handled all that well.
Christian Grey, formerly Edward Cullen, is into BDSM. First we are made to think that this is because he enjoys controlling everything. But then it turns out that it's because he has issues. What issues, I don't know, but from what I heard, it's some kind of parental/childhood trauma thing.
And this is where I'm getting annoyed. Because this is, from what I heard, one of these things that keep popping up about BDSM: People do it because they have issues. It's some dark twisted thing.
Wake up, ladies, gentlemen and starfish! BDSM has nothing to do with that. You don't need to have a childhood that would give Freud a boner to like it.
You know, there's three words that are important with BDSM: Safe, sane and consensual. What do you think that safewords are for?
As for Grey's and Ana(bella)'s BDSM thingie... again, I haven't read the book, so I just know about it from the internet. And from what I know, she basically goes into this, barely knowing what BDSM is (or relationships in general). Part of the thing is that she signs that contract, which says that she has to keep herself well-nourished and fit, and that she shouldn't make eye contact with him or touch him and... okay, this is getting silly. You could say yeah, maybe he likes that whole forced distance thing? Maybe she likes it? Nope, he just doesn't like being touched because of his aforementioned issues. Ana, however... I don't know, but I remember reading about how she doesn't like it that way. Uhm, that's not how it works. If she doesn't like it, she doesn't like it. And that not in a "I don't like how I can't have the forbidden fruit" way. Oh, and then there's the NDA. Yep. Apparently, he has her sign a non-disclosure agreement. You know, these things that Coca Cola workers and Blizzard beta testers sign.
Again, I'm saying that I'm not that educated about BDSM, but to me it seems like it's about trust. If you have your rear end spanked, you'd better trust your spanker enough to stop when it gets too rough. Safewords, remember? And just how much does Grey trust Ana if he lets her sign an NDA to keep his lifestyle secret?

Ana needs an adult!

Grey then says, "I am an adult." Dragonball Abridged references aside, yes. That's what it feels like. Ana is hopelessly naive. She managed to get through college without having sex, getting drunk, or even owning a laptop. Then comes that guy a few years her senior and she instantly fawns over him. Even though he dumped enough hints about how he liked controlling people (she notices that). Then he drops by the hardware store she works at and buys some obvious BDSM materials. And he innuendos her. Seriously, that's creepy.
To the girls out there: If a guy creeps you out, get the fuck away. Same goes for guys who are massive douchebags. Forget what romance novels tell you, you don't have magical personality change powers of love. If someone's a douchebag/creep, they'll stay that way, no matter how much you shower them with your precious looove. They'll try to suppress their douchebaggery/creepiness, but it'll always be there.
And that's the vibe I'm getting from this. Ana tries to, for the lack of a better word, cure him from his issues. That's not how it works.

Another thing: I'm perfectly aware of how awesome it is that porn marketed at women isn't hidden away like we do it with porn. Just stop giving this thing actual literary merit. It's still "soft porn for women." Don't try to turn it into the next [insert your favorite great literary work here].

Now you can throw your tomatoes. Come on, I know you want to.