So far I have resisted weighing in on this subject. The main reason is a good one: I have never read the book nor seen the film. What’s more I never intend too.
When the book first came out, a friend of mine joked that maybe I should read it as it would help me find some ‘joy’ as a single parent. Not one to instantly reject any form of joy, I went along to see what all the fuss was about. I read the back cover and my reaction…
This is a book about domestic violence.
I have lived the life and I certainly don’t want to read the book.
When I mentioned this to people I got the ‘poor dear is still broken and can’t appreciate a book on erotica’ response.
So, let me dispel this myth: I have, in my time, enjoyed a few books on erotica. There was even the time I was reading on a train back to London from Manchester, when I looked up and the girl opposite was reading the same book. We gave each other a little smile and carried on reading. Thinking about it now just makes me realise how much I miss London, not the erotica.
Fifty Shades as psychological thriller
I also, despite my turbulent (sorry love that word, just had to fit it in) past, really enjoy a good psychological thriller, which in my opinion is what Fifty Shades of Grey is. I love working out how the twisted plot will flow and when the victim will see that their mind is being played with and that what they are perceiving as love is actually a form of torture.
What bothers me about Fifty Shades of Grey is that it is marketed as a love story. I have lived this particular brand of ‘love story’ and felt that I (and only I) could save him, if only I could endure the pain and humiliation. I blamed myself when I couldn’t!
Fifty Shades of Grey would be a good title if indeed it was marketed as a thriller, because that is exactly what it feels like to be in a relationship like that.
You have to know and understand every shade and how to react to it; or accept the consequences. Trust me: how ever good the sex, this is not a love story any human being can thrive in. Survive maybe, but only maybe.
Impact on the younger generation
The message being sent to a generation of young men is that if you have money and you are mean and cruel, that you are romantic.
Obviously I am no expert on this book, having not read it, or the film having not seen it. I have absolutely no intention of doing either. What I have done though is read many articles on how Fifty Shades of Grey promotes domestic violence and why this film is so detrimental to our girls. I have a daughter — I get it. I am glad that she is young enough that the whole thing is going over her head. Our girls deserve better than to have this served up as a modern day romance. As a survivor, trust me, I get it.
But I am also a mother of a son. What is this movie saying to our boys? This is a film of a book written by a woman for women. It is being branded as a love story. The message being sent to a generation of young men is that if you have money and you are mean and cruel, that you are romantic. If you have had a bad childhood, find some girl who you can take it out on and expect her to fix you.
Kindness is sexy
So for Valentine’s I ignored the hype and now send out a word of praise to all you real men out there. You know, the ones who are kind and attentive. Those who seek to lift the women they love up. Because let’s not forget: kindness is damned sexy!!