It is no secret that these books are horrible. They’re trashy, they’re not horribly entertaining, and they give women an unrealistic expectation of what a relationship should look like. They’re poorly written and I could do better in a vegetative state, which is really saying something.
But they’re fiction. They have no basis in reality, and anyone with half a brain will tell you the relationships portrayed in this book are incredibly unhealthy. It should be obvious to people that those relationships are incredibly dysfunctional at the least, downright abusive at worst. If Christian Grey wasn’t a ridiculously hot billionaire, none of these books would have even existed because no one would read them. It’s because the main character is hot and rich that he even gets away with half the shit he does in those books. If you seriously believe that the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey is anywhere CLOSE to normal, please get into therapy immediately, and avoid romantic relationships at all costs until you understand just exactly why the relationship between these two is incredibly fucked up. I say that with all seriousness and sincerity, you need help if you think that relationship is anywhere close to okay.
The rest of this post isn’t really for you, but feel free to keep reading, just understand that I am writing this post with the mindset that the relationship between Ana and Christian is incredibly dysfunctional at best.
As bad as the books (and the movie based on the first book) are, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read them. I’ve lost count, and I’ll more than likely read them again. I find them mildly entertaining, and lets be honest, some of the scenes in the book are incredibly smut-like. These books are my generation’s trashy romance novels. I don’t dream about Joe treating me the way Christian treats Ana in the books, not even close. If he even thought about it, I’d be filing for divorce and getting a restraining order. But if I’m being honest, the sex scenes are hot. Like really hot. Not realistic, mind you, and I’d probably end up in the hospital if I tried some of the things they do, but I won’t lie and say those scenes don’t get me going whenever I read them. I’m not a huge fan of watching porn (really does nothing for me), but reading porn is a whole other story.
That is beside the point though. I’d like to take a minute to tackle the people who think the books condone or otherwise encourage women (and men!) to enter into abusive relationships. I’d like you to remember one thing:
THEY ARE FICTION. They’re not real, E.L James originally wrote them as fanfic for fucking Twilight. They have no basis in reality, and the only reason they are even mildly successful is because Christian Grey is rich as fuck and good looking to boot. If he was an overweight janitor who lived at home with his mom, no one would read them. And the majority of people reading them realize they are (poorly written) fiction. Anyone who doesn’t realize that has no business reading those books. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t let my teen daughter read them without a TON of discussion about why no one should ever treat her that way first, and even then, I would be hesitant to let her near them. It’s called TALKING to your kids. Novel idea, I know. /sarcasm, for those who don’t speak it fluently.
Of course there are people who would just let their kid read the books. You know what we call them? Bad parents. You know what we call people that think these books are a reflection of how a real relationship works? Delusional and in need of psychiatric intervention. The answer isn’t to pull these books off the shelves or otherwise censor them. You may not like them. You don’t have to read them. But you damn sure don’t get to tell me what I can and cannot read or what a fiction author can or cannot write. Last time I checked, I still had the right to read whatever the fuck I want to, and I’ll be damned if some social justice warrior with a stick up her ass is going to tell me I’m a horrible human being for reading a god damned BOOK. A FICTION BOOK nonetheless.
I know this is an old topic, but it points to a larger problem with our society that seems to have taken off in the last decade or so. I don’t think people like this didn’t exist before the last decade, I think they’ve just gotten much more vocal, and in my opinion, a million times more annoying, and at times, down right dangerous and delusional with the direction their actions are taking them. They’re the same people that think we need to re-write our history books to make them less offensive and “triggering” to certain groups of people instead of facing the reality of what our ancestors did to other people. If we do not learn from our past, we are doomed to repeat it. How are we supposed to learn from our past if we never hear about the horrible things people did?
Look, I get it. Some people have suffered horrible atrocities, and their lives are forever changed as a result. Things that would otherwise be classified as normal topics of discussion are being hidden behind a “trigger warning,” limiting the frank and honest discussion of these topics to people brave enough to click on a link. By becoming so afraid of our own shadow that we can’t even talk about difficult issues without “triggering” someone, we’re doing ourselves a disservice and endangering our future generations. We should be empowering these people to talk about it when they are ready, not forever scaring them off by making it more difficult to talk about what happened to them. Horrible things happen to people when other people remain silent. How they are silenced doesn’t matter, its the silencing of their voice that matters. We should be making it easier for the victims of violence and abuse to come forward, not more difficult. While these things are painful to talk about, we help other people to avoid the same fate by making them realize we are all capable of falling victim to these atrocities and how to protect ourselves from people who would seek to do us harm.
I know I’m all over the map today. I’d like to go ahead and blame Aunt Flo for showing up two days early, but apparently I’m not allowed to do that /sarcasm. I really should just put a sarcasm disclaimer on this blog, I use it enough. Hmm.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is simple. People should be able to say what they want and write what they want without fear of being told they have no right to say it. Yes, people are allowed to disagree with what you say, and they have every right to call you out when they do. But we do ourselves an incredibly grave disservice by attempting to limit the discussion by throwing around words designed to shut down discussion. You don’t have to like what someone says, but that doesn’t mean you get to silence them.