So… it’s been announced that yet another 50 shades movie is coming out. 50 Shades Freed has had its first trailer released… which I will NOT be linking to because this tripe doesn’t need more exposure.
With that news, there were a slew of comments about 50 Shades… and most of them were not pretty…
Geesh… I’d heard that 50 Shades was bad, but this bad? I typically don’t read stuff like that because… well I’m not a masochist, unlike some of the characters, apparently.
However curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see what all the fanfare and… internet outrage was about. Now I’m suffering the consequences of having that book and the movie to follow burned into my brain.
All right, first of all, the answer to the subject should be obvious; no, of course 50 Shades is not the worst thing ever… but damn is it up there. So instead, I’ll qualify the opening statement by saying that you could argue it to be the worst thing to happen to literature in recent memory.
So, why is it so bad?
50 Shades was originally a Twilight fanfic… yeah, it was a fanfic of a book series that was already setting women and people who liked vampires back hundreds of years. However, this is another review for another time. So knowing that about Twilight, I think you can already see where I’m going with this. A fanfic of a bad series… becoming a bad series isn’t exactly a stretch.
I opened the book and began reading… the writing, sentence structure, and overall layout of the story was elementary at best. The use of symbolism and metaphor in the description of what the woman was going through during her… ‘scenes’ was completely cheesy and unbelievably difficult to get through without either laughing, or getting so irritated that I wanted to throw the book against the wall. Admittedly, I actually did this a few times.
So strike one against the book; bad writing.
So that’s bad, but is it enough to qualify it as the worst? Books are published all the time with horrible writing and content that quickly dull the senses. No, that couldn’t be it… so what else?
This intrigued me and in anticipation of writing this piece, I felt that I had to look into this claim a little more. Upon doing research into what an actual BDSM lifestyle is like… I was shocked.
From where I stand, this book looks like it was written by someone on the outside looking in. There is a fine line between a Dom/Sub relationship and abuse… admittedly this book walks a fine line on glorifying abuse. In a true dom/sub relationship, the idea that the dom holds all the power is actually a complete falsehood. In truth, the sub holds the power and willingly gives that power to their dom. That power is there’s to give and take away at any moment and the dom has absolutely no say in the matter.
50 Shades touches on this, but goes way off on the structure and support roles, and doesn’t really get into the psychology of such a relationship. It barely grazes the surface.
So strike two; Failure to properly represent BDSM, resulting in glorifying a relationship that borderlines on abuse.
So now we’ve got bad writing and glorifying an abusive relationship. Is that enough to put it in the top category? No… not really. Again, there are plenty of horrible books out there that accomplish this.
So what pushes this book over the top?
Well… let’s look at the book from a societal impact. If you were to google ’50 Shades of Grey Ruined my marriage’ you’d get one hell of a mess of articles, mostly by women, talking about how 50 Shades ‘awakened’ something within them, and how they ‘realized’ their partner wasn’t doing it for them anymore.
Let’s take a look at one of these articles, shall we?
(You’ll see very quickly why that’s an appropriate handle.)
“It’s a book that touches the very essence of us – its about our dreams, our desires and our expectations.”
Does it? Does it really? So your desire is for a man to tell you what do to, lie to you, abuse you, and get away with it because you’re weak-minded and he dotes on you with his small fortune? I think the feminist crowd is going to be coming after you with torches and pitchforks in short order.
She then goes on to explain how 50 Shades ruined her marriage…
“Because it woke me up to what I know exists and have never had in my marriage. It reinforced the feelings I have had for over 14 years – of being unfulfilled sexually. Of being the one who is ‘just not into it’
I guess I would be if it featured more than a grope of the boobs, a grab of the genitals and a I’m in exclamation! Then 1 minute later its over and he is snoring – slightly unsatisfying to say the least.
Now I know I have a responsibility to perhaps guide/ show him the way, but frankly when your life is so full of stress because you are expected to work to make up the shortfall, manage the kids, sort hospital appointments, play peacemaker, remember the lifelong medication streams and then make sure the rest of the house functions, showing someone how you’d like to be touched just doesn’t feature – in fact it’s annoying.”
Oh that’s lovely… typical First World these days it seems. You want something for nothing. You want your relationshipsto work, you want to feel fullfilled, but you don’t want to work at it. You’d rather just complain online about how your husband doesn’t fullfill you instead of… I don’t know… TALKING TO HIM!? Look I get it, marriage isn’t easy. There’s going to be anger, there’s going to pain, there’s going to be hurt feelings. That doesn’t mean it can’t work.
Marriage is tough and takes a lot of work… and I think that’s part of the reason so many fail. In this day and age, people aren’t willing to work for things.
Secondly, there is a joke going around the internet that I very much love… “What’s the difference between 50 Shades of Grey and Law and Order SVU? Christian is rich.”
Ask yourself, would the book be as big a hit if it took place in a trailer park? Probably not…
So that’s strike three; the societal impact has been overly negative and brought out the worst in people.
In the book’s defense, I wouldn’t say that you can really blame the book for destroying marriages, it could be a contributing factor, but I’d say that there are at least two other factors involved;
- There are already underlying issues in the marriage.
- People looking in the wrong place for resources about how to conduct a BDSM relationship.
After doing research into this, and judging by the comments on several of these articles, it seems that a lot of people finished reading this book and then flocked to social media sites such as Fetlife (again, not linking to it.) This has gotten them into trouble.
What I’ve seen d from the testimony of people who have experienced this is that fetlife is literally nothing more than a social media site for perverts and social degenerates. A few people who qualify themselves as people who actually live ‘the lifestyle’ have said that they are in the minority on sites like this. The sites are typically overrun with morally and ethically degenerate people who were never taught how to properly treat another person and are typically looking for a quick lay. The scary part is that there are apparently as many seniors acting this way as their are young adults. That is double disturbing as by that age, you should be a lot more mature.
As a result, these people who read 50 Shades, get the wrong idea about BDSM, and then go off and try these websites are often preyed upon by these people.
Look, I don’t care what you do in your spare time in the privacy of your own home. As long as its legal, as long as you’re alone or you’re with another consenting adult, and you’ve both done your research, have at it. However if you are interested in a dom/sub relationship or playing out different fantasies, do your research. Stay away from 50 Shades and Fetlife. There are plenty of legitimate articles and sexual counselors out there that can help and they’re not difficult to find.
Stay away from self-proclaimed experts and sketchy situations. You’re only going to put yourselves in danger and your relationships at risk.
So with all that said and done, is 50 Shades of Grey the worst thing to happen to the literary world in recent memory?
Honestly… given what I’ve posted above… yeah. I mean personal choice and ignorance really plays into it, but the mis-characterization of a BDSM relationship in this book and its affect cannot be ignored. The glaring cheesiness and poor writing make this book a hard read for any regular readers out there and next to impossible for casual readers.
But this is my own opinion. So let’s open it up to the readers. Please feel free to leave me a comment. Am I right on, do I have no idea what I’m talking about? Let me know!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
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Catch you on the flip side!