Don’t worry, I’m not about to rehash all the reasons Fifty Shades of Grey reads like a manual for abusers – that’s been done thousands of times over.
I’m not about to shame every person I know who read the books, saw the movie, and enjoyed them. It’s just dumb to lose a bunch of friends over a series of poorly written literature (at least most everyone who’s read the series is unanimously agreed on that). This post isn’t for you.
I want to say something to the people who love the series, saw the movie, and have told me that I’m being whiny, oversensitive, and need a tougher backbone for being “offended” by this story. This post is for you.
Let me clarify one thing: I’m offended by the hideousness of Ugg boots and sentences that end with prepositions. To be “offended” is to find moderate distaste in something, but I don’t consider it personal (maybe that’s just me). I’m not “offended” by FSOG, I’m triggered by it; there is a difference.
What was my biggest error before writing out my thoughts and hitting the ‘send’ button: having a negative opinion on something many people love? Not being able to finish the first book because what I read gave me heart palpitations?
I’ve seen rebuttals that basically amount to “It’s just a story/fantasy! Don’t tell me what I can and cannot read! Stop being such a prude!” Here’s the thing, though: I never once called for banning or censoring this series. I’m a writer too; I know better than to ask that. But I did ask that people reread the series with a different set of eyes.
Considering the vast number of people who believe there’s unpunished, glorified abuse lurking in these pages, and considering that many who practice BDSM are saying the book’s portrayal is outright dangerous, these people deserve to be listened to. You don’t have to agree with them. The act of listening doesn’t require much, though sometimes trying to open a mental parachute so it stays open can be challenging. I know – I try to do this every time I log on to the Internet, and sometimes it’s freaking hard. Do it anyway.
I’ve had many “agree to disagree” discussions this week with close friends who surprised me with their view on Christian Grey. Okay, well, at least they listened to me, understood why I feel the way I do, and told me it’s okay. I treasure those people.
To those who heard my thoughts and retorted with the “Don’t like it? Don’t read it!” line anyway, all I have to say is this: you really disappointed me. I don’t know if I still consider you safe for me to open up to in the future if this is how you react now to a storyline that affects me personally. I don’t where we’ll go from here.
It should be obvious to anyone with eyes that FSOG is no longer “just a story.” It’s a cultural phenomenon. The moniker “Fifty Shades” is being used to market everything from perfume to wine to pizza, and the popularity has spawned hundreds of copycat novels. Like it or not, pop culture affects our perceptions of reality. We all know this, right? “It’s just a story” is no longer an acceptable rebuttal. It’s clearly way more than that, and the consequences for people who are triggered by it can be tragic: debilitating flashbacks (have you ever tried to function at work after having one of these?), panic attacks, anxiety, increased depression…
All I’m asking of you, FSOG fans, is that you be sensitive about it. That’s all.