In 2011 E.L. James wrote a little book called Fifty Shades of Grey, and that shit took the world by storm. The movie comes out on Friday (just in time for Valentine's Day, y'all!) so I wanted to share my thoughts about it.
Full disclosure: I didn't actually read the entire thing. I tried to, but I got to the part where Christian tries to make Anastasia sign a contract for being his sexual partner and I was like "this is the dumbest shit that I have ever read" and I put down the book. But I still wanted to find these super hot sex scenes that everyone was talking about (the one where he took her virginity was not hot, but I'll get back to that in a minute) so I picked it back up and just skipped to all them sexy bits. You know what I learned from my attempts to read this erotic little nugget?
THIS IS THE WORST BOOK IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.
Seriously, what is this shit?!? How did this even become popular?! I don't understand it. From what I can tell, it is very popular with the middle-aged wives demographic. Now I understand that if you've been married for a long time and have had a bunch of kids, your sex life might be tore up from the floor up and you need to find other ways to get your rocks off, but why would you pick this garbage?!?! There are a shitload of reasons as to why I think this book is dumb, but I picked two of them to really focus on. Read, get set, GO!
1. THE WRITING IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE
Whoever it was that told E.L. James that she was a good writer deserves a swift kick to the face. If I had to guess, I would say that Anastasia Steels gasps about 790 times, bites her lip 900 times, and her inner goddess does every single style of dance known to man. Even the sex scenes are so poorly written that its a fucking joke. I don't understand how anybody can get turned on by this nonsense. Here are some of my favorite examples:
Anastasia gives Christian a blow job:
"He's my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle. I suck harder and harder....my inner goddess is doing the Merengue with some salsa moves". (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Christian's considerable length:
"Suddenly, he sits up and tugs my panties off and and throws them on the floor. Pulling off his boxer briefs, his erection springs free. Holy cow!...He kneels up and pulls a condom onto his considerable length. Oh no...Will it? How?" (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Oof. Be still my beating heart. I need to take a cold shower. HAHA JUST KIDDING. Who thinks this stuff is hot?! All I can picture is E.L. sitting in front of her computer with a glass of wine being like "hottest way to describe a blow job? HUMAN POPSICLE. Best phrase to describe the shock of realizing the guy you're about to sleep with has a huge dick? HOLY COW." Then she sips her wine and congratulates herself on being the smutty voice of a generation. Has she ever actually had sex before? Considering this nonsense started as Twilight fan-fiction (not even kidding), I don't think that she has. Pretty sure she watched Secretary and was like "oh......so that's how that works".
Oh and a bunch of other stuff in the book is absolute bullshit. Like Anastasia never having an email address or owning a laptop? Bitch you majored in journalism. How the fuck did you get through college with no email address?! Did your professors send you letters? That's not a real thing, E.L. James. You are stupid.
2. THIS IS A SUPER TOXIC AND ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
All jokes aside, this is what truly kills me when it comes to this book. Shame on E.L. James for making people think a crazy and abusive man is their dream guy, and for making people think that any of the stuff he does is OK in a normal and healthy relationship. I am 100% serious when I say that I don't understand why people are in any way attracted to Christian Grey. "But Hannah! He's so hot and he doesn't let anything get in the way of how much he wants Anastasia! He knows exactly what he wants and he goes for it! That's so sexy!" Uhhhhh no. Definitely not the way he goes about it. For starters, he stalks her. CHRISTIAN GREY IS A STALKER. He shows up at her work, knows where she lives without her telling him and admits to tracing her phone so he could figure out what bar she's at when she calls him drunk. Excuse me, what now? That shit is not sexy, its a fucking crime. You tracing my phone doesn't make me want to have sex with you, it makes me want to file a restraining order against you.
Somehow Anastasia moves past the stalking and gets into the world's most one-sided relationship with Mr. Grey, and that's where the real fun starts. Our girl Ana loses the big V to Christian, and all it does is prove how big of an ass wipe he is. Any girl who is sexually active can back me up on this: losing your virginity is not great. Its awkward and it hurts. Someone as sexually experienced as Christian Grey should know that, right? He should know that if he's having sex with someone who is completely inexperienced that he should be sweet and gentle, right? NOPE. He knows that he can't have his crazy kink sex with a virgin, so he uses the first time as the means to an end. The book literally describes it as him "ripping through her virginity". Ew. And more importantly, RUDE. Sex should be about the pleasure and comfort of both people participating, not just one. That brings me to the next point.
BDSM is obviously a huge part of the book. There are people in the world who are into some kinky shit, and that's fine. But you know what the number one rule of the BDSM community is? EVERYONE HAS TO GIVE CONSENT, AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO FEEL SAFE. I guess that's technically two rules, but whatever. There's a part in the book where Christian and Anastasia are going at it and Ana starts to feel a little uncomfortable with the whole thing, so she uses her safe word so he'll stop. And does Christian Grey honor this because he's a respectful partner who is worried about the safety and comfort of a woman he claims to love? NO HE DOES NOT. He keeps right on going, and then afterwards says that he knew that if he kept going that Anastasia would learn to enjoy it, because he knows her body better than she does. FUCK THAT. FUCK THAT. FUCK THAT. You guys seriously think that's hot?!?!? As soon as he ignored that safe word it became sexual assault because she was no longer consenting to what was happening. You know what's sexy? Consent. You know what's not sexy? Sexual assault. You ready for another quote from this cluster fuck?
" 'No' I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. 'If you struggle, I'll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you". (Fifty Shades of Grey)
WHAT. Don't get me wrong, it can be really hot when a guy gets a little dominant in bed. But there is a fine line between dominant and rapey. Actually, there's not a fine line. There is a gigantic line that is drawn in one of those space pens that never comes out of anything. That line is where you stop when someone says no. As soon as you cross that line, it becomes assault. Oh but wait, that threat is suuuuuper hot. I sure hope I find someone as romantic as Christian Grey.
Not only is Mr. Grey getting all nice and sexual assault-y, he also has a casual little surge of actual violence coursing through him. At one point Christian finds out that Anastasia had met up with her friend Jose, and he gets so mad that he threatens to actually slap her. Like not in a sexual way, just in a "I'm pissed off at you and if you had come over here yesterday I would have slapped the absolute shit out of you" kind of way. So sexy, excuse me while I go find a mop because I just melted into a giant puddle all over my floor. Except I didn't, because if the person who is supposed to love and treasure you above all else tells you that he would have been fine with causing you physical harm because he was angry and you know that he's fully capable of doing so, you need to get the fuck out of that situation. Seriously, you can come and stay at my house.
There are so many other examples of shit like this in the book, but I'm getting tired and angrier the longer that I write it, so I think I'm going to wrap it up. I'm not saying you should boycott the movie. I'm certainly not going to see it, but if that's something you want to do, then more power to you. But while you're watching it, I want you to think about something. Is this the kind of relationship that you want the young women in your lives to fantasize about and strive for?