I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey from a friend of mine who lives in London. She didn’t even know the name of the book at the time, she just alluded to a phenomena:
There’s this book doing the rounds, and if people see you reading it on the tube, they do this face (raises eyebrows in a leery fashion)
Of course, I was intrigued. “What’s it called?” I demanded. “What’s it about?”
All she could tell me was that it had gained the same notoriety that she imagined was enjoyed by Lady Chatterley’s Lover, back in the day. Everybody knew what it was about and if you were reading it in public, then everyone knew you were a pervert.
Despite being filled with the desperation known only to those of us with a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), I was completely unable to lay my hands on a copy without knowing at the very least the title, author or story.
And I certainly wasn’t prepared to enter a branch of my local Waterstone’s and ask for ‘that notorious book for wretched and perverse women to read while wriggling about on public transport seats’, so I demanded she send me a copy once she’d procured one herself.
Sure enough, six weeks later, a Jiffy bag arrived in the mail with a shiny copy of EL James’ Fifty Shades. Having since read all three novels, I feel pretty confident to suggest that never before has such a furore been caused by such a badly written story.
I mean, I’m talking about books that could have been written better by a badger. A blind badger. A blind, baby badger. A dead, blind, baby badger… On drugs.
Why do you think that despite all of the rumours circulating about A list celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and Scarlet Johansen playing everyone’s favourite bondage pervs, in the end the roles were played by relatively unknown actors? It’s because anyone with even a trace of credibility wouldn’t want to put their names to a movie written by a dead, blind baby badger… On drugs.
The only reason this book made it to the big screen is because not since the early days of Mills & Boon has a book made so many women so ‘excited’. And this time, it’s not just sad, lonely, bored housewives, it’s career women, cool women, young women. In other words, women with money.
But you can’t deny the writing is appalling and the a storyline is a mere moustache hair away from ‘randy plumber fixes housewife’s creaky plumbing’.
So why has it caused such a stir? Ironically, because the themes of the movie have been interpreted in a very black and white fashion. Hundreds of feminist protesters showed en force at the movie’s premiere to share their view that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy glorifies domestic violence.
In response to the protests, lead lady, Dakota Johnson said of her character ‘Anastasia’:
She’s not a weak person; I don’t see her as a victim at all.
Sadly, the only thing this storm in a teacup media drama has proved is that EL James doesn’t really understand BDSM, and that Dakota Johnson should not be anyone’s mouthpiece when it comes to matters of domestic abuse. And here’s why:
Anyone who knows anything about domestic abuse will tell you that it doesn’t just happen to weak people, and by suggesting that the character she plays wouldn’t be subject to domestic abuse because she ‘isn’t weak’, Dakota is displaying a massive lack of understanding, and dishing out a huge slap in the face to millions of strong women who have found themselves victims of domestic abuse.
Dakota, I’d suggest applying one of those gags you seem so fond of. At least until you’ve gained a bit more appreciation of this sore subject.
And lastly, anyone who knows anything about BDSM will tell you that if Christian Grey were a real person, rather than being the dominant force, he’d be much more likely to get his kicks from donning an oversized nappy, and being forced to lick dog shit from the sharpened stiletto heel of a six foot German dominatrix called Mistress Sledgehammer.
And that’s a fact.