I am all for a bit of bump and grind; consensual sex with someone you love/fancy is wonderful. But, when sex becomes something you do to keep your man or prove your love, it is, as I have been led to believe, especially in these enlightened times, definitely time to evaluate what us women want. Great sentiment, but as the makers of Fifty Shades of Grey would have you think (as per the TV advertisement I saw over breakfast this morning) the lead female wants to be "intimidated".
That's not to say that I'm a prude, and by no means a bra burning feminist who is going to lecture about male privilege and all the other buzz words that seem to sell books and fill my twitter feed. I am a woman and this film/book makes me feel uncomfortable. And funnily enough the promoters of this book aka fat middle aged men, are convincing women that this book/film is what we need to spice up our sex lives.
Seemingly, the target audience, whom I believe are mostly middle aged women need a bit of ritualistic violence and manipulation in order to improve their sex life and get the spark back. Whilst at it pop on some cheap acrylic leopard print outfit that cuts in all the wrong places too and you've gone from House frump to Sex Diva. How about looking at the lump of lard next to you? Could he be the reason you've lost that spark? Why do women have to constantly be reminded that it's up to us to keep the flame burning?
And seemingly this formula is heralded as a romantic ideal!!
Many say the book has opened the door to the world of BDSM. And for those not familiar with this term it roughly stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism, but effectively is a catch all phrase for a lot more. There are, for many in the community strict guidelines and rules in place, safety mechanisms, respect and trust between participants. Therefore this book could be nothing further away from the world of BDSM and should, in no way be promoted as such.
Let's not shy away from the fact that the protagonist is actually a sadistic abuser and bully which is apparent to anyone with an ounce of common sense; and is sold as opening a doorway to a lifestyle that is shrouded in mystery for many.
And let's be realistic; if we had a friend who had just started a relationship with a man who turned up at her workplace unannounced made her sign a 'sex contract', threatened and isolated her from her friends and all the other appalling scenes contained in this book we would be seriously worried. We would warn her away; even if at first we didn't recognise the signs, the fact that her whole life is swamped by his domination and psychological abuse; surely as friends we would intervene and be concerned.
It has been observed that the book is "mummy porn". I'm a mother; but why would a book with an undercurrent of intimidation and abuse appeal to me, and what message does this send out to my children? Could it be one that declares it's acceptable for women to be dominated, that they enjoy being psychologically abused and threatened? Yes this is fiction; the Hollywood film machine, the protagonist a billionaire, the shy virginal female character; is this realistic? For the thousands of people who have been in an abusive relationships this novel is not a work of fiction more so an A-Z of how to be an abuser.
And it's not glamorous or anything to aspire to; the fact that one in four women in the UK will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime, certainly makes a book/film which is being promoted incessantly on every media outlet and sold millions of copies, something as humans we need to think about.
Whilst I am most definitely not into book banning; or even going so far as to say boycott the film; I would say that this novel/film needs to be thoroughly discussed with our young, to our girlfriends who think it is only a romantic film, where the girl gets her guy and to the onslaught of males who just don't get "what the fuss is about".