Monday, June 11, 2012

Let's chat 50 Shades of Grey

This is not a review of 50 Shades of Grey. If you want that, you may as well stop reading and head elsewhere. This is a rant. I'd like to take this opportunity to address all the people who are calling this book "porn" and "shit-literature" and "the worst thing EVER WRITTEN" to tell them the following: grow. the fuck. up.
Now, what do I mean by that? I'm a 25 year old girl with a B.A. in English and a J.D. who considers herself fairly educated. I take particular offense to people who imply that I am somehow juvenile, perverted, or "ridiculous" for enjoying this series and that nobody of substance or with half a brain could possible do so. Is it the best book that's EVER been written? No. Is it in line to win a Pullitzer? HELL no. Does that mean I'm not allowed to read it and enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is? ABSOLUTELY not.
I've felt this way for some time now, and this post was prompted by a status I saw last night on Facebook. Here it is:
STATUS: 50 shades of grey is probably the WORST book of all time. It is "Twilight" with soft core porn scenes added in. Comparisons between the two? The main character is a completely plain never-been-kissed, overly-mature-for-her-age woman who lives in Washington. Her mother is free-spirited, childish, and in another state. The love interest is an inexplicably handsome, wealthy man that women far more a...ttractive, socially competent, and all around better catch than Plain Jane would die to date. He also is exceptionally dangerous and warns Plain Jane to stay away from him even though he can't bare to save her innocence himself by keeping his distance. Just add in some extremely poorly written porn scenes to differentiate an awful unrealistic teenage drama from a sexual frustrated adult woman's dream. I can't even bring myself to finish the book it is that bad. OK, that's the end of my soapbox rant. If you haven't read it, DON'T.
Which was then followed up (amongst a chain of commenters) by a comment from the status maker:
I'm just really curious as to what the intrigue with it is. I knew nothing about the book going in, I had heard it's name somewhere and figured it would be good so I borrowed it from a friend. The writing was very juvenile at best, like it was supposed to be directed to pre-teen kids, but obviously not. At first I referred to the writing as "casual", but by 1/3 in, I wanted to tell the chick to grow up and act her age. I just didn't see the suspense, it was all sex and no actual substance or plot for that matter. It sends the wrong message about relationships, and this Christian Grey guy is the textbook definition of abusive (maybe some of the physical "abuse" is consensual and part of the BDSM relationship, but he is very emotionally controlling as well). It's kind of scary honestly that people can read this and think it's some wonderful love story. Those kind of relationships are not wonderful romances to dream about. I'd honestly go so far as to give the prize of better awful book to Twilight because it at least included some suspense and action. But maybe I missed the entire point of 50 shades.......
In my not-so-humble opinion, I think it makes YOU the pretentious asshole for getting on a soapbox about how you are "above" a cultural phenomenon. It's not for you? Fine. But to be constantly blasting how you're "above" it does NOT make you intelligent, it makes you JUVENILE. AND a bully, for shaming people into feeling embarassed or bad that they enjoyed it. 
In spite of the fact that yes, it does appear as though the author picked up a thesaurus at times and slapped down random, out of context, words. 
In spite of the fact that yes, sometimes, some of the sex scenes are entirely superfluous.
And blasting it as "setting the wrong example for a relationship to dream about"...? If people are reading this as a template for a normal, healthy, loving relationship.. well.. maybe they're the ones who need to see Dr. Flynn. (HA. HA. inside joke for those who have read the book). I don't think it's an author's job, unless they're writing a self-help book about healthy relationships, to make sure they're constantly cognizant of the "proper" messages. We, as adults, can glean from the book what we want. Does every book need to send a message? Have in depth, complex character development, cultural significance, and themes that could be subjected to detailed textual analysis in a 100 level college course? NO. As long as it's not being read to kindergarteners at story time, I see no issue
I spend all damn day reading caselaw and dissecting the difference that a comma makes in interpreting the rule, depending on where it's placed. So does that mean I have to go home and spend my free time reading Bronte novels? I think I'm allowed to be intelligent and then turn my brain off and read drivel. Thanks.
If you are reading this and haven't read the books or don't want to because you don't like what you've heard about them, that's cool. We're cool. Just don't be an asshole about it.


  1. this post right here? just got you a new follower. thank you thank you thank you! especially the next to last paragraph. you are awesome! =]

  2. Oh my goodness! This is awesome! This is exactly what I want to say to all the haters of the books. I mean seriously, can someone not read what they want without other people bashing them about it? And I for one enjoyed the books. So thank you for this post! :)

    Beginning with Becca

  3. My bestie Emily (who is a doctor, yo) loves these books, and she's one of the smartest people I know. So there.

    ;) Glad you like 'em!