Tuesday, July 24, 2012

50 shades.

I'm not reading it, but I have been looking at a very funny chapter by chapter review. I've read about 10 chapters of the review, which is about as much as my godliness can take, so I'm stopping now. But I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on the writing style, the characters, the plot line and the issues it raises.

Five thoughts on FSOG so far.
1. This is really similar to Mills and Boon, except with poorer writing and kinkier sex. Nothing to see here guys.
2. This is FanFic. So, so much is stolen from Twilight.
3. Although problematic, the BDSM thing isn't the biggest issue for me*. Bigger, I think, is the nature of the relationship. He wants to control every aspect of her life - her clothes, her finances, her food, her friends, her diary, her facial expressions... This is sick, stalker guy behaviour. Why do readers find it desirable? But I guess that there is precedence for this in popular music. What's creepy in real life is romantic when the Police sing it (Every breath you take I'll be watching you...)
4. She isn't allowed to look him in the face without permission. Who made him god? (Or does he think he's an ancient Persian king?)
5. The picture it paints of female sexuality is warped. For our heroine, sexual desire does not exist apart from him. She never felt a twinge of anything till he came along. At age 22. Huh? But this is not unusual in female fiction - Twilight, some Mills and Boon etc feature it. It makes it so that the guy owns the girl's sexuality which is yuck.

My very biggest worry is that aspects of #3, #4 and #5 might be attractive to the people on the far right of complementarianism.

* But maybe it would be if I read on.


  1. Every Breath you take is romantic?

    About as romantic as "The more you ignore me the closer I get."

  2. rofl.
    I bet the people on the far right of complementarianism can't wait for Koorong to start stocking it then.
    No, the spirit that pervades this genre is distinctly egalitarian.
    (There was something of an online controversy about this last week.)

  3. Oh, exactly. But I think identifying this with either complementarianism or egalitarianism is just a red herring. It's just profoundly unChristian. Though by far the best (and funniest) takedowns of it that I've read are by feminists.
    It reminds me that apparently Dido's song 'Don't Leave Home' was being chosen quite often for weddings - even though it is about drug addiction.

  4. Since I'm not up with left vs right of complementarianism (probably because I'm not one), what would be the definitions here?

  5. My GF recently wrote about this book. Very interesting considering your last three points.


  6. Hey Jimmy. I read her post. What in particular are you thinking is interesting regarding points 3-5?

    Laetitita. I'm imagining a spectrum where to the left we have egalitarians and to the right we have complementarianism. So in the middle there are egals whose thoughts move towards comps, and comps who move towards egal... Far right comps are going to comps the furtherest away from egalitarians.