Sunday, March 1, 2015

50 Shades of Gimme a Break... Part 1

I have avoided reading Fifty Shades of Grey like I would avoid a port-a-potty.  I am not a fan of romance novels, or as some would call them "summer smut," but the way I figure this story is anything but romantic.  I have read opinions and listened to the casual chats, however, if I am going to voice an opinion I do not want to base it on the opinion of others, but instead, go to the source and see for myself.  Thus begins my journey of the much talked about Fifty Shades of Grey...

The reason I have this blog dubbed "Part 1" is because I am still currently reading the book and am only voicing my opinion thus far.  Other parts will be written as I continue reading.  I am struggling with finishing it because, quite frankly, it is poorly written.  A book should have a flow and an enticement to read that is beyond erotica.  This book does not.  I have to admit as I sat and read it, I was reminded of being a young teenager reading the Harlequin Desires (I believe that is what they were called) and hiding them from my mother.  They were the steamy books with lots of naughtiness back in the early 80's.  These were a better read than "Fifty Shades."  Let's be serious, how many times can you say "oh my."  Anastasia Steele, the main female character, is an English major for goodness sakes and all she can say is "oh my?"  Then there is the biting of the lip.  She bites her lip every other sentence..."I realized I was biting my lip. I bit my lip.  Stop biting your lip Anastasia."  I hope she keeps Chap Stick handy.  Geez!  But, this same character who gnaws at her lip constantly and is limited to the vocabulary of "oh my,"  throws around the word "medulla oblongata" like it is commonplace!  Who says that??'!!  "And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain-probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells," ... Whuuuuut?  I have never sat and thought of what is coming out of my medulla oblongata.  I have however, felt a stirring in the innermost dark places of my soul.  Yeah, if you need advice on your next novel I'm available for parties and bar mitzvahs.  The eye rolling that occurred while reading this almost sprained my levator palpebrae superioris.  See E.L. James, I can use big medical words too.

I understand, this is not a literary classic, but that's not the point is it?  This is a book meant to entice sexual fantasy not for a symbolism discussion at your next book club meeting.  From some of the opinions, memes, articles that I was reading, I expected to be infuriated by a man who practically rapes this poor victimized woman.  That's not exactly what has happened, at least not yet.  The sex has all been consensual, however, the stereotypes are insulting.  Ana has such low self esteem, "oh why would anyone want me, oh I'm not good enough, I hate my hair, blah, blah, blah."  She is ripe for the picking for the dashing and confident Christian Grey.  He is just perfect...perfect hair, perfect body, perfect career, and surprise, surprise, he's a billionaire. The epitome of strength and power.  Oh how nice, a strong man who controls his own company, controls his employees and now he seeks to control the meek, weak, no self esteem, Ana.  I love when books make women the weaker character, it's so good for our gender (insert sarcasm here).  So far the book has taught me a few opinions of women; a large penis equals woman control, a pretty face and hot body equals woman control, and the more money you have the more control you can have over...say it with me...a woman.  No mental connection necessary, no emotional connection necessary, no need to build a friendship; if you are hot and loaded you can basically own any woman you want.  This is what women want???  I once had an old boyfriend who tried to disrespect me, act as though my mind and heart meant nothing and all that he needed was my physical body.  I called him out on it and he became angered and demanded that I return a shirt that he had given me.  I returned the shirt...after I wiped down my toilet with it.  In reality, women want to be taken seriously, we want to be respected for our mind, our talents, our hearts, not used like a prostitute.  This book degrades women and makes the gender appear shallow and superficial and that, quite frankly, disgusts me.  Of course, I am a die hard feminist so what else do you expect?

Some can look past the stereotyping and degradation, as long as they can still get some juicy sex scenes *shiver*.  According to E.L. James, women's orgasms happen with hardly any work at all.  It's like MAGIC!!  And men?  They are ready to go again almost immediately.  Wow!!  In fact, you can read about three distinct sexual encounters in just a matter of a few pages.  Amazing!!  Three sexual encounters and there is still time for a good night's rest.  Who knew?!  No effort necessary. I especially love how the first sexual encounter is "basic training" for Ana as she is a virgin.  Let the experienced male teach the rookie female how it's done.  Men know what to do.  They know how to please their woman.  Women are awkward sexually until the man can teach her.  Ugh!  Who couldn't resist the mature way she refers to her vagina as "there."  Anastasia Steele is a twenty-two year old English major who reads and dissects ACTUAL literature and she refers to her vagina as "there?"  Wait a minute...that's another stereotype.  Women are childlike lovers who cannot even say the word vagina.  Vagina, Vagina, VAGINA!  There, I said it.

I plan on explaining how I feel "Fifty Shades" affects the rape culture that runs rampant in our modern society, or maybe, it does not affect it at all.  That is where my concerns lie.  Maybe Christian and Ana will sit and discuss F. Scott Fitzgerald and debate political views.  Don't tell me what happens next, I know I am one of the last to read this popular fiction.  I'm not sure if my opinion will change with further reading, but there is only one way to find out.  Let the eye rolling continue...

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