No. I haven’t read any of the books.
I was going to. When the first one hit the shelves I was intrigued- sexy book? Best seller? MY JAM. I do loves me some smutty, excuse me- EROTIC fiction.
Then I began to see things about the series-
“It was originally a Twilight fanfiction!” Ok. No worries. I read COPIOUS amounts of fanfiction. I’ve even WRITTEN some fanfiction. There is NOTHING wrong with fanfiction, even if the inspiration piece is questionable.
“It deals with *gasp* BDSM! D/s!” Again- no worries. I teach Human Sexuality, and I’ve *ahem* been interested in the topic for a long time. I understand that a true BDSM or D/s relationship is based on mutual trust, and is every bit as valid as more traditional “vanilla” relationships.
So those things didn’t immediately turn me off from reading the books. But then I began to see more, and it turned my stomach.
Let’s start with the basics- What’s one thing we teach all our kids about sex? No means no. In a healthy BDSM relationship, there are pre-determined safewords to convey NO, and when safewords are used, everything stops. No. Means. NO.
Does that happen in 50 Shades? Sort of. Here’s what I found:
“I want you to follow the Rules—all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”
“And if I break one of the Rules?
“Then I’ll punish you.”
“But won’t you need my permission?
“Yes, I will.”
“And if I say no?”
He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.
“If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.”
So, in this story, “no” means what now? And safewords? “Lovers don’t need safewords.” I disagree.
OK. That’s one reason I don’t want to read the books or watch the movie. No doesn’t mean no, no means “convince me” or “I’ll do it anyway” and that’s not healthy.
Say you’ve decided to BE in a BDSM relationship. You and your partner have decided to incorporate pain play into your fun time. Excellent. Whatever floats your boat as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual.
Here’s an excerpt from 50 Shades, after one “session” between Christian and Ana:
“How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”
“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”
“You weren’t meant to like it.”
Uhhh… correct me if I’m wrong, but if one partner does something another partner dislikes, and asks for it to NOT HAPPEN AGAIN, then, in a healthy relationship, it doesn’t happen again. That’s consent- I consent to you doing this to me, you consent to doing it. Spoiler alert- he does it again. That’s abuse, and is not safe, sane, or consensual.
On to controlling, stalker, possessive behavior. One of the things that really irked me about Twilight (which I did read, every book) was how everyone was OK with Edward’s stalkery behavior toward Bella. Sitting uninvited in a girl’s bedroom, watching her while she sleeps is NOT romantic. That’s stalkery, and should have been reported to the authorities. But in both Twilight and 50 Shades, stalkery, possessive behavior, as evidenced by Christian’s going to Ana’s work, becoming angry when she talks to other men, and the big one- controlling whom she sees and with whom she interacts, is all seen as romantic, sexy.
In reality though, those are three giant red flags of an abusive relationship.
http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/index.php/dating-violence/red-flags-for-abusive-relationships/ This list includes:
-Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go
-Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on them
This website: http://www.caring-unlimited.org/what-is-domestic-violence/for-victims-and-survivors/is-my-relationship-abusive adds stalking:
-Follows you around or frequently calls during the day
I would say that Christian ticks all those boxes, and more. He is an abuser; Ana is his victim, not his love.
Need more convincing? Here: http://cmvanek.tumblr.com/post/110684370237/shades-of-grey-supports-abuse-of-women A giant list compiled of reasons this set of books should not be held up as the romantic ideal, and is instead- potentially harmful.
It comes down to this- would I want to be in a BDSM D/s relationship? Maybe. Would it bother me if either of my kids was in a BDSM D/S relationship with someone? No- as long as it was safe, sane, and consensual. However- would I want to be in a “relationship” as described in 50 Shades? Would I want my KIDS to be in a relationship like that? HELL NO. I’d be on the phone to the cops.
So, TL;DR. BDSM = fine, if done right. 50 Shades = romanticizes an abusive relationship.
And that’s why I didn’t read the books, and that’s why I won’t be seeing the movie.