Fifty Shades of Frustrated

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I can’t help but feel incredibly conflicted when writing about Fifty Shades of Grey.

There’s obviously a lot of hate for the novel and the film; hate which I don’t think is entirely justified.

Take Lisa Wilkinson’s scathing review, for example. She calls the film “domestic violence dressed up as erotica” that is “more appalling than appealing”.

Don’t get me wrong; I adore Lisa Wilkinson. As a successful female journalist, she’s a massive role model to me. But I have to disagree, and point out that she hasn’t read the books, either. Therefore, I don’t think it’s entirely fair for her to pass judgement about the series, or people who enjoy it.

I really don’t think the series deserves its bad reputation. Is it violent? Well, yes. But we must remember this key point: she consents. She asks for it, against her better judgement, in some scenes. But it’s her choice to agree to those things.

One scene in particular comes to mind: the controversial punishment scene. I by no means condone this kind of behaviour, I personally think Anastasia is ridiculously stupid for asking Christian to do the worst possible punishment. But again, the key factor: she asks him to. Inevitably, she is hurt (come on Ana, what did you think was going to happen?), and when she tells Christian to leave her alone; he complies. If she’d had said “stop” or any of the code words, “yellow” or “red”, he would have stopped earlier. But she didn’t.

Christian’s enjoyment of said punishment indicates serious (and rather frightening) mental issues, and if you’d read the books, you’d know about them. But Christian does not do one thing that Anastasia doesn’t ask or give permission for. Aside from this controversial scene, she enjoys his control—immensely.

Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you have no right in judging someone for enjoying Fifty Shades of Grey.

It is by no means a perfect text. The books are terribly written with far too many references to one’s inner goddess. And let’s not forget the unmistakable Twilight comparisons. A mysterious and sadistic billionaire who warns a shy virgin to stay away for her own good—sound familiar? I just had to roll my eyes when watching the film – that is, when I wasn’t making dirty and hilarious comments.

But it’s not the writing that has everybody hooked. It’s the taboo and kinky nature of the best-selling series that gives a whole new meaning to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and grey silk ties.

Lisa Wilkinson says Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t erotic. One hundred million book owners, as well as the many more who have seen the film, would disagree with you.

Fifty Shades of Grey is not a normal love story, that much is true. For starters, it begins with a contract. But as time progresses, real feelings are developed, particularly in the second and third books.

I am not entirely defending Christian Grey. Like I said, I think he has some serious issues, not to mention his incredibly controlling nature (I would probably punch him if I were Anastasia). He often uses “because it pleases me” to convince Ana to do some pretty kinky stuff. But from what we see (and read), it certainly pleases her too. Let’s be honest, it would probably please most of us too. I mean, any man that can make a woman orgasm by playing with her nipples deserves a medal.

This is why I am fifty shades of frustrated when it comes to people putting their uneducated two cents in. Some of whom haven’t even seen the film, let alone read the books, before they pass judgement. Feminist sites in particular ask: “how can you be a feminist and think Fifty Shades of Grey is okay?” Easy, you don’t judge someone else for their sexual preferences and recognise that Anastasia consents.

It’s an endless circle, really: women hating on other women for their likes and dislikes, judging each other for their likes and dislikes.

It’s 2015. People are into kinky stuff. Can we move on already, please?

*Note: this article was originally published here in February. I’m not just super late to the conversation (haha).*