Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Not another Fifty Shades novel please

Bashing Fifty Shades is one of my guilty pleasures, but sometimes it is just too much. Never cared much for the novels, I expected that after the movie they would go the way of the Titanic, but as it turns out Fifty Shades is more like Jurassic World. There is no way to get rid of either those dinosaurs or the franchise.

E.L. James - Grey - part four of the Fifty Shades of Grey series

Earlier this week the Virginia teacher (no jokes please) who screened Fifty Shades in her classroom last May, got fired. Amazing it took the school board that long. I honestly feel sorry for her but after another teacher handed out 50 Shades puzzles three months before, she should have known better.

In an effort to be funny Fox News wrote how "parents were turning 50 shades of red" when "the students were given puzzles based on "Fifty Shades of Grey" that contained terms including "spanking," ''submissive," ''leather cuffs" and "bondage." Other words on the list were more explicit.""

More interestingly is the school's response. They acknowledge the puzzle was a big mistake, but what they most seem to regret it how one student posted it on social media.

"Unfortunately one copy was taken by a student who then posted it on social media."


Fifty Shades, part four is coming

Later in the week I read in The Guardian how EL James is writing a fourth instalment in the Fifty Shades series. I am a finance whiz, so let me explain: the author made 75 million writing three books. If things work out as planned, she can add another cool 25 million to her personal wealth. Of course you can joke, she has another 47 to write, so she better hurries, but honestly if all Tolkien needed was a trilogy, why can't that be good enough for Fifty Shades?

To make matters worse: this time she is going to write it from the male protagonist's point of view. A quick recap of Fifty Shades: Rich handsome billionaire and an innocent student fall in love. He is a sadist, who derives (sexual) pleasure from hurting and controlling people. She doesn't like it at all. In the end Anastasia "cures" him and they live happily ever after. Unbelievable as it is, it takes him three novels to realize his desire are rooted in his childhood. Equally absurd is that she "cures" him somehow. Think what would have happened if the book's topic wasn't BDSM but homosexuality from which someone is "cured". Apart from FOX News that is of course.

And now EL James has decided to write a fourth novel, from Christian Grey's point of view. Let's hope she doesn't annoy us too much with flashbacks of his troubled childhood and how he became such an abusive character. Even better, let's pray it is going to be a very short novel, but don't count on it. Anyone who is capable of resurrecting a manipulating, abusive sadist whose main attraction is his wealth, has to be a sadist herself.

live a weekend with christian - fifty shades of grey experience
The Fifty Shades of Grey experience: if you have $12,397, Mr. Grey will see you now. According to the company, 52 women have lived the experience so far and there’s currently a waitlist going through April.(source: Buzzfeed)

Think before you act

Before you rush out and buy part four, how about reading up on what others wrote about Fifty Shades, an antidote so to speak? Just before the Fifty Shades movie was released, The Atlantic published a highly recommended article in which the author de-constructs Fifty Shades. The funny part is where author Emma Green compares the trilogy to old fashioned Harlequin romance novels. Not so funny is where she writes about the emotional bargain, in which female lead Anna has to choose between losing the man she loves or being spanked. Rings a bell: "If you are a real slave..." She doesn't want it, but agrees, kind of. Technically it is consent but if you were Christian Grey and wrote something like that on your Fetlife profile, you would be shunned by anyone other than the most desperate. As the article correctly notices, this is not how it (is supposed to) works in the BDSM community, but what do bored vanilla people in their 30s, 40s or 50s know? It is difficult to explain to outsiders, but BDSM should be fun for both, even if the definition of the word fun differs from what you find in the dictionary.

The New Republic's Sarah Mitchell doesn't delve that deep but basically shares The Atlantic's philosophy. Walt Disney would turn in his grave but to her Fifty Shades is Belle and the Beast 2.0. In the end Anastasia's selfless efforts turn a haunted monster into a handsome prince and together they start a nuclear family of their own.

Of course all of this - like often - makes you wonder who is really in control, the one who demands - and needs - devotion and submission or she who gives it in an act of love and gets what she wants in due time. Wasn't there an expression about somebody pulling the strings, hiding behind the throne?

We all arrive at crossroads in our life every once in a while. One of them might be the choice between love and lust. Neither one is superior to the other, who can decide for anyone else, but I wonder, what if Mr. Grey was forced to choose between his heart and his pants? Tough (booty)call, I guess. Love is about giving, not taking and especially not pressuring, manipulating or abusing the feelings of the one you love to get your fix. Then again, who am I? I know, I am just a sub, so I am not entitled to an opinion. My most sincere apologies.

Just remember I am only a millionaire right now. I made my fortune selling Pinocchio dolls in Antarctica. If I ever graduate to billionaire, my sexual orientation will automatically change from slave to dom. Learned that from Filthy Shades. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It occurred to me before but somehow too many BDSM enthusiasts - subs and dommes alike - are desperate in their search for someone to fulfil their needs. Not only may you end up like Christian and loose your appetite for kink, but look at the big picture too. Just know what you are sacrificing for your fix, especially when it is love.

Still not convinced? Read this 2014 article with the top ten reasons “Secretary” beats “50 Shades of Grey.”

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