My Response to Fifty Shades of Grey

What do Christian Grey, the Catholic Church and the
Michigan State House have in common? They all want to dominate women.

I have not read Fifty
Shades of Grey
by E.L. James, nor do I intend to, so if you want to stop reading here, I ask
your patience.  I am not going to read it
for the following reasons:
1.      Every
review I’ve read has said it is not well written.  Life is too short to spend my time on a
poorly written book when my stack of TBRs (to be read) is so high.

2.      It
is called “mommy porn” which is not my cup of tea (I’m sure there is a better metaphor
to use if I had read the book).  As my
neighbor said, “If I brought porn home, she’d kill me, but it’s ok for her to
read it?” Fair is fair, my friends, just know that daddy porn is visual.

3.      I
was formed in the days of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who fought the good
fight to allow women the opportunities they have today. Marissa Mayer  would not have recently become CEO of Yahoo
without them. The concept  of submitting
to everything someone else commands is not only foreign to me, it creeps me

4.      I
am not a prude; rates my romance novel Love’s Destiny as “sensual”.

5.      Refer
to #1

I am neither judging readers who enjoyed it, nor
encouraging people not to read it.  I neither
believe in banning books (former librarian) nor undermining an author’s success
(current author). I just wonder about the message being sent to women,
especially taken in conjunction with other current events in our society.

Maybe we need a book entitled Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue
that address the domination of women in politics. In June during a debate on
abortion in the Michigan State Legislature, Democratic Representative Lisa Brown was silenced for using the word “vagina” because it was considered inappropriate.
A male colleague called her language “vile and disgusting” and not suited for
mixed company. Interesting how fixated men are on vaginas, but find them
disgusting… Brown was then blocked from giving her opinion on a school
retirement bill later that week.  About a
week later, Democratic Representative Barb Byrum was silenced when she asked to
speak about a package of bills dealing with pay equity for women. Sometimes
having your hands tied and your mouth silenced isn’t so sexy.

Another possibility is Fifty Shades of Cardinal Red which would cover all things
religious. The Vatican is trying to reign in “radical feminism” promoted by
various orders of nuns.  The nuns took to
the road on June 18 for a two-week Nuns on the Bus tour to promote opposition to a House budget
that would sharply decrease spending on social issues. In addition, they are
not fighting against a mandate that requires contraception coverage. The Vatican
said the nuns’ moral compasses were askew…this from men who covered up sexual
abuse for years.

But I digress. If you have read, are reading or plan
to read Fifty Shades of Grey, good
for you.  If you are not planning to ever
read it, good for you.  If you are on the
fence (which might be included in a scene in the book, I don’t know) I hope you
come to a decision that you feel good about. If the book has spiced things up
between you and your spouse/partner/significant other – Yay! All I am saying is
that I have a sense of an underlying, pervasive reversal of the respect for and
the opportunities available to women. Just sayin’

I don’t like to present a conundrum without offering
a possible solution. E.L. James has earned over 6 million dollars on this book.
I wonder what shelters for abused women, men and children could do with that
much money? You see, they don’t think being tied up and abused is so exciting.
The Fifty Shades Trilogy is $27.99 on
Amazon today.  I am going to write a
check for $27.99 to Shelterhouse of Midland County, our local shelter. I’m
inviting you to write a check to a shelter or maybe to Nuns on the Bus for the
amount you spent or would spend on this book. That would balance your karma and
help many people who are dominated by someone in power.


16 thoughts on “My Response to Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. How about Fifty Shades of Black and Blue? I think presenting domination and control as erotic and mainstream is an alarming idea. Trust and respect are extremely important, so is giving, not taking. I have accidentally purchased books that strayed into very uncomfortable, disturbing areas like this and I was not happy. These shouldn't even be remotely tied to romance – period.

  2. This is a great article Elizabeth, you raise many valuable points. I have not read the book yet, I didn't want to invest the time since I have many wonderful other titles to read at the moment. I would read it though, I'm curious to know what the fuss is all about. I don't know what made this book so successful, probably all the sex. Since sex sells. I don't necessarily agree with your argument about women and submission. Many people—including very strong minded women—live all kinds of sexual fantasies. Isn't that what romance books are all about? Living these wonderful romantic/sexual fantasies that are generally completely different from our good ol' lives? Many people I know call any romance book "mommy porn." 50 shades is only a different kind of fantasy, and if its popularity is any indication, it's a fantasy millions of women enjoy. Aside of all that, it's a work of fiction, only for the entertainment of the people who choose to read it, so no real harm done.
    I think is great you took a stand and voiced your opinion. This is mine. And that's what makes us strong.

  3. Gayle Grant says:

    Betty, I did read the first book in the trilogy and although I agree that the quality of writing is poor, I did not feel that the theme was either male dominance or abuse of women and/or men. Rather, it involves a dominant/submissive relationship between two consensual adults, contract and all, a lifestyle they choose. It is nothing I would ever envision choosing for myself, but that applies to many things people do. To me, the theme centered on what one might do to get what she wants, referring to Ana. I would be curious to know if you might feel differently if you had read the book. Oh, and sadly, I did not find the "spice" to which readers frequently refer! 🙂

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