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I am so tired of seeing article after article talking about the ABSOLUTE HORRORS of Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems like every opinion piece I read on the books or movies is over-stereotypical of the entire thing and it’s either completely awful that any woman would read this book or utterly amazing to dream of what life would be like if you were Anastasia Steele.
I refuse to see the movies because I loved the books so very much and I won’t let the actors or movie makers mess with the story and pictures I’ve created with my imagination (I felt the same with Hunger Games). That makes my point, though. This is fiction. Just as the Dexter books/tv series didn’t promote everyone going out and taking the law into their own hands and becoming serial killers to rid the world of other murderers/rapist/etc, Fifty Shades isn’t promoting the scene of BDSM. It’s telling a story. For anyone who might be into that scene, it’s empowering. It starts conversations. It allows women who might be into this to feel like they’re not so odd/dysfunctional after all.
“Wait!?” you say. “There are really women out there like this!? Women who want to be controlled and who might actually enjoy a relationship like this?” Yup, there are. It’s a small portion of the population, yes, but there’s some out there. Why would the books be such a huge hit if they didn’t speak to some women – at least a little? It was actually in a different book (of the same genre) that sort of gave me my “lightbulb” moment. There are some women who want to be totally controlled because so much has spun out of control in their lives that handing over the reigns is what they want. There are women who have only been with timid guys in the bedroom who find more enjoyment when a guy is able to take charge. There are couples who have contract relationships similar to the one in Fifty Shades who live what appear to be normal lives in public but in the bedroom share experiences similar to those in Fifty Shades.
Now, while I stand by what I just said, I also firmly believe that relationships like this are only okay if they’re fully consenting. The pursuit and stalking behaviors in Fifty Shades are overboard – I’ll give you that. There are some women who don’t need that to agree to a relationship like that (and that’s okay for them because you don’t need to be in their bedroom!)
I could ramble on this for a few hours and keep hitting on the same points, but I wanted to share three more things that are my bits of advice to anyone who does want to read the books or see the movie.
- You are not going to find a husband or lover like Christian Grey
Because it’s fiction. There isn’t a Christian Grey out there because he’s portrayed as the “perfect man”. He’s damaged and willing to share his weaknesses. He’s take charge and amazing in the bedroom and has no problem performing ever. He’s extremely sensitive to Anastasia’s needs – ALWAYS. He apologizes when he makes mistakes. He’s rich beyond belief. He’s fun and has a childish side that he lets Ana see. You get my point – there is no such man like this! You won’t find him, don’t bother looking because (again) – fiction.
- Sometimes, it’s okay to fantasize about having the “perfect life” that they end up with in at the end
Because it’s okay to fantasize sometimes. ((spoiler alert!)) It ends with them married, beautiful child, second pregnancy, rich beyond belief, beautiful house, and still an amazing relationship where – if they ever do fight – they always end up making up with unbelievable rockin’ sex! That’s not going to happen either, because there’s no such thing as the perfect life or perfect relationship. You know what though, if the subject matter makes you fantasize about it at all – have a conversation with your partner. Talk about it. Share your thoughts with your partner and be honest and open and see what happens then? We all want the perfect home life, the perfect sex life, and the perfect social life. Fiction. But sometimes it’s fun to fantasize a little bit
- It’s possible to learn some things about yourself when reading the books
But … be careful. It’s not reality, but if you do some introspection you might learn that you’re either horribly offended by the subject matter, or you’re a little intrigued. You don’t have to take it as seriously as SO many people are. But it’s possible to carefully consider how it fits into your worldview and learn something about yourself (no matter what side of the fence you fall on the issue)
Danielle Thompson is a freelance writer who has been featured in print and online. She is an opinionated, outspoken mother of two who has been married for 10 years and currently resides with her husband and kids – far away from her native California. She has her MS in psychology with a focus in positive psychology and training in human sexuality. When she’s not ruffling feathers with her writing, she’s often found with a good bottle of homemade wine while binge-watching her favorite television shows on Netflix.