Friday, February 13, 2015

50 Shades of Shaming

I got through about 3 chapters of 50 Shades of Grey before I had to put it down, lest I continually carry a vomit bag. It is some pretty terrible writing. It reads like Twilight fan fiction…then I found out IT WAS ORIGINALLY TWILIGHT FAN FICTION.
The story is this:
  • Rich distant boy meets poor charming girl
  • Rich boy has a “quirk”: he’s into BDSM.
  • Girl submits to boy’s “quirk”, because she sees something in him.
  • As boy falls in love with girl, he abandons his “quirk”, because she’s worth it, and he was just hiding from his emotions.
  • Boy and girl forever have “normal” missionary sex and fly off into the sunset on a pearl embossed carriage filled with dove feathers driven by unicorns that poop candy (I didn’t read the last chapter, so I’m speculating based on the beginning.)

Basically, 50 Shades of Grey is the plot of every romcom, but with leather and chains. You would be more entertained setting your money ablaze than using it to watch or read 50 Shades of Grey.
I initially tried reading the book because I thought it was a fictional introduction to BDSM culture. Sadly, it approaches BDSM using the Hottentot Venus method: It examines it, sensationalises it, pokes fun at it, and then when it is done, it reminds readers that “thank goodness you’re ‘normal’!”, and then throws it to the wayside without actually truly delving deeper than the surface. The franchise has built a mountain of money based on turning kink culture into a freak or minstrel show. Since neither the author nor the director seemed to actually delve into kink or BDSM culture beyond observing it for reference, one could posit they were actually just putting on blackface…I guess in this case, “leatherface”? Even the actors expressed their disdain for the subject matter in cast interviews. The fact that there was an uptick in handcuff and bondage-related injuries since the book came out indicates that there was a lot of shallow treading of the subject and glamourizing it without actually expressing the value of responsibility and true consent. Those who are into BDSM and practise it responsibly and ethically probably feel the same way about “50 Shades of Grey” that black artists feel about mainstream hip-hop, or how Asian producers and actors feel about nearly every token Asian character in movies and TV shows, or how everyone feels about Iggy Azalea.

One might think I’m down on 50... because a woman wrote the book, and a woman directed the film. I have two words for you: Tyler Perry. Playing up the stereotypes of a culture without going deeper is as demeaning as if someone from outside the community did it. Because of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s  directing credit and EL James’s writing credit, producers tried to wrap this up as a story of female empowerment the only “power” message in the story is that if you’re a good girl, you can change any man into anything you want him to be, and you’ll live happily ever after. So close your legs, but only open them for the right guy, and then mold him like clay into the cast that our society allows!

The whole message of the film is that if you are a young chaste woman, you can turn that Vince Vaughan typecasty jerk into a sweet young man, and once you do, he’ll stop doing all the things he once loved to do, and you both will then not be allowed to pass “GO” and collect 200 lashes. You go straight to “missionary” from then on. Life is never like that.

Women like sex as much as men do, some like a little rope & leather play. If you think that you can “change” someone’s kinks, you are a fool, and if you DO “change” him/her, then that person has no spine, and you would not be attracted to him/her. If you are truly interested in BDSM and kink culture, reach out to your local kink society. Nearly every area has one, and they will teach you how to play safely. If you just wish to be entertained, “The Secretary” is on Netflix now. It’s much more egalitarian, and it beats watching/reading a minstrel show in leatherface.

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