50 Shades of Prey

I read this crap.  Admittedly I only got through the first book, and was somewhat appalled to find out that there were more of them – it makes one lament for the sorry state of the publishing industry if crud like this can get printed once, let alone a series. Mostly I read it because a young friend of mine had read them and said they were ‘good’.  I read the first book and felt it was anything but – the characters were wooden and un-engaging, the narrative was dull and predictable and the writing?!? OMFG… it read like it was written by and for fifteen year olds.  It was fucking painful to get through, a seriously fucking painful three hours or so. Maybe that is just what happens to you when you spend your time reading and studying classic literature?  I don’t know.  But E.L.James is no Henry James, (not that I’ve ever enjoyed Henry James… but that’s enough story).

There’s been a lot of talk in the media at various points about this 50 Shades of Grey crap not being representative of the BDSM community and rather that it has all the hallmarks of a sensationalised and sexualised domestic abuse situation – to which I have sort of thought ‘Oh yeah, wind your head in.  It’s just unadulterated crap – not even remotely erotic, doesn’t have any similarities with BDSM relationships, but hardly depicts sexual or domestic abuse’… and I have a feeling that I came to this conclusion based on my complete lack of empathy for the characters of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.  Anastasia Steele is depicted as dull, listless, clueless, two dimensional and well, insipid.  Christian Grey is comes across as though the author wanted him to be commanding, domineering and strong and masterful… but instead just reads like a big bored wanna be, monied up prat. who misses the mark.  I’ve heard the book described as ‘steamy, erotic,and filled with sexual tension’, which just makes me sad really.  If that shit is steamy, you need to take a serious look at your love life.

But I’m getting off point… abusive.  People have said the relationship depicted in 50 Shades of Grey is abusive, and my complete inability (and lack of desire) to empathise with the characters led me to dismiss these claims out of hand.  Until I saw these:

50 shades of grey 1 50 shades of grey 2 50 shades of grey 3 50 shades of grey 4 50 shades of grey 5 50 shades of grey 6Some fans will say that these quotes can’t be taken in isolation an are out of context, which is why they read like domestic abuse slogans – but in all honesty that’s just not true.  This is how E.L. James wrote this Grey character, this is how he interacts with Anastasia throughout the entire novel.  Grey is abusing her, mentally, emotionally and (maybe) physically… but prior to seeing it spelled out like this in black and white mocked up movie posters – the characters were so poorly written that I never gave a shit enough about the characters to see it.

So what does it matter really at this point?  Well, while we have to live with the fact that publishers are constantly handing us tripe these days and selling it to us as though it’s caviar… unfortunately, many people don’t analyse what they’re consuming and don’t see these things for what they are.  There are many, many, thousands – hundreds of thousands – of people who have read this particular tripe… and now I am wondering, how many of them are impressionable young teenage girls?   :/



On Rape Culture.

I think you’re misunderstanding the term “rape culture”, Scott. People like you try and dismiss it because they feel like it means women are getting raped in their millions, or there are rape TV shows and rape rape parties where everyone talks about how much they like to rape.

Rape culture actually refers to simple facts. Women are raped at a rate or sexually assaulted at a rate of something like 1 in 4. One in FOUR. Now, you can argue that fact all you like. People don’t like that statistic and challenge it all the time… but what if it’s true? What if it’s LITERALLY FACTUALLY TRUE? What if instead of dismissing and arguing it we thought “Holy fucking fuck that is fucked up and needs to stop.”

Rape culture refers to the fact that if a woman is a victim of rape, she can’t tell anyone. If you tell people your house was broken into, they don’t ask what you were wearing. If you are a victim of rape, everything is suddenly relevant: have you been drinking? Why were you drinking? Had you had too much? Oh, so you DID let him kiss you? So you led him on? What were you wearing?

Rape culture refers to the fact that women who are victims of rape are often victimised a second time by the police. If someone is raped it’s extremely difficult to prosecute. The difference between consent and rape is purely one word against another. Police know this. They know how hard it is to make any case. They also have their own attitudes, that reflect society – that a rapist is a creepy guy in a black van who grabs women. Not a good looking guy on a date who doesn’t think a goodnight kiss is enough.

Rape culture refers to the fact that a when a girl is victimised, gang raped by young men, the media will actually sometimes refer to the boys like they’re victims. “These two young men who had such promising futures — star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart,” Note that this was CNN, and they were referring to the RAPISTS, not the victims.

Rape culture refers to the pervasive concept that the bodies of women are something for men to aspire to and that we deserve.

Rape culture refers to the fact that women are wolf-whistled at, cat-called and groped not just regularly but routinely. This might not sound like rape, and it isn’t – it’s part of rape CULTURE. It’s the fact that women’s bodily autonomy isn’t respected. It’s the first step.

Rape culture refers to the fact that everyone is opposed to rape. But lots of men think that it’s ok to pressure a woman, or that a man is owed something if he buys a drink, or that a woman sometimes says no but means yes, or that once you start she gets into it or that it’s not rape if it’s your wife, or that she’s totally down for it when she’s been drinking, or that “rape allegations” are just women having regrets, or that… lots of similar things.

Rape culture isn’t “the culture of rape”. Rape culture is the culture that supports rape. It’s the culture that denies rape is even happening. That it’s even a problem. That it needs to be talked about.


Published with permission from Matt Burgess via Facebook.