Friday, February 13, 2015

In Defense of Fifty Shades

Synopsis #1:  I have just finished reading a trilogy about a man who survived a horribly abusive childhood and went on as a teenager and young adult to use deviant sexual behavior to build a defensive emotional wall between himself and anyone who might care for him.  A young woman falls in love with him and is unsophisticated enough to believe that her love can penetrate that wall.  In trusting him enough to join him in his alternate lifestyle, she in turn, gains his trust and ultimately, his love.  He no longer views the perversions as being necessary for his survival.  She has broken down the wall with her love, her compassion, and her faith in her vision of what she perceives to be the real man hiding inside of him.   They marry, have children and live happily ever after.

Synopsis #2: "When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.”

Would you be surprised if I told you that each of these scenarios describes the same three novels?  It would seem obvious to anyone of average intelligence that the sole purpose of Synopsis #2 is to sell the books to horny middle-aged women.    Synopsis #2 is actually from Amazon, written to - SURPRISE - sell the books.   I won't digress into a discussion regarding the motives of the author, who allowed this type of publicity all the while protesting that the books are truly a love story.   After all, let's face it - sex sells.   And in the spirit of honesty, I admit that I picked up the first book (in a college bookstore, of all places) out of curiosity and the desire for a little titillation.  And I got a lot of titillation, but boy did I get so much more.  Which brings me back to Synopsis #1.

What's the problem?  Here's the problem.   Since the movie hype started, I have read no less than three blogs from "Christian" websites.   Apparently, as a "Christian" woman, I am to avoid these books and the movie at all costs, because they are anti-marriage and they will encourage me to delve into an S&M adulterous relationship with a Christian Grey wannabe.  Furthermore, they will ruin my marriage by making me stray from my husband, even if it is only in my own mind.  Terrible!  It is clear that none of these blog authors actually read the books.  One of them admitted that the only basis for her conclusions was Synopsis #2 above.  Self-assured, self-righteous, prudent (prudish?) Christian women everywhere are chiming in in agreement, shouting bible verses to the skies.  I suppose I'm not surprised.  They condemn it and label it as porn.  Porn.  The penultimate four letter word that bible thumpers everywhere love to label anything they don't understand involving sex. 

I object.  I object to these religious nuts trying to tell women what to read.  I object to their pillaging of material that they have not and will not ever read in my lifetime.  I object to someone trying to make me feel immoral because I enjoy this material.  Because if they even tried to read it, they might see that it is a love story.  In which the sexual content is vital to the big picture of the story.  Is the sex a bit overdone?  Yes, I will admit that it is.  But who among us in the real world wasn't a bit obsessed with the physical aspects of their relationship with their significant other during those first few months or years?   The problem here is that none of the people who wrote these blogs or read and bought into them probably have the first clue about how they would respond if they fell in love with a sexual deviant who was a victim of child abuse.   They only know how to react in the typical judgmental fashion that has become the hallmark of the modern "Christian" faith. 

This is just one more reason why I would like to disassociate myself with the term "Christian".   I'm sure it would shock these people to know that I read the books, my husband read the books, I was not tempted to stray, and in fact my own marriage was .....shall we say ..... rejuvenated.  Yes, good upright folk everywhere, my marriage was strengthened by these books.  Not just because of the sex, but because he and I agree that this story is about so much more than sex.   A woman saved a man from a lifetime of living in a deviant emotional void with her love and her faith in the power of that love.  They were married.  They had children.  They were faithful to one another.   I happen to think that this is something that Jesus would approve of.    Please, by all means, tell me that I am un-Christian.  What a compliment that would be.    I may or may not see the movie.  I'm not sure I want to know what direction the producers went with it.   Read the damn books.  Then you can critique them.  Call them poor writing.  Declare the plot to be poorly-developed.  Call them fan fiction.  Just don't call them porn.

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