Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Fifty Shades Of Contorversy
As much as I don't want to, I have to weigh in on the Fifty Shades of Gray discussion. Just because, undoubtedly, when I talk about books with someone they always bring it up. A lot of women get excited over it. A lot of authors hate it. No matter what, there are extremely strong feelings. I take the middle road.
I read all there books. The writing was not stellar. Things my editor would have hung me to dry for, repeated phrases, comma splices, fragmented sentences, were all left to annoy the living hell out of me. The characters were stale. We had seen them before. (Yes, think Twilight. If you argue this we can do a whole other post on the similarities of Christian Gray and Edward Cullen. And even Bella and Anastasia. You have to live in the dark to not see the underlying similar character traits and back stories.) James made money by ripping off someone else's character development. She took someone else's idea and just sexed it up. Even if you are not the biggest Twilight fan around, you can see how wrong this is.
Sex sells. Plain and simple. The draw of this book series, and the movie, is the taboo idea of sex it shows. In a place and time in this world where we are trying to promote sex positive images in literature, and positive sexuality for our girls, yes this book sends the wrong message. Not knocking the BDSM community. (And yes James has a lot of it wrong.) The relationship she shows is abusive and domineering. Reading the book I always felt Gray was a freak. I personally would not want to be in a relationship with him no matter how hot the sex, or how big the bank account. The guy did have one or two redeeming qualities, but plain and simple, he was shallow and egotistical, and abusive. Not the kind of guy we want our young girls lusting after.
Why do I take the middle ground than with all that being said?
Because as an author, I love anything that gets people reading, and talking about reading. Fifty Shades of Gray, and Twilight before it, has brought a whole segment of the population back to reading. From young adults, to teens, and to everyone in between. And once people start reading, and get hooked, it brings them to discussions with other readers. And those discussions lead to comments like; "You should read this book, the author takes it to a whole other level." or "This author is great, I saw her on an online Fifty Shades discussion and her books are ten times better." It even leads to dialogs about abusive relationships, sex positive initiatives, and why and how the book got it wrong. Because our first amendment rights allow us the freedom to watch and read the drivel, and even allow us to speak out against it.
I write paranormal romance, horror and dystopian fiction. I add sex, people seem to want it, but my focus is more on the underlying causes of trauma and why we function as we do. My characters are hurt, traumatized and imperfect. They have affairs, kill, get in trouble and are alcoholics. They also love, help, explore and change the world for the better. If people are led to my books, after talking to someone about Fifty Shades, and I met a few people who have been, all the better for me.
Do I condone the type of relationship in Fifty Shades? Good God no. Do I condone the blatant ripping off of another author's character development? Good God no. Do I feel fan fiction has a place? Yes, as a way to develop your writing skills, not as a vehicle for a sub par novel getting a million dollar movie deal. Do I wish all my hard work and all my books would get the attention Fifty Shades has gotten, yes. Will they? Most likely no. Are they better written? That's for you guys to decide.
Will I boycott the movie? Nope, I usually never get to see movies in theaters anyway. Will I chastise and berate people for going to see it? Nope. Do I think all these authors bashing fellow authors for liking it, fans for reading it, is right? Nope.
Because we are reading people. We are writing. We are exploring this freedom we have been given. We are creating dialog, and opening minds. That's what literature does. Kudos to E.L. James for writing her books and getting people to read. Let the controversy go. Let people read. Just try not to hurt each other in the process. Remember it's fiction. Not gospel. And that's where we need to be careful.
Careful of giving the wrong idea that consent makes it less abusive. Because let's face it, there are people who can not separate fact from fiction. Impressionable young adults and otherwise. These articles explore that further:
So that is why I am on the fence on this.