By Dani Feraday
The mother of two, E.L James, is a first time novelist in the U.K. with the trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey. According to James’ website she’s “always dreamed of writing stories that readers would fall in love with”.
With Fifty Shades having sold over 31 million copies worldwide it would appear that she has succeeded. Not all would agree though with such a controversial story line and James hasn’t been able to avoid ruffling some feathers. It doesn’t matter whether you love it or hate it there’s just no denying Grey has taken the world by storm.
The trilogy is about a young woman, Anastasia Steele, who becomes enchanted by CEO billionaire Christian Grey. Grey is able to convince Ana to start a BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) relationship with him. Throughout the book you get a glimpse at Grey’s dark past and into the workings of his mind.
Some issues that readers have with the series are its anti-feminist views and the stereotype it’s helping promote, unknowingly, against alternative sex lifestyles.
“They send out the wrong message and are in fact encouraging abuse, sexism and misogyny,” Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, a charity working towards helping abused woman in northeast England, told the Sunderland Echo when they were reporting on an upcoming book burning of Fifty Shades on November 5.
Some would say that Ana’s need to be dominated by Christian Grey supports the sexist view society has on woman. It may be silent but its still there, the idea that woman should be seen and not heard.
Also, that Ana and Christian’s relationship supports abuse.
There are others, like sex educator Tristan Taormino author of The Ultimate Guide to Kink, who dislike the stigma that’s being put on alternative sex lifestyles. In a CBC news article, Taormino said, “While the books are fiction, this explanation plays into stereotypical attitudes toward the alternative sex lifestyle.” Taormino is talking about the fact that Grey’s interest in bondage and spanking came from the consequence of being sexually abused as a child.
“There is an assumption that the reason he’s kinky is because he is damaged, because he had a rough childhood,” she says. “There’s this assumption that there’s this one-to-one correspondence, which in real life there isn’t.”
Fifty shades of Grey is not the first of its kind, there have been many erotic-romances to reach the top of the Times bestsellers list just not to the level of popularity that James has seen.
An article in the Bellingham Herald stated erotic-romance authors say, Fifty Shades is a beacon that has brought attention to their work, in much the same way J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series resuscitated the children’s category.