(Source: catleecious)

Fuck You, E.L. James


I considered the title of this piece for awhile. Too harsh? I wondered. Petty? Immature? Overboard, at the very least?

I really did think about it. The conclusion I came to, with every question I asked myself, was Nah.

I have too much I want to say to this woman – too many arguments, too many statistics, too many instances in which she promotes violence against women, and she wouldn’t listen to a word of it. She has proven, time and time again, that she just doesn’t give a shit, so why waste my breath? “Fuck you” covers everything quite nicely.

It’s not all I have to say, not by a long shot. Considering Ms. James’s attitude towards criticism or reason of any kind, though, I don’t really care if she hears it. She’d probably just block me on Twitter and then mock me with her willfully ignorant fans (wouldn’t be the first time she pulled that one).

So, no, whether or not this ignoramus ever heeds my words, or words of people like me, is not what matters to me. What matters to me are the scores of women who have been and will be adversely affected by all that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

It sure affected me – and not “down there,” either. As someone who’s spent the past four years trying to undo the damage done to me in an abusive relationship, I didn’t think a series of erotica would trigger me the way it did. I’d heard of it, from rave reviews by stupid people to the sensible ones citing it as bad Twilight fanfiction (which, simply put, it is). With the latter in mind, I thought the series would be a laugh, so I read it.

Now don’t get me wrong – some of it is a laugh, albeit an incredulous one. I mean, this is a bestselling author who doesn’t comprehend the definition of the word “subconscious”; that is some A-plus comedic shit right there.

The rest of it, though? Well, the rest of it is why I’m inviting Ms. James to go fuck herself.

The entire series is made up of rampant disrespect for BDSM, since the author’s portrayal of it isn’t how it works. Ever. At all. It took me ten minutes of research to deduce this, but I guess E.L. James was too busy being a scum-of-the-earth douchecanoe to trouble herself. Not surprising.

Within this literary labyrinth of misrepresented “kinky fuckery” lies the real gem of the series – romanticization of abuse. And here’s where I just can’t take it anymore.

I have been trying, so hard, to overcome what happened to me four years ago, and for what? So E.L. James and her squadron of misinformed fans can tell me that what happened to me was romantic? So I can relive my experience, my isolation, his possessiveness, jealousy, and control, in a story that’s being hailed as some great romance?

You know what’s not actually romantic, though, is when your boyfriend doesn’t tell you he’s going to fuck you and then he does it, anyway. When he coerces you into sexual activity without being honest about what, exactly, that will entail. When he says he doesn’t want you spending time with your male friends, when he says your female friends are a bad influence, when he gets mad at you for talking to your brothers. When he makes damn sure that no other man will come near you, be that man a friend, a classmate, a coworker. When he begs you not to leave him because he “needs” you, because he refuses to live without you – and you don’t want to stay, but you do because he’s manipulated you so much that you actually think he’d kill himself, and you don’t want that to be your fault. But everything’s already your fault, he makes sure of that – he says he’ll leave you if you get pregnant, that responsibility is on you, your body, he’s got nothing to do with it and you probably cheated on him, anyway. He gives you a sob story about his childhood that may or may not be true – either way, he’s only telling you so he can use it against you – so you’ll stay, so you’ll “fix” him, he fakes vulnerability so you trust him, and then he shatters that trust the first time you say no, when you tell him to stop, and he doesn’t listen. And he keeps not listening, every time.

All of this happens in Fifty Shades, not necessarily exact (Ana does not, for example, have brothers or any siblings in the series, but I digress). Regardless of spot-on similarities, this is what E.L. James is telling you to want. This is what I – an actual victim and survivor of abuse – am telling you to stay away from. This is not what love is; love has nothing to do with any of this.

This is the shit I had to relive while reading the series. Why didn’t I put it down? you might wonder. My answer: Because as soon as I realized what the fuck was up with these books, I couldn’t stop. I knew this was something important, because so many women were reading and praising it, when women deserve so much better than this. Because nobody, ever, deserves a love like Christian and Ana’s.

I watched the movie trailer when it was released, and that fucked with me, too; I’ve been in this numb, stagnant emotional state for days because of it. Because now this series is going to reach more people – it will tell more men to be dominant and possessive, it will tell more (heterosexual) women to be afraid of their partner, it will tell more women that this fear is desirable, that eliciting it means their partner loves them. It will tell more people more bullshit. It will hurt people.

This is the shit that’s in Fifty Shades. And not enough people are paying attention.

If you read the books or plan to see the movie, please, do so critically. Analyze your media. See what’s really there – it’s so fucking obvious, the manipulation, the abuse, the danger, but it’s apparently not obvious enough, considering the series’ following. Don’t be blind to what’s right there in front of you. Research the signs of abusive relationships; I promise you, you will find blatant instances of each and every one of them in Christian and Ana’s affair. Please do not shrug this off; it matters, so much, because so many women are already wishing they had a Christian Grey in their lives, and they have no idea what that really means. What it really means is everything I outlined a few paragraphs ago, in the details of my own abusive experience, and it doesn’t end there. That’s just one experience, from one person, and I didn’t even tell you everything.

And E.L. James doesn’t give a shit. She has been asked about people’s negative responses to her books, about its romanticization of domestic violence, and she shrugs it off. She claims it’s not true. She claims she’s helped women.

Women like me – women who have been hurt, women who see that hurt mirrored in the Fifty Shades trilogy – have a big fuckin’ bone to pick with that bullshit, as I’ve pretty well demonstrated here.

So. You know. I’ll apologize for my harsh tone when Ms. James apologizes to all the women she’s “helped.”

Because for all the women out there who say that the series has awakened them sexually and saved their relationships, that’s not my priority. I don’t give a fuck about your sex life. I care about the women who’ve been told they’re loved and cherished, and then gotten the shit beat out of them and think they deserve it, because that’s what they’re made to believe.

For all the women out there who need a sexual awakening, erotica’s been around since Ancient Greece. Stop telling abused women that their experience is/was ideal, and find something else to get off to.

Meanwhile, E.L. James can just keep acting like she’s in junior high and continue to talk about her enemies after she’s blocked them on Twitter. Perhaps someday I’ll just tweet a “Fuck you” to her; I’d like to join the “I’ve Been Ousted from This Bitch’s Social Media” club. Hashtag YOU GO, MARA WILSON.

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