I have wanted to write something about the Fifty Shades trilogy for a while now, but as I haven’t read any of the books (nor do I intend reading them) I felt that should just ignore it. Not much gets on my nerves quite so much as someone expressing an opinion about a book I’ve read when they haven’t read it themselves (like the Harry Potter series is satanic, or The Shack is blasphemous). I even fleetingly considered reading the first book in order to validate having an opinion, but quite frankly I just don’t want this junk in my head. In this case I think I can make an exception and write this post without actually having read the books. I did have a look at some readings on Youtube, and while those of Ellen DeGeneres and Zack Galifianakis and Will Ferrell are pretty funny, as is the Jimmy Fallon Karaoke, some of them are just too much. This is really not something I would read for entertainment. Or for any other reason.
From the author’s website: 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. Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
So, the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L James is basically three books about BSDM: A combination of bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism. Now, I haven’t read the books, but I’ve read reviews and these books are strongly labelled as erotica. The difference between a romance novel and an erotic novel, is that a romance novel is about the love story (may or may not feature a love scene, usually quite tasteful as these things go) and that an erotic novel is about the sex scenes (may or may not feature a romantic storyline, usually quite weak). Fifty Shades of Grey is therefore erotica. Several reviews have made mention of the fact that no less than 75% is about the sexual acts that Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele carry out. Bottom line: It’s pornography. It’s no different than a man looking at dirty magazines or watching porn. Men are stimulated visually, women are stimulated mentally. If you wouldn’t want the man in your life to degrade women or cheapen your relationship by watching porn or reading dirty magazines, there is no way you can justify reading Fifty Shades.
Women who have read the books have told me that while the sexual stuff is very graphic, that it’s a really nice story if you can get past all that. I’m sorry, but I don’t get why you would want to assault your mind with graphic scenes of bondage, sadism and masochism, just so you can read a scant few paragraphs about “the beautiful story”. Apparently these books are not even well written from a literary perspective – which means, it’s trashy, poorly written erotica. I can’t see how anything good can come of reading these books. Like Tamara Lowe says, “It’s all designed to fill your head and waste your space until you’re dead”.
Now, I’m not saying that reading it makes you a bad person. I know several women whom I like and respect who have read these books – it doesn’t make them bad people, and I'm not judging them in any way. I am merely concerned over how popular this kind of material is becoming in this day and age. I believe that in reading this kind of material you are walking a fine line and toying with sin; Sinful thoughts, at the very least, and that’s dangerous. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). By repeatedly exposing yourselves to this kind of material, you also become desensitized to pornography. You’re filling your head with garbage, and romanticising it. The Bible clearly says “Therefore, putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with humility the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21), and “Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8) .
You need to listen to this podcast of The Mark Gungor Show (minute 24:00+). Mark Gungor is an unconventional pastor in the best possible way, best known for his marriage seminars (Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage). In the above podcast he, Diane Brierley and Ross Skorzewski are discussing the Fifty Shades phenomenon.
As Mark says, “The female culture has hit an all-time low; or an all-time high on the stupid scale”. Harsh words, but worth considering. This BSDM fantasy is being supported by women! Fifty Shades is a bestseller in every single bookstore I walk into, and has become so popular that a movie version is in the works. A movie version… you get that, right? Porn. Ladies, your defending of this “beautiful story” has led to the making of a film version – you can’t see this being a PG movie, can you? Pornography. Supported by women. Some women might say they are “enlightened” or “liberated”… I don’t buy it. What you are doing is cheapening yourself and trying to justify it. What has become of women fighting to not be degraded or objectified? We degrade and objectify women ourselves by supporting this garbage.
I'd like to conclude with a poem by this young girl speaking out against today's pop culture. So true.
Dear Pop Culture; Dear Pop Sensation,
I’m writing to you because your lies are so pervasive in this American generation.
Because listening to your lies was once my brain’s fixation.
But for years now, I have had the realization,
that your lyrics are an utter fabrication.
That you sing with the serpent’s tongue over this nation,
like lullabies in a dream-world destination,
contorting and distorting people’s imagination.
And with your control and manipulation,
we take in the sound waves that come to our radio station.
When you call us a superstar, we call it inspiration.
When you sing tolerance, we feel liberation.
When you dance and flaunt your body in a provocative presentation,
we accept it as entertainment without hesitation.
You take the human body in all it’s beauty and creation,
and present it like scum with unreserved humiliation
to a world obsessed with over-sexualization.
You say free-fall into temptation
and act as if there is no harm in the sex-game fixation.
You say get drunk at a party and stir up the flirtation,
enjoy the lit-up party scene saturation.
Be who you are and express your orientation.
The world is about you and your instant gratification.
You sing I’m on the edge of glory with your own glorification.
You fire up the feeling of victimization,
so that rebellion and revenge feel like the only justification,
and you so conveniently offer every emotional accommodation.
While we sit back and allow your perverted narration over our lives,
and let you control our destination,
your lyrics are like cancer, in need of radiation.
I have watched as the youth cry out and worship you in adoration,
with a crazy, obsessive, unhealthy fascination.
They look to you for confirmation and validation.
Because in reality, they’re yearning for a serious revelation
from the depths of despair, depression and frustration.
But they are jumping and taking rest on a sandy foundation,
because what you have to offer, is nothing with any legitimate explanation
about how the world works, or true love clarification.
What they need is an internal evaluation.
Because truly they search for a God who offers a heart-transformation.
And while you can do nothing about their messed-up situation,
my redeemer, named Jesus, offers redemption.
So listen to me, this is a hurt-people-hurt people duplication.
And you are only feeding them your puked-up desperation
twisted into lyrics and rhymes in a Hollywood location.
Here is my battle cry and declaration.
With God on my side, I will stand against the desensitization.
I’ll stand in the gap and let irritation be my motivation.
And though from where you're standing looks good from your calculations,
my God uses different equations.
He says, we’re all lost and in need of salvation.
He’s the author of true love and there’s no other replication.