50 Shades of Lust?

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Well, I’ve just finished reading the most talked about book right now 50 Shades of Grey and I’m not sure whether I’m a lover or a hater. In theory I love the idea of erotic fiction, I mean I’m a regular reader of Lush Stories but that’s a whole other post. I guess I read it to see what all the fuss was about. Or not about to be perfectly honest. I struggled to read the book cover to cover for a few reasons. Let me enlighten you.

1. I found Ana’s innocence a little raw

Being a late bloomer myself I found many similarities between myself and the central character, Anastasia Steele. Perhaps one of the reasons I found her so annoying is because she was so much like me say two to three years ago. She’s a bit mystified by love, sex and what it all means. She’s overwhelmed. And so was I. She explores her feelings of love and lust and confuses the two. Yet I have to say the obsessive love she feels for Christian Grey is believable.

2. The traditional male and female roles bugged me

Christian Grey is the leader and Anastasia Steele is the follower. They are in a BDSM relationship (Christian is the Dominant and Anastasia is the Submissive) but I felt these roles, in and out of the bedroom, reflect the deep misogyny that is still embedded in society. Grey is a self-confessed control freak and a wealthy one at that. He is a successful entrepreneur and Anastasia is a literature student.

Would the book have been as successful if Anastasia were a successful businesswoman and Christian a bricklayer? Perhaps.

I guess the real question is do women just want to be rescued? Still? In 2012? I won’t say I wasn’t swept up in the plot, apart from the author’s repetitive use of “inner goddess” and “oh my” and “he touched my sex.” He touched your vagina, girl. Deal with it.

3. I’m a cynical 26-year-old 

Yes. Yes I am. I’ve been in love once and it was as intense and confusing as Christian and Anastasia. it was obsessive in many ways and I cut off from a few friends during the relationship. That was my own fault. But I have to say that I don’t believe that obsessive love or all consuming love really lasts. I think it washes over you. You fall deeply in love so quickly but then it just kind of fizzles out.

I’m not saying that the love I felt wasn’t real, I know it was, but I just don’t think one person can be your one and only. There are different types of love in this world and right now the love I feel from my platonic relationships is the real love I think I’ve always been searching for.

4. Thank god Ana doesn’t give up her job

As a feminist I would’ve promptly burnt my copy of 50 Shades of Grey had Ana quit her job and lived happily ever after being Grey’s sex slave. Okay that was a tad melodramatic. I probably would’ve just hurled the book across the room.

I think it’s so important for women to follow their passion and not to be become “the wife”… I have a real problem with gender roles, don’t I? Perhaps because I don’t fall in love with the gender, I fall in love with the person – this is probably why it bugs me so much. Sometimes it can be tiring for me when I think about it.

So with all that in mind I don’t think a work of fiction, like this, has ever left me feeling so conflicted. I think I love what 50 Shades could’ve been and I will search for something else similar to read. Our very own Whippersnapper tweeted me saying she thinks I will most definitely read the second novel, 50 Shades Darker, and you know what she’s probably right. Damn it.

Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? Why do you think it’s hit such a nerve with women?

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  • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog Tamsin Howse

    I haven’t read the book, but one thing that really stood out to me about this was that they have the same power balance in and out of the bedroom. I remember reading something by a psychologist once that indicated it is usually strong people who are submissive, and submissive people are dominant.

  • Whippersnapper

    I finished the series this weekend and I was SO EMBARASSED to be reading it in front of Mr W’s parents, especially when they asked me “what I was reading” and Mr W senior had read about it in the paper!

    I can’t explain why it sucked me in. It wasn’t well written, and the author has admitted that. I cringed at “oh my” and “inner goddess” – I wanted to reach through the pages and stomp all over those words!

    I think I was suckered in with the love story. Meanwhile, IAN SOMERHAULDER for Christian Grey when it becomes a movie. SO FREAKING HOT.

    • Rose Russo

      I’m going out to buy the sequels today *sigh* says it all really. I was SUCKED IN!!!

      Ian Somerhaulder is hot and should definitely be cast as Christian Grey!

  • AleceD

    I am glad you wrote this Rose. I am about 3/4 of the way through the book and I have to say, I expected to be much more gripped by it. It has taken me about 2 weeks to get this far into it which is highly unusual for me. Here are the things I didn’t like about it;

    – The use of sex in place of vagina really bothered me. It made me feel that vagina is not an ‘appropriate’ word and had to be made ‘nicer’ or less overt.
    – It worried me (on a feminist level) that women were finding this so panty droppingly (ha!) sexy. It’s one thing to be into BDSM and being a submissive in the bedroom but Christian actually treated her like a child outside of the bedroom. Are chicks really into that?
    – The writing/ editing is AWFUL!

    I am glad you said that you felt you were like that at Ana’s age because that was something that I couldn’t quite identify with. I kept thinking, surely a 22 year old woman would not be this naive?!?!? I asked my friends and they agreed so I’m glad to get another perspective on that.
    I probably will read the sequels, mainly because I’d already ordered them so I kinda have to now.

    I am kind of stumped as to why this has struck such a chord with women everywhere but I wonder if I hadn’t been told that it started out as Edward and Bella Twilight fan fiction, would I have enjoyed it more??

    Oh and I absolutely agree with Whippersnapper – Ian Somerhalder should definitely have this role, just can’t decide on an Ana.

    • Rose Russo

      Thanks for reading it AleceD!

      Christian does treat her like a child – I’ve never thought about it like that! He likes to control, that much is obvious but I just found both of them to be a bit naive. But then again I find myself naive at 26 and I think we will all be naive to a certain extent well into adulthood.

      She’s naive about love and sex. I lost my virginity at 22 so that’s why I felt similar to Ana and identified with her sexuality. Perhaps I can’t identify completely with Ana as I’d be in sexual relationships with women way before this as I’m bisexual but I’d never gone the whole way with a guy. It was an enlightening experience for me and definitely cemented the fact that I like men as well.

      Ian Somerhalder is Christian Grey absolutely!! I hope they don’t cast Bella and Edward….. I think unknowns would be better!

  • Rose Russo

    Thanks for reading it AleceD!

    Christian does treat her like a child – I’ve never thought about it like that! He likes to control, that much is obvious but I just found both of them to be a bit naive. But then again I find myself naive at 26 and I think we will all be naive to a certain extent well into adulthood.

    She’s naive about love and sex. I lost my virginity at 22 so that’s why I felt similar to Ana and identified with her sexuality. Perhaps I can’t identify completely with Ana as I’d be in sexual relationships with women way before this as I’m bisexual but I’d never gone the whole way with a guy. It was an enlightening experience for me and definitely cemented the fact that I like men as well.

    Ian Somerhalder is Christian Grey absolutely!! I hope they don’t cast Bella and Edward….. I think unknowns would be better!

  • t hernan

    This book was amazing.I can not tell you why i loved it so much ,i guess i was just drawned to it like you were.I wish there was a Christian out there for me.And i never read, go figure.

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