We’ve spoken about this, and we’ve certainly all felt it, but the misconceptions regarding our favourite book is still rife and there seems to be no end in sight for people taking the plot scenes of FSOG out of context. I recently came across this British made FSOG documentary. Forty or so minutes of asking questions and getting answers (albeit heavily skewed ones for some parts) on the influences of FSOG. One of the things I find most amusing was that even the people who criticise the book seem to forget that it’s a work of FICTION – even they refer to the characters as though we are speaking about actual people which, at least in my mind, negates everything they seem to think they know about it. I enjoyed watching the clip, laughed at certain things and wanted to spank the screen in other instances. Tell me what you think if you can spare the time…
Firstly virtually the WHOLE documentary was about the sex in FSOG. When will everyone get over this? People in love have sex – it’s not new, it’s not unusual and it’s not the first book that deals with it!
Apparently this is why we love FSOG:
- Women are attracted to it because we all harbour secret fantasies of non-consensual sex
- As women we have so many responsibilities that we want to be dominated in the bedroom
- We all want to be looked after by a rich man
- Because it’s taboo
- The book acts as a boyfriend substitute for single women and/or bored housewives
Picture me rolling my eyes…
Opinions from the “real” BDSM world says that it was a portrayal of the tools rather than the actions of the scene and that it was a very tame portrayal. I agree on this point, the true world of BDSM includes many facets that the book never touched on, especially the humiliation aspect, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s neither here nor there. Why does it matter if the book paints it in a slightly lighter shade?
The public view, on the other hand, was very critical of the BDSM aspect, branding it as perverted and completely disregarding the fact that it was consensual. What’s wrong with you, they ask, if you’re attracted to a man who wants to spank you? They completely missed Christian’s issue with touch – if he wanted to have sex (and we all know how insatiable he is 😉 ) he needed to be sure that his partner couldn’t touch him – the bondage presented a perfect, CONSENSUAL solution. He admits, later in the book, that it was only a means to an end. Insofar as the spanking goes he has issues with his past and his mother, working through his feelings of neglect and abuse but ultimately he was led into that lifestyle (which seemed perfect to him at the time) by Elena. From there it was all he knew and subsequently chose. It was virtually conditioned into him rather than an actual choice. Once he met Ana, not only was he prepared to change and compromise, but he found that her love healed him and, lucky her, she was left with all the fun kink and none of the heavy stuff.
The opinions on the contract and the rules were largely very negative. I can certainly understand that it’s not for everyone, but in the context of the book it goes to explaining what it means to be a submissive as well as to portray Christian’s underlying need for control. If you are gonna’ spank someone I think it’s a damn fine idea to get a picture of how far you could take it, not to mention the fact that it would make the submissive feel safe.
Another point that was made was that FSOG had undone years and years of feminist rights campaigns. This is something I’ve touched on, and in spite of personally believing that women should be treated as equals in the workplace as well as enjoy the same liberties and freedoms within society as men do, feminism is not all rosy. Please tell me what is wrong with a woman wanting a man who can take care of her and love her? It doesn’t make her useless, weak or stupid. Why is wanting that and feminism always mutually exclusive? One of the things I find most attractive about CG is his respect for Ana, the pride he takes in her intellectual success, the way he worships her body as though she is a gift, immeasurably precious to him. As a woman you’d have to be mad to think that’s repressive!
Lastly, comment was made on FSOG selling a lifestyle. The fact that they don’t drink champagne but Bollinger, they wear Calvin’s, he’s rich and gorgeous and she’s a virginal beauty etc. So what? What does Hollywood do with every movie and series? Women who wake up with a full face of make-up, not a hair out of place, not a smidgen of cellulite. Men who are fit and healthy and rich. It may not be reality but we (unfortunately) still have a long way to go before we’ll be able to embrace ourselves, warts and all. Nothing wrong with wanting to escape our lives (even if they are happy ones) and lose ourselves in a bit of fiction as long as you can separate what’s real from what’s not. If you enjoy it and it doesn’t make you feel like less of a person why not indulge in a little harmless fantasy where your bubbles cost $150.00 per bottle and your husband gives you an R8 for your birthday?
For me, the thing that irritated me most, was that no mention was made of the story – a strong, broken man that found redemption and healing, freedom even, in the love of a virtuous woman. A man that can admit to his mistakes, apologise for them, compromise, grow and adapt in spite of his fifty shades.
My question to the haters.. Are you blind??