50 Shades & Why Feminists Should Be Embracing It

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtI know, I know, are a few of you rolling your eyes at me? Perhaps it’s at the title, or perhaps because here is yet another blog post about those books.

But, you see I have found myself getting a little irritated of late. It’s been out at the cinema a couple of weeks, the press and bloggers alike have gone into a frenzy about Fifty Shades of Grey once more. Opinions are mixed (I am yet to make it to the cinema so I can’t comment on the film, only the books), but quite a lot of it derisory – with calls of abuse and more about the relationship between Ana and Christian. Sigh.

Here’s the thing. Are the books well written? No. They need to be seriously edited and many a time when I wanted to grab Ana’s ‘inner goddess’ and drown her in the toilet. Also there were times when I found Christian’s love for Ana so smothering I quite fancied drowning him too. Or maybe a gentle kick… somewhere less than savoury. But, do you know, I still couldn’t put them down. Do I think it’s abuse? No. I’d actually question who had the real control in the relationship – Ana or Christian?

However, perhaps that’s not the thing we should all be focusing on here. Let’s looks at it this way. They were written by a woman, a working mother, in her spare time. They started out their lives as FanFiction from another trilogy of books that captured everyone’s imaginations too. They were (originally) self published, something that authors were previously advised not to do if they wanted to be successful. They have made people the world over read, people who wouldn’t normally read, have read them. Even grandmothers. Ms James got grandmothers reading about kinky sex. Really think about that for a moment. Not only that, but she changed popular fiction. She popularised a whole genre of fiction that was never before mainstream. A genre that people would only dare read before in their bedrooms or on their kindles, is now on the shelves at Tesco. Again, think about that. She has made millions doing something that was originally just for fun.

All of this by a working Mum in a society that is seriously struggling to manage the demands of managing of work and parenthood. We all feel it whether you decide to work, not work, whatever. It is hard. But Ms James  has  now made enough money for that to never be a problem ever again for her family. A dream for most of us.

Whether you like the books or not. How the hell is that not bloody marvellous?

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4 thoughts on “50 Shades & Why Feminists Should Be Embracing It”

  1. I know i am going to provoke a response, but here is my pennies worth.

    1. Though I admite she has helped bring the genre out into mainstream, I disagree about grandmothers reading about kinky sex. I read some of the books my gran read and yes they didn’t go into quite as much detail, they did have quite a bit of hot sex scenes in it. Also before this, you had the good old bonkbusters by jilly cooper and jackie collins. I think james may have evolved a bit, but grandmothers were reading books with kinky bits in them before this.

    2. The working mother part. Ok, so she was a working mother, but a little research seems to indicate that is wasn’t as if she was working a low paid job. Yes, she has a family and granted balancing a family, work and writing is a tough gig, but for me the insperation will always be j k rowling. There is a woman who went on to be successful against all odds.

    The way in which these books have become successful is recolutionary but the book themselves are not. Its just my opinion though

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    At last, someone speaks some sense! I am sick to death of listening to the “it’s an abusive relationship”, “it’s condoning domestic abuse”. No it’s not. Not at all. It’s a story. A made up story. Yes, this kind of thing happens in real life, do they about the same thing at them?

    And I think EL James should be very proud of everything she has achieved. It’s Like a whole new concept of girl power!

  3. @Gemma go ahead I like debate 🙂 yes you have me on Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper – good point.

    No, she doesn’t have the same rags to riches story that Rowling has, but she is still a women’s success story and that can never be a bad thing.

    No the books are not revolutionary – but they still made a huge impact. There was something about them that captured people’s imaginations.

    @Beth thank you! 🙂 I agree it’s just a story. And she should definitely be massively proud of what she has achieved.

  4. I agree that a woman being successful is a great thing, when really it shouldn’t be. I think what perplexes me is the why it’s became successful. It started as fanfic but what was the trigger to make it the phenomenon it became?

    As for revolutionary, I meant the way in which it was published. The fact it was self published and based on fanfic. This was at the beginning of the ebook revolution.


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