After discussing Fifty Shades of Grey further my inherent problems with the story are becoming more and more apparent. Instead of teaching all these women to be sexually experimental within the safety of their relationships, James is presenting us with Anastasia, who is willing to compromise her self-respect and push herself to please a man in the hopes that, by becoming sexually submissive, and allowing him to beat her he will in turn love her. What message does this send … sexually compromise yourself and put yourself in situations that you are not comfortable with in the hopes of being loved? I am an advocate of sexual expression and experimentation but it should be fully consensual and there shouldn’t be the fear of ‘if I say no he will leave me’ which is essentially the ultimatum hanging over Anastasias head in Fifty shades.
Then there is the female mentality of no matter how damaged a man if a woman loves him enough then she can ‘save him’. I’m sorry to burst any bubbles but this is not the reality of life. No one should enter into a relationship ‘thinking they would be perfect if I could change them’ this isn’t realistic or achievable. You cannot force someone to change, and some people cannot change. Anastasia seems to think that her love and sexual submission will cure Christian of what she considers to be his ‘sexual perversions’ her naivety is suitable to her character but ultimately all the readers know that this illusion will come true. Perhaps this is what is so appealing to all the readers, although Fifty Shades is set in reality, it is actually fantasy. The fantasy that women can create and have their perfect man, that their mothering instinct will be fulfilled by fixing said man of all his flaws and that actually the successful rich handsome man that could have any woman he wants, will choose the so called ugly duckling, is universal. I am not against this fantasy, I love a happy ending, my fear comes when a piece of literature or film becomes so influential that the lines get blurred. Sales of bondage parafinalia has risen by huge amounts, once again this is fine if it is because these books have given women the confidence to explore their own sexuality. However, it is more likely that they are trying bondage because of a pressure to do so, which is completely wrong. Interestingly I was reading the Sunday secrets on Postsecret and one of them simply said ‘Reading 50 Shades of Grey made me realize most of my sexual fantasies coincide with Christian’s. And I’ll never be able to tell anyone because the book has been pegged as perverted’. I think it is easy to forget the power of literature sometimes and although many have claimed Fifty Shades to have enlightened and freed women’s sexual freedom, it has also labeled those man and women with extreme BDSM fantasies as people who need to be cured.