Get Off the 50 Shades-Bashing Wagon

by Erika Torres

50 shades bashing pinLet me start by saying that I never finished the book, even though it was a book club selection, because I just couldn’t get through it, I found the writing that bad.

And I read the whole Twilight series so my expectations of decent reading material are pretty low.

Also? The main character really annoyed me. I consider myself a pretty strong assertive female, and the mouse-y type anti-heroine just wasn’t doing it for me.

That aside—I have been really bothered by the backlash on 50 Shades and I couldn’t quite place my finger on it until I came across this post on Facebook (because few things anger me more than a status update that I disagree with, amirite?)

 50 Shades

My response is the last one, and that’s when it suddenly clicked for me.

Yes, the book is horrible in that it really shouldn’t be categorized as literature. But could all the bashing possibly be because somehow men feel threatened by women sexually expressing themselves?

If you want to talk about how bad the writing is in this book and focus on that as to why you’re bashing it, that’s like talking about Debbie Does Dallas and chastising why it isn’t nominated for an Oscar. Are you freaking kidding me? Because let me break it down for you—that movie isn’t about the acting.

And 50 Shades isn’t about the writing.

And if you want to talk about how 50 Shades is glorifying abusive relationships, are you really going to fail to highlight an entire pornography industry that is catered to men and is set up to demean women?

The premise of 50 Shades is that it has helped many women sexually express themselves and reinvigorate their relationships in the bedroom. Whereas there are countless studies and statistics as to how the pornography industry has ruined marriages because men are cyber-satisfying themselves rather than turning to their wives.

How can we bemoan a book that many women have turned to as a way to help express themselves sexually while condoning an entire industry that demeans women a much a greater extent?

Why is that okay?

Is it our fear of female sexuality? Our puritanical background? Misogyny at its finest?

Men have their $97 billion global industry, let women have their weekend of fun without demeaning it because it makes you uncomfortable.



Sally February 17, 2015 - 1:44 pm

Nice! I agree with your comments 100%, even though I never read the book and have only a vague idea what the whole hubbub is about. But I love that you called someone out on Facebook with their lame comment!

Alexis Schroeder February 17, 2015 - 9:33 am

I am also sick of all the backlash and bashing the film is getting. My Facebook feed is filled with people against the movie because of what it is ‘promoting’.

Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank February 17, 2015 - 3:12 am

I haven’t watched the movie, but I have already read the book. Based on the book, I love how sexuality is presented but the book focuses on the needs and the totality of being a man. That being said, the interpretation may be different but the role of media is really important how they package 50 shades to its audience.

Jami February 13, 2015 - 9:32 am

I 100% agree with you! I have lots of thoughts on this, but I’ll leave it at that. You hit the nail on the head.

Shannon February 13, 2015 - 7:45 am

Preach it sister! I am really getting annoyed with all the bashing as well. While I want to respect other people opinion’s of the book, I can’t respect it when they haven’t even read any of the books. They just hear what others say and run with it. (And yes, horrible writing) What’s wrong with a romance novel that gets a bit more descriptive? If people aren’t comfortable with it, then don’t read it. What people don’t get is in no way does this man ever abuse this woman. She is annoyingly mouse-y, I agree. She gets better. But at the end of the day they are two consenting adults, who explore a sex life together, monogamously, safely and then fall in love. I’m enjoying this soap box with you:)

Mrs PoP February 12, 2015 - 5:48 pm

I can’t say if it was a good porno or not, since I have no basis of comparison there, but fine literature it definitely was not. I borrowed the audiobook from the library and listened to it while refinishing floors one weekend. Mr PoP caught parts with me and we both cracked up at how awful the writing was. So repetitive! And boring because of it! Couldn’t stomach the bad writing enough to care what happened to the characters in books 2 and 3, but we did make it all the way through book 1 to see what all the fuss was about.
If that’s what it takes for women in America to feel sexually liberated, well… more power to ’em. But maybe we should aim for some better writing between sex scenes next time too!

Mrs. Marriage & Money February 12, 2015 - 1:12 pm

Love this post Erica! I don’t understand what all the hooplah is about with 50 Shades – I mean yes, it’s full of sex but so are a lot of (bad) movies. I think you’re completely correct in assuming that most of the bad press it’s getting is from people who are a) uncomfortable with their & other’s sexuality and b) are not used to seeing women play a more sexualized role outside of the typical male-dominated films.


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