50 Shades of Grey has once again taken the world by storm. As a woman, I’m fine with that. That’s cool.
Some people are laughing at it, making lame jokes about it, and making sex dungeon and BDSM references while giggling profusely. I’m fine with that as well. Nothing wrong with a little joke about sex here and there. We’re adults after all.
But when you bring feminism into the picture, something is bound to go wrong.
Some people have decided to use 50 Shades of Grey as a tool to champion women’s rights. They’re saying that women shouldn’t be made fun of for what they like, that 50 Shades of Grey is a win for women, and that men who make fun of that are essentially male chauvanistic pigs that should know better.
These people also think that those who smirk and giggle at god-awful and cheesy quotes like “coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow” is offending every sister, mother, and daughter we know and have, and that we as a patriachal society are holding women back from connecting with their “inner goddesses”, the way Anastasia often does.
And if all of the above is true, then I too am a horrible, woman-hating, chauvanistic pig.
What people like them don’t get is that this isn’t about women’s rights. Sure, some women prefer some male dominance. Some women enjoy a little bondage, though that is a discussion better had behind closed doors with a sexual partner or loved one. But just because a movie has some handcuffs and a little spanking doesn’t mean that it should be a shining beacon of women’s rights, and just because a certain book or movie has tons of female fans doesn’t mean it should be considered a win for all women.
I am a woman, and I can’t stand Fifty Shades of Grey. I believe it is poorly written. I think that it is a sad imitation of good erotica, and that the people who read it can honestly do a lot better. And on some level, I believe it is a demeaning representation of womanhood — a story about a girl who needs a man’s control to feel empowered and reach her ‘inner goddess’ is not my idea of a feminist icon. I shiver to think about anyone who reads it believing that it will give some insight into what women want emotionally and sexually.
Still, I believe that people should be allowed to love Fifty Shades of Grey, just as much as I should be allowed to hate it. It’s the same for Twilight, Harry Potter, My Little Pony, and everything else under the sun. My opinion is, like opinions often are, a subjective one.
But if you want to talk about feminism, talk instead about being free to love anything you want, regardless of gender, without judgement or ridicule. If you want to talk about feminism, talk about gender equality. Talk about Bronies. Talk about boys who are made fun of in school because they watched an episode of Project Runway and loved it. Talk about the girl who whipped a guy’s ass at Call of Duty and got death threats on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
As much as I think that Fifty Shades of Grey sucks, I have friends who love it. That’s fine, I’m cool. I may tease them about it, but teasing them doesn’t mean that I judge their characters based on what I believe is poor taste. I may giggle at something written in the book, and wonder how on earth anyone could get turned on by it, but that doesn’t mean that I am condemning women against their right to be turned on at all.
Please, don’t make 50 Shades of Grey about feminism. Because it’s not.