The problem with “these girls”

I hate to admit it but I caved to all the hype (with some nudging from friends) and decided to read (or rather attempt to read) “50 Shades of Grey”. While I can’t say I was as shocked as most people by the story (I really do use the word lightly as I could feel myself losing IQ points with every sentence), I was so irritated by yet another damsel hypnotised by a controlling narcissist.

I know the alarm bells should have been ringing in my head as soon as I heard comparisons being drawn to Twilight (another book I was coerced into reading and regret to this day). I thought however that I’d keep an open mind and this book may be different, which it was, the writing was even worse than Twilight, a feat I didn’t think possible, with exactly 5 lines of a story (this is no exaggeration, I know I’ve typed it up).

My problem with 50 Shades is not the BDSM, each to their own, but with Anastasia (way to ruin one of my top 10 girls names) Steele. As with Bella in Twilight, these girls start off as people I could like, going about things their own way but the minute some unfathomable “creature” comes about it’s all whininess and submission. Are they not even a little concerned about the stalkerish tendencies of these men, is it not just a little creepy that they are are around you at the drop of a hat and need to know what you’re doing at every second of every day? Granted when it comes to relationships, I’m on the other extreme of this scale, so this may annoy me more than the average woman but come on, this is not normal!

This brings me to the next aspect of these books that concerns me, the women singing songs of praise at book clubs around the world. By doing so, are you not feeding the belief that woman are a submissive gender that can be controlled by nothing more than good looks and sex? Yet these same woman will complain about gender discrimination in an instant – you are contradicting yourselves! Also, what are you teaching young girls (with Twilight not 50 Shades, or at least I hope not), that it’s alright for a man to be in total control of you and for you to succumb to his every need while ignoring your dreams and ambitions. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going all feminist, burn my bra on you, I do hold some very traditional views when it comes relationships, all I’m saying is the problem with “these girls” is that they support gender stereotyping and don’t really have much of a backbone which is something we should be shunning not encouraging.

Finally, if I have to hear “Naz just give it try. Read the book and you’ll be surprised, you’ll really enjoy it.” the next time a hyped up book like this is released, it may be grounds for termination of friendship. Just leave me to my “A Song of Ice and Fire”!

“Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.” ~ Andre Gide

8 thoughts on “The problem with “these girls”

  1. I tried the book too…just to prove to myself that its really all just hype about nothing. The thing is I couldn’t comment credibly about the book without reading it first. I got about 90 pages in, read the first sex scene and realised my time wasn’t worth it.

    The book just fuels most women’s fairytale fantasy where a rich man (prince) is so captured by you (princess) that you can’t help but fall for him (happily ever after). Add copy-paste sex scenes (modern day fairytale) to arouse women who’ve never read erotica before and you have a best seller.

    • To be honest, I haven’t finished the book either, I got to about page 250. I usually always finish reading every book I start just because I need to know how it ends but after a while I figured there was no story here and had no qualms about quitting.

      I hear you on the fairytale bits, I guess I just hoped we’d have realised by now that fairytales don’t exist.

  2. Listen, Ana and Bella will never be up for any “Empowering Women Leaders of Tomorrow” prizes anytime soon, they’re no Katniss after all.

    As someone who read both books and enjoyed them for different reasons (no eye rolling pleasse), I will admit the female leads annoyed me…like you touched on, they lacked some backbone. However, the popularity of both books has little to do with the women, the way I see it and more to do with the male roles…and it has nothing to do with how controlling the men are either (geesh, who wants to be told what to do like a 3 year old *Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

    No, what women love about both these books…that has led to their worldwide fame and appeal is the unashamed, unwavering intensity with which the male lead falls for Ana/Bella. In a world filled with 72 day marriages and a fickleness so strong it practically single-handedly fuels the publishing world, what women yearn for is the kind of unwavering dedication from a lover/spouse that will stand the test of time.

    That’s what these books ultimately sell.

    As to why the female love interest has to lose her self, life goals and general sense of maturity and independence to nab a man like this….well, I blame Hollywood #ThatIsAll

    • I will withhold judgement on your enjoyment of both books.

      The part that doesn’t add for me is the longing for intensity that you speak of while mentioning that it has nothing to do with how controlling these men are. To me these two go hand in hand, a big part of that intensity is the controlling aspect (e.g. Christian / Edward showing up unannounced at some of the strangest places for a simple reason like “I could not get hold of you”). I guess I could understand the attraction of unwavering dedication to some extent but the way that it’s portrayed in these books is that of an unhealthy kind and one that I can’t quite get the appeal of.

  3. Brilliant !!! My sentiments exactly 😄
    You know my feelings on the “book” with my limited reading time now allowed by my 2 adorable “brats” I need to spend the time on quality and not fluff. I need a book with a story more then 5 lines :p

  4. Naz!!! Thank u so much! seriously thank u for helping voice a long held belief of mine that just because the majority believes something, doesnt make it true, or smart or right! the more i find that unintelligent, uninspired and derivative “writing” like this becomes accepted as classic modern literature, the more my heart aches for true greats like Harper Lee, Jane Austen, the Brontes, honestly even Tolkien and JK Rowling. At least the hype around Tolkien and Rowling was justified for the richness of their characters and depth of their imagination and creativity.

    The less said about Anastasia “bite-my-lip” Steele, the better. Rather it is the romanticising of the Christian Grey character that leaves me flabbergasted. seriously? wtf? So what? He is gorgeous and has the body of an Adonis. But as far as I can tell, that is all there is to him. He is not a hero. He is not even an anti-hero ala Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), that other emotionally abusive yet truly depthful romantic character. Grey’s character development is….oh wait there is no character development. He admits to being “fifty shades of f*cked up” – doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. But for someone who claims to be truly tortured and beyond redemption, he seems to compromise on his supposed “unwavering” rules pretty quick, taking her virginity, allowing her to stay over, telling her he would “try” for her. How very hardcore! hmph.

    Speaking of hardcore, i have read more inspired erotica in the thousands of formulaic dime store paperback romance novels that get churned out each year. Also, if you have read Lady Chatterly’s lover, u would undertand what true, nuanced, but also shocking (in a completely different way) erotica really is. I agree with u on the BDSM aspects, to each his own – but (and i plead the fifth on how i know this) the descriptions in Fifty Shades are not BDSM, not even close. As far as I can tell, the writer’s own experiences with sex, sexuality and passion must have been pretty tame. Her “writing” is extremely cliched, steeped in naivete and riddled with emotional and sexual inconsistencies. In addition, she can never quite capture the emotional angst , intimacy and and intensity of truly meaningful sexual encounters. It is more like a teenager writing about what she thinks sex would be like!

    Hmm….think i may have gotten carried away a bit….i have so much more to say, but i will wait for a few responses….in the meantime i need to resign myself to the fact that in a moment of utter madness i bought the trilogy, so i now have the second and third books gathering dust on my bookshelf, because i refuse any further assualt on my literary senses….. i would rather read an Archie comic!!! Even Betty Cooper has more self-respect than Ana … or Bella (but I will reserve my Twilight views for another day)…….

    • Farz, I couldn’t agree with you more! It makes me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one confused by the whirlwind created with these books.

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