If Mr. Grey Asks to See You Now, Run Away. Fast

Guest ‘Rite: Bestselling novel-turned-recent movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” sells sexism along with smut


If chivalry is dead, so is feminism, and “Fifty Shades of Grey” proves it.

Third-wave feminism is the most current form of thinking for the feminist movement, and it seeks to broaden its goals past the want for basic human rights with which first-wave feminism concerned itself. These broadened goals include a push for the acceptance of homosexuals in both business and social situations and the deconstruction of assumed gender roles for both males and females.

Unfortunately, E.L. James’ commercial successes with her novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the sequels it spawned hint towards a shift in young adults’ mentalities towards male and female gender roles alike. Specifically, they have succeeded in romanticizing the very attributes that hinder any significant progress made towards true equality between men and women.

Christian Grey, the male love interest in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is described as the ultimate romantic hero with a few surprises. As evidenced by his obsession with BDSM, and his now infamous “Red Room,” he is a dominant, alpha male, risk-taker who always gets what he wants.

According to Ana, the novel’s female protagonist, Christian is fit, adventurous, powerful, potent and sexy as all get out. These qualities, especially those dealing with his aesthetically attractive features, contort Ana into an unquestioningly subservient being. A sample conversation of theirs captures the detrimental conclusions their relationship has led Ana to regarding her role in life.

[Ana] “You’re a sadist?”
“I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.
“What does that mean?” I whisper.
“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”
I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.
“Why would I do that?”
“To please me,” he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.
Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey.
And I realize, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation.

Romanticizing subservience will only worsen the problem of a male-dominated world.

Ana is nothing but ecstatic upon learning of her new placement in E.L. James’ glorified, violent extension of an already-entrenched patriarchy. Pleasing Christian Grey only seems to excite her, and as these thoughts enter her mind, any hope of genuine independence is lost. She now lives to please him, want him, care for him, cook for him, clean for him, bow before him, and satisfy him in any way he desires.

Rosie the Riveter’s bandana should not be used to tie her hands to a bedpost. Female oppression should not be turned into a sexual fetish. Yet the author only uses Ana’s slim, fragile body to increase the erotic nature of the dom-sub relationship. Ana’s “sacred temple,” to which she frequently refers, is being ransacked – not unlike Solomon’s Temple – and she surrenders herself voluntarily.

Nowhere is her continuing education mentioned; she supposedly attends college, but graduate school is but a distraction on her road towards voluntary, total submission. In a world where women currently hold only 4.6 percent of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, represent just 18-20 percent of all engineering students and make up 24.2 percent of all state legislators nationwide, it’s clear romanticizing subservience will only worsen the problem of a male-dominated world.

And this is how the apple of gradual economic and social independence gets poisoned.

Every single woman who believes Ana’s life is an adventurous, exciting and ultimately pleasurable one will forever conclude they must totally and completely submit to men to achieve satisfaction.

Obeying their significant other’s every whim and fetish, no matter how potentially dangerous or perverted, becomes an obligation women will eagerly carry out, if E.L. James’ pop culture fan fiction is to be believed.

Every single man who idolizes Christian Grey for his dominant and abusive behavior will only perpetuate his barbaric tendencies. Following Christian’s lead, those men will misguidedly attempt to diminish their partners, just as Christian diminishes Ana.

Realize, dear readers: a book’s message can damage a reader’s mind far more than its bad grammar ever will.

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