50 Shades of Grey Conspiracy Theory

I had to see what the fuss was all about, so today while the family and I were at Costco, I picked up one of their several hundred copies of 50 Shades of Grey, opened to the middle, and read three pages (the end of chapter 18 and the beginning of chapter 19).

Wow.  Everything I’ve heard about it seemed confirmed in just those three pages: an insecure, immature female narrator finds her security in submitting to a powerful man whose own stability is less than healthy.

So basically, it’s Twilight, except that the writing here is absolutely execrable.  I know we all make fun of Twilight, but Stephanie Meyer’s writing really isn’t awful, just servicable–it’s a plain, dull instrument, but at least it’s competent.

But E.L. James’s writing is so bad it’s scary.  I haven’t seen supposedly professional writing this bad since Eragon.  I read plenty of labored narration and stilted dialogue in just those three pages (“Holy cow!  I’m going to meet his parents!” sticks out in my memory right now), as well as botched metaphors and hilariously juvenile descriptions of sex.

It’s so wretched that I have to wonder if it’s on purpose.  Here’s my theory: 50 Shades of Grey was actually written by a group of misogynistic 12-year-old boys.  These jerks have a twisted plan: they want millions of women to fall in love with this stuff, identify with it, and publicly proclaim allegiance to it (a blockbuster movie is in the works).

Once stage one of the plot is complete, the boys will reveal their scheme to the world.  They wrote the book to embarrass women everywhere.  They want to confirm every pitiful anti-woman stereotype out there.  Fans of the book will be exposed as emotionally damaged, and women’s public image will be set back half a century.

So far, their plan is coming off without a hitch.

Be suspicious, ladies.  Be very suspicious.  I smell a trap.


6 comments on “50 Shades of Grey Conspiracy Theory

  1. Actually, the sex scenes represent the very best writing efforts of our misogynistic twelve-year-old boys. They worked really hard on that part.

  2. A wrinkle in the conspiracy theory: women found out the truth before the book went big, and all agreed to pretend to like it, documenting their deception beforehand. After the boys expose their sinister intent, women will release a statement to the effect of, “As if! You really thought women in real life could seriously like that crap? Your opinion of us is that low? Guess what, we’re the ones who tricked you! Get a life, losers!”

    For the good of humanity, I’m inclined to like this theory.

  3. What amazes and worries me about the overhyped popularity of this book is that if that is really what scores with women, then there is something very wrong about how our children are brought up.

    I agree about the quality of the writing, and that what it mostly evokes is a pubescent boy’s fantasy about that hot girl surrendering to him.

    There was an article a few years back in Newsweek (I have an idea how much you value these “lame-streamers”) about Mainstreaming of Pornography (If I messed up the link, I guess I can’t fix it…). It was actually a magazine article portraying a book (in 2008) about the issue; the guy had got the idea from her 6-year-old daughter, who wanted a Bratz pony doll or something. Those dolls &c. are very out there, if you ask me–Barbie is suddenly okay compared to those, and I didn’t even want to buy Barbies to my daughters.

    So in the book the guy tells how he’d found study after study about young people’s (teens and twentysomethings) attitudes. It seems that young women had got their sex ed from pornography, so they thought it’s okay if a guy forces himself onto a woman, themselves included. The sophomoric wet dream was being brainwashed into young women by mainstream culture, that actually turns out to endorse the porno attitude.

    Is it any surprise,then, that the people who plan ad campaigns for a lot of fashion items are made by guys for guys? And the guys in corporate management approve them, because they bring the sales. The odd woman in that world is by no means able to change the attitude of the frat guys.

    And here I’ve spent my fiftysomething years thinking that equality of all people is something we should be taking for granted, and it should be self-evident. Every single human should be equal, and people should be entitled to their fantasies, but they shouldn’t be able to force them onto a whole generation. Think of stuff like Mad Men. I haven’t seen a single episode, on principle, because of everything I’ve read about it from people whom I respect.

    Freedom means that some people will do things I wouldn’t do, and I would even consider them evil, but if they are only hurting themselves, I don’t want to force them. Freedom of speech means, that you are entitled to say anything you like But if it turns out you’re actually hurting other people in a concrete way (and not just causing discomfort by being way out there across the lines), I’d put my life on the line to defend your right to say it.

    So again one thing leads to another, and I seem to have written a comment that is longer than the OP. What does that say about me? :D

    P.S. As far as writing, deplorable. But what do you think of Martin Amis’s Lionel Asbo? Besides being mostly poor quality text, it’s also enforcing the same image, besides being racist as a whole…

    • @Velska, what amazes me is how you perceive it honourable to deem any admiration of abstract sexual behaviour as a sign of progressive mental degradation. Human beings are complicated creatures, and in correlation with that exploration of sexuality will be multi-factorial.

      I’ll try to condense it as much as I can.

      Fifty Shades Of Grey is a stochastically popular novel which derives its erotic themes from BDSM (although according to some practitioners, not 100% accurately.)

      Opinions (alike yours) are corrosive concerning the literary value (in pertinence to fanfiction and the novel Twilight), though negative opinions also delineate a discomfort for the books depictions in general (some even going as far to say it advocates violence against women, including you.)

      In regards to the second criticism, I think you need to adhere yourself to the nature of BDSM.

      Act of BDSM requires absolute trust between the dominate/dom/top and the submissive/sub/bottom. Absolute Trust. It’s not a thing of power. It’s a thing of trust.

      In contrast to the book, BDSM is regulated, consensual, harmless role-playing in which dominant roles are freely applicable to BOTH sexes (and in which both sexes indisputably enjoy.)

      Example, a dominant female partner in a BDSM relationship is a dominatrix.

      Hope I shed some light, and thanks for reading.

  4. @Jamie, I didn’t think I was saying that “any admiration of abstract sexual behaviour [is] a sign of progressive mental degradation”. I think said everyone’s entitled to have their own fantasies, but please try to keep the mainstream healthy.

    I have no problem with the book’s theme so much as the thought that its lame ideas can be so powerful. And that it is so popular with its twisted ideas. I do not think that there is a problem with BDSM or BDSM-fantasies. That can be a part of a very healthy sexual relationship.

    And, in contrast to the book, BDSM actually is very regulated. The couple agree on an expression that means “STOP”, and the whole thing depends on the trust that the other one stops then. And yes, you do describe it well above. It is harmless, because there are the real boundaries that both parties agree on. Every time somebody from that field is interviewed, they stress that nothing happens to you without your consent in BDSM. That is not how the book gives it.

    Now, what the book gives, for the part it deals with sex more or less non-allegorically, are actually soft rape fantasies. Or then I’m reading it wrong, and if so, I withdraw my criticism.

    But if I’m right about that, it means that it’s another forum for that same idea that is so prevalent in pornography: the woman who just can’t get enough, and if she says no, she just wants to be coy and make it more exciting for the guy. And although fantasies of even rape can be healthy, but I don’t think you have a public arena where most women, let alone men, can have a kind of adult discussion about it that is important. Because most people call the sites where that can happen, porn sites. You see, they do usually have some porn, however soft, available.

    That is one reason there is so much more date rape than ever gets reported. Women get taught that idea that they’re always in the wrong, unless they stay home and only drink lemonade, and then when their date has raped them, they wonder, “where did I go too far?” And they end up sharing at least part of the blame. Because men are taught to think that when a woman says “NO”, she doesn’t really mean it.

    I guess that is to put it, again, somewhat extremely, but essentially right. And I don’t think that’s a healthy situation. About 75% of teenagers say they view pornography at least “occasionally”, and according to some studies, of the 16-25 group, between 80% and 90% say the same.

    I read my comment above, BTW, and I realise now it wasn’t very clear, and on the freedom of speech part, I actually left a critically important word spelled N-O-T out so that I was going to say, “…if you’re not actually hurting … I’d put my life on the line to defend your right [to the freedom of speech]”. Even speech can hurt people, and then one should consider changing your message.

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