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50 Shades of Grey

What REALLY bothers you most about 50SoG?


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    13

Rudolph Quin

Mistaken for some sort of scoundrel
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So, I just read a rant by someone going through a detailed account of why the book doesn't represent a "real" BDSM relationship as if it were supposed to be a biographical account. Yeah, and "Fight Club" wasn't an accurate account of people with DID either. It's just a story, in my opinion, portraying something that commonly happens - a man taking on the title of "Dom" when he doesn't deserve it. Just because Christian Grey says he's introducing Ana to the lifestyle does not mean that the book is trying to portray an accurate account of it. It is telling the story of a virginal girl being victimized.

What is your opinion on the book 50 Shades of Grey and the supposed "glamorization" of violence against women? What is your opinion of fiction in the world today and people's right to write their own stories, about good characters, about bad characters and about unsavory topics putting their own perspective and slant on it? Should we socially or politically police/censor/demonize these people's right to write stories even if stupid people may be influenced inappropriately? Please, before you state your opinion or go off on a rant, state whether you've read the book or not.

This was posted on Tumblr by user akairiot and it sums up my viewpoints on this subject perfectly. It is okay to dislike 50 Shades of Grey or any other work of art or media or fiction. It is not okay to tell me what I should be allowed to do because you think you know better or you wish to protect me.

There’s a certain attitude that scares the shit out of me – let’s call it destructive sensitivity. It’s the philosophy that, if an idea is uncomfortable, it needs to go away. If an image upsets you, or reminds you of a bad experience you had, then not only should you not have to look at it, no one should be allowed to look at it. And if you can’t eradicate it completely, it should at least be buried so deep that a casual viewer would never stumble upon it. This kind of censorship is nothing new, but I feel like it’s becoming more and more common. So, why do I think it’s a problem?

FICTION

An important question we need to ask ourselves first is, what is the purpose of media, and particularly of fiction? Why do we read, why do we look at artwork, why do we watch movies? To only see happy things? As escapism? That’s certainly a valid interpretation, but it’s not the only one.

For the artist or creator, fiction can be a way to communicate the inner self to the outer world, through the use of symbols. It’s a means of expression. What they express might be deep, might be simple, might be beautiful or disgusting, might be for a niche audience or the whole world, but in the end, it is the artist taking pieces of their own experience and creating something new.

For the viewer, fiction is a way to understand things that are outside their experience, and a way to expand their experience safely. Fiction allows us to go places and do things that we can’t or wouldn’t in our own lives, without risk, without physical harm, and without causing harm to others. Fiction can teach us what we fear, what we love, what we’re missing. It can show us how others live, how others see us, how we see ourselves, and we’re free to engage with it as shallowly or as deeply as we want.

But fiction is not equal to reality. Watching Friday the 13th doesn’t make you a murderer, and it doesn’t kill you. Reading Lolita doesn’t make you a pedophile. Writing a story where a character is raped is not the same as committing rape, and reading that story is not the same as being raped. Thought is not crime.

CENSORSHIP

Censorship is a way to force your interpretation of material on others, to reduce or destroy another’s experience by prejudging it as harmful to them. But part of becoming a well-rounded human being is accepting that not everyone has the same sensibilities, and not every experience needs to be positive.

What you find offensive, some might find enjoyable. What you find traumatic, some might see as an exercise in empathy, or a means of catharsis. Sad songs can be beautiful. Horror stories can be fun. When you decide to silence the things you don’t like, you’re cutting off others from that same experience. You’re making decisions for others, and you’re essentially saying that your feelings (and the feelings of people who agree with you) are more valid than anyone else’s. I find this darkly ironic, because the audience that holds these particular sensitivities also tends to be the first to champion acceptance and non-traditional viewpoints, while organizing witch hunts for those they feel disrespect them.

So, why is this important to me? Why does it scare me? Well, as an artist, the complaint of one sensitive viewer can erase my work in an instant. When complaints are made, content is removed first and questions are asked later. Artists are guilty by default, and viewers are treated as victims. No content host wants to be the one to stand up for freedom of expression at the risk of being seen as supporting offensive material. Most alarming of all, this is all seen as totally acceptable, or even justified. When an artist’s work is taken down, I see comments like, “Well, that’s the risk you take when you post stuff like that. Can’t be helped.” Even the people who disagree with censorship just shrug their shoulders.

SENSITIVITY

To those who are sensitive, I’m not trying to say, “just get over it”. Emotional hurt is real, traumatic experiences are real. I would never belittle someone else’s pain. But you have to realize as well that your experience is not the be-all, end-all of the world. Not all content is made with you in mind. It is inevitable, if we want to exist in a world with other people in it, that we’ll be exposed to things we don’t enjoy. The answer is not to destroy or degrade those things, but to try to understand them – and if that fails, at the very least, we can allow them to exist on equal terms. It is that frightening desire to homogenize the world, to eliminate that which we fail to understand or which causes us emotional distress, that can lead as to real prejudice, to real violence and real crime. Please understand that allowing content you dislike to exist is not the same as advocating it.

THE ANSWER

What I would love to see is a perspective shift. I want to see a world where responsibility is on the viewer, not the creator or the content host. If you have a problem with something, it’s up to you to not see it, not for the artist to hide it for you, or add unavoidable warnings that prejudge a work. I want a world where, rather than censorship by default, censorship is a conscious choice for those who want it. No work is hidden until a user hides it themselves. Artists are not punished for merely posting content that some find offensive, only for not tagging it correctly. Freedom of expression and variety of content is seen as more important than protecting viewers from fiction, from discomfort, from viewpoints that don’t mesh with their own.

Accept others. Take responsibility for yourself (and only yourself). Understand that not all content is meant for you. Understand that fiction is not crime, and fiction does not equate to real-world harm. That’s all I’m asking.
 

Cassandraks

Super-Earth
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
I have read a little bit of the first book, I think it was to the morning after she lost her virginity.

For me it isn't the BDSM side of it that bothers me, though hadn't gotten there yet, and who knows if I ever will. It is the writing, and Ana as a character herself. For me she is just to unrealistic, Christian he was ok but he fits the mold of so many other men in erotic stories so he just fell into that pile. For me a girl, who up to meeting him who doesn't want anything to do with any other guy ever suddenly is like yes please punish me. I don't know something about it just turned me off to it, there needed to be more depth to her.

The writing itself also wasn't wonderful, there were certain words being used repeatedly that every time I seen it I started to cringe. I can't remember what it was now, but it was one of those words not used in normal conversation, and felt thrown in to have a big word in there. For me to notice this is a big thing, because most things I read I can usually ignore stuff like this or typos or whatever.

I have read more than enough erotic romance that deserves more attention than this one, and I think that is the worst part about it for me.
 

Rudolph Quin

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Yeah. it was entertaining for an afternoon read but other than that, it's never one I'd own or desire to read again. I was just stumbling around Tumblr and found a rant posted by somebody who got real serious saying "OMG! THIS IS NOT A REAL PORTRAYAL OF A BDSM RELATIONSHIP! NOBODY BE FOOLED!" and they used examples from the book to illustrate their point in detail. And I was like "lolwut?"
 

Cassandraks

Super-Earth
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Rudolph Quin said:
Yeah. it was entertaining for an afternoon read but other than that, it's never one I'd own or desire to read again. I was just stumbling around Tumblr and found a rant posted by somebody who got real serious saying "OMG! THIS IS NOT A REAL PORTRAYAL OF A BDSM RELATIONSHIP! NOBODY BE FOOLED!" and they used examples from the book to illustrate their point in detail. And I was like "lolwut?"
Lol, yeah that I don't get. It's a book, it is fiction it doesn't have to be accurate. I don't read erotic romance because that is how things really are, I wish it was but I don't know. People always need something to whine about. :)
 

Ruphhausin

Supernova
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Actually, Rudolph, you are right. Anyone who takes it as seriously as the audience who are rabidly eating it up and ruining perfectly good relationships over fictional garbage perhaps should be careful who reads their words.

The problem is.. there are women out there doing that, and if they are not careful, they will find out just how not like the books REAL BDSM is.
 

darkangel76

.:The Vampiric Fae:.
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Why do you care?
I think this parallels the craze that occurred when Dan Brown's 'DaVinci Code' was released and everyone went nuts over it. It's just a different topic for a story is all. In Brown's novel, you had a guy decoding and deciphering puzzles that led him on a quest. It was fiction, intense, fun, exciting. But you had people on both ends of the spectrum claiming that Brown was spouting that his 'way' was truth when he wasn't even remotely doing that, likewise you had Catholics and other religious zealots freaking out that he was blasphemous when all he did was write a freakin' story. It's like, grow up people. Just read and escape the realities of life for a while. Sheesh. Learn the difference between real and imagined. Personally, I loved Brown's novel. It was amazing fiction. I haven't read the 'Grey' novels and really have no desire to. Though I can honestly say it has nothing to do with the hype or the disdain that's been buzzing about it. It's just not high on my priority list and not overly appealing to me as something I feel like reading. As such, I have no real opinion on it. However, I will say that people need to learn the difference between real and fiction and how to let go of certain things and just 'enjoy'. But that's just me. The books could be great, they could suck... I don't know, I don't care. But the fact remains... people are spouting things on both ends of the spectrum that make themselves look like asses much like they did with Brown's novel. It makes you wonder if people ever learn from history or not....
 

Rudolph Quin

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darkangel76 said:
I think this parallels the craze that occurred when Dan Brown's 'DaVinci Code' was released and everyone went nuts over it. It's just a different topic for a story is all. In Brown's novel, you had a guy decoding and deciphering puzzles that led him on a quest. It was fiction, intense, fun, exciting. But you had people on both ends of the spectrum claiming that Brown was spouting that his 'way' was truth when he wasn't even remotely doing that, likewise you had Catholics and other religious zealots freaking out that he was blasphemous when all he did was write a freakin' story. It's like, grow up people. Just read and escape the realities of life for a while. Sheesh. Learn the difference between real and imagined. Personally, I loved Brown's novel. It was amazing fiction. I haven't read the 'Grey' novels and really have no desire to. Though I can honestly say it has nothing to do with the hype or the disdain that's been buzzing about it. It's just not high on my priority list and not overly appealing to me as something I feel like reading. As such, I have no real opinion on it. However, I will say that people need to learn the difference between real and fiction and how to let go of certain things and just 'enjoy'. But that's just me. The books could be great, they could suck... I don't know, I don't care. But the fact remains... people are spouting things on both ends of the spectrum that make themselves look like asses much like they did with Brown's novel. It makes you wonder if people ever learn from history or not....
Very well put, da. I remember those discussions about that book series as well. I think it's one of those things that 1. people are always looking for reasons to feel offended and 2. fiction speaks to us on a vulnerable level. Movies and novels and stuff like that will often be believed for the "facts" they present because of the way they are presented through storytelling. Some people are easily swayed.
 

Minako2012

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Aug 22, 2012
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I dislike that a pornographic novel is being treated as anything more than what it is. It isn't meant as anything but fantasies it's like those dime store romance novels. I checked the synopsis and went meh I'm gonna go read a good mystery novel.
 

Suspires

Planetoid
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
I read the first third-ish of the first book before I dropped it. No strong hate feelings, I just didn't really like any of the characters, and the smut wasn't moving me enough to keep going otherwise. (Not trying to be a snob, I promise I've read waaaay cheesier things.) The part that I read didn't seem to be dramatically more abusive or depressing in its portrayal of relationships than most other romance novels. This is, admittedly, not an awesome recommendation.

It did make a friend and I plan a new travel game, where you take a drink every time you see someone at the airport or on a plane with a copy. My favorite was the super-awkward conversation where the dude in the middle seat saw the lady in the aisle seat reading it, and started talking to her about how he and his wife loved it, and I sat in the window seat wondering where the day went wrong.

I think some of the wider media kerfluffle was about people getting surprised and upset that sometimes ladies like to touch themselves too. Which, I guess it's good that point got out there? But I look forward to living in the world where that's no longer news.
 

Hahvoc The Decepticon

Singularity
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Mar 4, 2009
I haven't read the books but I did hear about how in the books the author made a character of hers say that you couldn't get pregnant on your period.

That made me not want to read it. I can't stand that kind of stupidity.
 

Rudolph Quin

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Suspires said:
I think some of the wider media kerfluffle was about people getting surprised and upset that sometimes ladies like to touch themselves too. Which, I guess it's good that point got out there? But I look forward to living in the world where that's no longer news.
Yeah, it's a bit like the conservatives are still trying to catch up from the 1950s.

Hahvoc The Decepticon said:
I haven't read the books but I did hear about how in the books the author made a character of hers say that you couldn't get pregnant on your period.

That made me not want to read it. I can't stand that kind of stupidity.
Some women fantasize about abusive relationships, not out of a realistic desire to be in one but because of the way it's been glamorized on tv. I think that's what this was. A victimization fantasy told from the point of view of the victim(except, the victim had no redeeming or likable qualities whatsoever) and since Grey controlled Ana's "learning" process in regards to sex, I think it's plausible the misinformation was intentional to get what he wanted when he wanted. I don't understand people's "squick" reaction to the "tampon scene".
 

Ruphhausin

Supernova
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Jul 2, 2009
Rudolph, lilminx2, DA, Minako2012, Hahvoc... Everything you are saying is valid all at the same time.

Dan Brown was, however, with "Code", writing fiction knowing that all of what he was writing was total fiction and/or fabrication. Dan Brown was not trying to convince anyone of anything, nor was he trying to be controversial, in my humble opinion. Dan Brown was also trying to explain intricate things to those who repeatedly RUNNING AWAY WITH INTERPRETATIONS OF THINGS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MATTER. Not meaning to yell there, rather reminding all that Mr. Brown was writing fiction that was, in part, a total rebuttal of the very gross misinterpretations of "evidence" that spawned "factual books" in the 1970s such as "Chariots of the Gods" and all those ilk.. and yes, especially tripe like "The Jesus Party" and "Holy Blood, Holy Grail". Not getting religious, rather stating that Brown probably was laughing more at those who looked at it as a validation of that garbage than the religious leaders who tried to "rebut" him. But still, fantastic fiction.

The difference is that both "50 Shades" and the material it is inspired by, "Twilight" are "Mary Sue/Gary Stu 'fiction' " at its most horrendous. As someone who works in the publishing industry, I can say exactly what real writers think about BOTH, and that is that both writers (Stephanie Meyer and E. L. James) are writing for an audience they KNOW will take things too far. This has already spawned, in both cases, a cultish following that puts ANY AND ALL reasonable fanboy/fangirl behaviors of past contributions to the genres they have published in to infinitesimal shame.

The point is.. there are not people out there ending relationships or marriages over "my wife/husband isn't like "Buffy/Anita/Sookie"/"Angel/Jean-Claude/Micah/Nathanial/Bill" or anything like that. There ARE "fans" of both Twilight and 50 Shades out there like that, and that is the issue.
 

Hahvoc The Decepticon

Singularity
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Rudolph Quin said:
Suspires said:
I think some of the wider media kerfluffle was about people getting surprised and upset that sometimes ladies like to touch themselves too. Which, I guess it's good that point got out there? But I look forward to living in the world where that's no longer news.
Yeah, it's a bit like the conservatives are still trying to catch up from the 1950s.

Hahvoc The Decepticon said:
I haven't read the books but I did hear about how in the books the author made a character of hers say that you couldn't get pregnant on your period.

That made me not want to read it. I can't stand that kind of stupidity.
Some women fantasize about abusive relationships, not out of a realistic desire to be in one but because of the way it's been glamorized on tv. I think that's what this was. A victimization fantasy told from the point of view of the victim(except, the victim had no redeeming or likable qualities whatsoever) and since Grey controlled Ana's "learning" process in regards to sex, I think it's plausible the misinformation was intentional to get what he wanted when he wanted. I don't understand people's "squick" reaction to the "tampon scene".
It sounds like she believed it and that makes me facepalm.
 

__N o v i.S n o w

Supernova
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
I am yet another person who hasn't actually read the book. For one I haven't stumbled across it...and that was the main reason at first. However, when I heard the rumors of motels or hotels replacing the bible with 50 shades of grey I had to read something from it. On the internet I found several exerts and I was seriously turned off. The author had an atrocious writing style. It was like I was reading something from twilight but it was somehow for adults. Every line I couldn't help but nit pick everything that was flawed and how it could have been written better. That's no way to read a book. Never before had I been so turned off from an erotic novel like that... I really don't see what all the fuss was about. And never had I laughed so hard at an erotic novel before while reading it. >.<;
 

Ruphhausin

Supernova
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Jul 2, 2009
__N o v i.S n o w said:
I am yet another person who hasn't actually read the book. For one I haven't stumbled across it...and that was the main reason at first. However, when I heard the rumors of motels or hotels replacing the bible with 50 shades of grey I had to read something from it. On the internet I found several exerts and I was seriously turned off. The author had an atrocious writing style. It was like I was reading something from twilight but it was somehow for adults. Every line I couldn't help but nit pick everything that was flawed and how it could have been written better. That's no way to read a book. Never before had I been so turned off from an erotic novel like that... I really don't see what all the fuss was about. And never had I laughed so hard at an erotic novel before while reading it. >.<;


Again.. with what you said, you validated every single person ranting about why it should not have ever been published in the first place.
 

Minako2012

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__N o v i.S n o w said:
I am yet another person who hasn't actually read the book. For one I haven't stumbled across it...and that was the main reason at first. However, when I heard the rumors of motels or hotels replacing the bible with 50 shades of grey I had to read something from it. On the internet I found several exerts and I was seriously turned off. The author had an atrocious writing style. It was like I was reading something from twilight but it was somehow for adults. Every line I couldn't help but nit pick everything that was flawed and how it could have been written better. That's no way to read a book. Never before had I been so turned off from an erotic novel like that... I really don't see what all the fuss was about. And never had I laughed so hard at an erotic novel before while reading it. >.<;
According to Wikipedia 50 shades started out as a Twilight Fanfic that was too adult for Fanfition.net. Which means she looked at Twilight a romance novel aimed at tweens and thought to herself "This would be better with more BDSM"
 

__N o v i.S n o w

Supernova
Joined
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Minako2012 said:
__N o v i.S n o w said:
I am yet another person who hasn't actually read the book. For one I haven't stumbled across it...and that was the main reason at first. However, when I heard the rumors of motels or hotels replacing the bible with 50 shades of grey I had to read something from it. On the internet I found several exerts and I was seriously turned off. The author had an atrocious writing style. It was like I was reading something from twilight but it was somehow for adults. Every line I couldn't help but nit pick everything that was flawed and how it could have been written better. That's no way to read a book. Never before had I been so turned off from an erotic novel like that... I really don't see what all the fuss was about. And never had I laughed so hard at an erotic novel before while reading it. >.<;
According to Wikipedia 50 shades started out as a Twilight Fanfic that was too adult for Fanfition.net. Which means she looked at Twilight a romance novel aimed at tweens and thought to herself "This would be better with more BDSM"
lol...that's funny.

@Ruphhausin: I wish I could add more to my post but, seriously what more is there to discuss about it? I mean I could rag on the fact of how terrible the dialogue was....but, no need to get into that.
 

Ruphhausin

Supernova
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Minako2012 said:
According to Wikipedia 50 shades started out as a Twilight Fanfic that was too adult for Fanfition.net. Which means she looked at Twilight a romance novel aimed at tweens and thought to herself "This would be better with more BDSM"
Exactly.. there is nothing original about it. BOTH James and Meyer are writing from the aspect that real life abusive relationships are healthy. James is just attempting to use BDSM to validate it more by saying that is what BDSM is all about.. which only comes from a dissociative personality to start with.

__N o v i.S n o w said:
lol...that's funny.

@Ruphhausin: I wish I could add more to my post but, seriously what more is there to discuss about it? I mean I could rag on the fact of how terrible the dialogue was....but, no need to get into that.
You are right, and it is good you didn't.
 

Rudolph Quin

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Ruphhausin said:
Exactly.. there is nothing original about it. BOTH James and Meyer are writing from the aspect that real life abusive relationships are healthy. James is just attempting to use BDSM to validate it more by saying that is what BDSM is all about.. which only comes from a dissociative personality to start with.
I didn't get that at all from reading it. In fact that was the exact opposite point of this thread: the book wasn't trying to make a statement about anything, either healthy relationships or BDSM. It was just a poorly written, trashy, victim fantasy. Have you read the book?

Ruphhausin said:
which only comes from a dissociative personality to start with.
What are you talking about? Are you trying to say that the author has DID? I'm not defending the author but that seems like a really off-the-wall comment. What evidence do you have that makes you think that and how does it relate to dissociative identity disorder? In fact how does that relate to anything? Are you saying that people with DID write horrible porn?
 

Ruphhausin

Supernova
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Rudolph Quin said:
Ruphhausin said:
Exactly.. there is nothing original about it. BOTH James and Meyer are writing from the aspect that real life abusive relationships are healthy. James is just attempting to use BDSM to validate it more by saying that is what BDSM is all about.. which only comes from a dissociative personality to start with.
I didn't get that at all from reading it. In fact that was the exact opposite point of this thread: the book wasn't trying to make a statement about anything, either healthy relationships or BDSM. It was just a poorly written, trashy, victim fantasy. Have you read the book?
Considering you didn't read all of what I wrote in previous posts here, I will restate more simply.

Yes, I have. I have seen less blatant distortions away from healthy frames of mind in a Chick Tract.



Rudolph Quin said:
Ruphhausin said:
which only comes from a dissociative personality to start with.
What are you talking about? Are you trying to say that the author has DID? I'm not defending the author but that seems like a really off-the-wall comment. What evidence do you have that makes you think that and how does it relate to dissociative identity disorder? In fact how does that relate to anything? Are you saying that people with DID write horrible porn?
Considering how horrible the books really are, I would say people with DID like hers do. lol

Seriously, I think she does.
 

littlerooster

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Jun 13, 2013
I haven't read the whole book however I have been told enough about it by people who have read it to know it should be avoided. The novel is a commercialized or vanilla approach to a BDSM relationship/role play, much in the same way movies like Pretty Woman give a romanticized or mainstream view of prostitution and how Twilight de fanged the vampire legend. It seems to be that Christian Gray isn't a dominant at all in the kinky sense of the word but more a man who likes to have his way and the woman plays along because she likes him, not because she is a submissive as such. Another way of putting it would be that BDSM is as much a part of the story as the movie Titanic is about the ship. In other words BDSM is used as a device to propel the relationship, other than actually examining BDSM in it's own right.
 

Hahvoc The Decepticon

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Mar 4, 2009
You really can't lump Pretty Woman into the same category as either of those movies/books. At least, from my perspective. It may have given some "romanticized view" on prostitution, but the basis of it was that even if you are in the worst position of your life, things can get better just because of one encounter.
 

littlerooster

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Hahvoc The Decepticon said:
You really can't lump Pretty Woman into the same category as either of those movies/books. At least, from my perspective. It may have given some "romanticized view" on prostitution, but the basis of it was that even if you are in the worst position of your life, things can get better just because of one encounter.
I was more comparing the general theme of taking something dark like BDSM or prostitution and making it a romantic or mainstream concept. From my understanding of the Gray books at some point Christian Gray changes and the relationship becomes very conventional and vanilla, once again we see that romantic ideal playing out.

I find the idea of BDSM very romantic but I would write it in a manner truer to the BDSM kink.
 

Hahvoc The Decepticon

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I see it as, in the manner you described, as what "normal" people want it to be. "It's twisted and wrong!" So the progression of it moving "back" to a "Vanilla" relationship, means that it was just something to dip your toes into but not stay in, which is kind of an insult to people who are into that lifestyle for more than just "spicing things up."

I'm not saying you are insulting people such as that [myself included] just the description of the book series makes it seem like that was the author's intention.
 

littlerooster

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Yes, I think that is part of it, making something "twisted and wrong" a pathway to finding happiness, I think we also have to acknowledge that these themes and stories are aimed at women, that whole cliche of finding the right man and making him change with her love, it seems to be the underlying message in 50 Shades of Gray. You could say it is almost a Beauty and the Beast scenario.

As far as Pretty Woman goes, you get the Cinderella theme, the poor hooker happens to be in the right place and finds her Prince Charming.

Not sure about your last line, did you think I personally was trying to insult or was that just your wording?

In terms of the author aiming to insult, I think she wrote it as a joke, it started as fan fiction, the characters were the Twilight ones, she was just fantasizing in her way really, much the same as many of us do on this forum. Just like you have films that have a war setting but aren't really about war, she wrote a romance that has BDSM but in a very light way, the story isn't about BDSM, it is about their relationship.

Not saying that is right, just playing devil's advocate and speculating. I think it makes fun of the lifestyle as well and makes otherwise vanilla people want to explore it who have no business getting involved in it.
 
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