Even during the weeks leading up to the release of the pro-abusive relationship film, Fifty Shades of Grey, people around the country were wildly enthusiastic about the prospect of visually feasting on wholesome BDSM goodness as evidenced by near record breaking pre-sales.
Fast forward to today, and Fifty Shades of Grey has broken opening box office records with a whopping $90 million US debut.
For those unfamiliar with the history of the tale, it’s a fan fiction erotica of beloved franchise, Twilight. It became a New York Times bestseller after author E. L. James changed the name and species of her characters, rendering her as the will.i.am of the literary scene. Her success is due, in part, from appealing to the same demographic of the source material she was ripping off: undersexed divorced mothers.
In the story, Anastasia Steele, a virgin college senior (totally exists), falls for a successful, attractive 27 year old entrepreneur named Christian Grey after she interviews him. By some grace of God, instead of snorting cocaine off hookers, banging super models, or y’know, focusing on his company, Grey decides he’d rather corrupt Steele into a BDSM relationship. Because that’s what you do when you’re rich, young, and confronted with an insanely average woman.
To be fair, some critics were baffled that the fan fiction was nowhere near the quality of Twilight, but that’s akin to comparing gorilla afterbirth with orangutan afterbirth.
The fact that this story seems to glorify abusive relationships begs the question what it says about us. If E. L. James wants to cash in on her target audience again, then the next book should reveal Grey and Steele to be long lost siblings. You know what else would be fifty shades of grey, then? Their children’s chromosomes.
All of this writing and research on Fifty Shades has made me disappointed with myself. I’m sorry, Dad. To repent, I’ll perform a version of seppuku involving a colonoscopy and a trident that I’ve nicknamed “Christian Grey” for the sake of irony.