Fifty Shades of Grey

Most of my friends and family know that I have a pretty strong view when it comes to women in society. It’s true, I do have quite a black and white view, but I’m told that most young people see the world this way. I would class myself as a feminist, however, this isn’t a word I like to brand around massively as it seems to have such strong negative connotations, I must ask why though?

So when I began reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (which, just so you know I have yet to work up the guts to finish) I had some strong views about the female protagonist’s behaviour. For those of you who haven’t read or heard what the book is about, which I’m sure is a very small minority, it centres around a guy, Christian Grey (essentially a control freak), installing a dominant/submissive relationship, Grey being the dominant and the female protagonist, Ana, being the submissive. You can see how even the wording of these roles got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up…

Christian Grey has Ana sign a contract that, although there are several arguments against this, basically means she signs away her freewill. The contract includes stipulations about what food she eats, clothes she wears and demeanour she must adhere to. The male character effectively completely controls the female character, not something I would like to install back into our modern day society!

This led to a rather impassioned conversation with a friend of mine about these roles and their part in society. My perspective was this: the book appears to glorify the dom/sub relationship and this sets a precedent for society and women who are reading this book. It lets men think that this is a role that women want to play. Yes, of course I understand that it may be the role that women do play and that some women do want to live their lives like this, however, it is definitely not for me. I’m not commenting on the sexual behaviour in the novel, but the way of life. It is the controlling nature of the male over the female in ALL aspects of her life that I struggle to overcome to read the book.

This is, of course, just my 5 cents. However, it does lead me onto wider, more pressing questions. I am lucky enough to have the choice of how I behave in relationships, however, some women, all around the world, do not have the same privilege. Basic equality between the sexes, I think, is a fundamental aspect to be addressed in any society. An influx of women, who some seem to forget are half the population, into a society as equals can surely only have beneficial consequences, not only in economic terms but their viewpoints could also prove to be assets to the community or country of which they are part of.