Ahh, once again, my internal rage has been lit — and push-ups, flutter kicks, squats, lunges and two orgasms simply haven’t put it out. There is little in this world that actually gnaws at my core like the yawping of feminists who speak loudly from their ladder that climbs towards The Glass Ceiling (a place at which they intend to arrive and so therefore, eventually arrive) and who declare that because I am a woman I am simply wrong if I enjoy/like/or otherwise appreciate anything that appears to butt up against their perception as to how a Modern Woman should act.
Forgive the previous somewhat ridiculous prose, but I’ve been reading F. Scott Fitzgerald this morning. and apparently THIS BOOK HAS INFILTRATED MY BRAIN AND I CAN NO LONGER THINK FOR MYSELF.
What has brought this on? Technically it started about a month ago while I was trolling on facebook and a sorority sister (OMG I WAS IN A SORORITY) wrote that she was reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I commented my approval and kind words of encouragement, as I think we all now know my love for Christian Grey. The conversation quickly turned to comments from others who declared Fifty Shades of Grey and its progeny to be the Demise of Feminism. Did I mention I went to a very political university where we’d often discuss International Policy over jungle juice? Somehow I managed to survive for four years with my wits about me.
But anyway, SO, there I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday and I see this Tweet from Salon:
OHMYFUCKINGGOD. NOT THIS AGAIN. AND SO HELP ME I WILL WRITE IN FUCKING SHOUTY CAPITALS. My inner goddess sat up, took notice and jumped up on her soapbox. My palm even started to twitch. I considered making a lemon martini just to have the satisfaction of throwing it on someone. Didn’t get those references? No? THEN READ THE FUCKING BOOKS. All of them.
I read the article and attempted to suppress my rage, but it kept bubbling to the surface. Seriously, this article is insinuating that banning books might be ok because women are too feeble minded to know what is appropriate and what is not in a relationship? SERIOUSLY?! Thinking so highly of womenkind – that’s so very feminist-like.
I didn’t read the Fifty Trilogy until this year, but let me tell you…when I was ages 18-24 I was binge drinking, eating terribly, making questionable choices regarding who I went home with, and putting up with awful treatment from some men. Why? Because frankly, that’s what some women do at those ages. It’s self-discovery, it’s COLLEGE. Is it right? Maybe not, but go poll 650 women aged 18-24 who haven’t read the books and I bet you the numbers would result in about the same statistics quoted in the study. I frankly can’t believe that we’re even having this conversation. Apparently women are so weak that a book is going to so influence their thoughts and ideas that they must immediately emulate them, forsaking all reason, logic or self. Just because it may affect some small group of women in that way doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy the story. Like I’m supposed to feel bad for liking and enjoying these books. Not happening.
Willing submission by a woman to a man, whether in the bedroom or out, does not mean that the woman has lost all power. In fact, it often means that she has all of the power. Power Exchange, as described in these books, in a trusted, safe, consensual relationship is a choice (and aren’t all feminists about embracing choices?!). Obviously when a power exchange is not consensual it’s called rape. and that’s not ok. Note: that doesn’t happen in the books. EVER. Also, I’m not preaching for men to rule the world and for women to stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Fuck all that noise. That’s not even remotely what I’m saying – and if you think it is, you clearly are reading with such a bias that all hope is lost anyway.
And let’s talk about Fifty Shades. Christian is admittedly fucked up. He says this over and over. He’s in his first real relationship – he has no idea what he’s doing and all of his previous experiences with women are those in which he is The Master Dominant. So, when he’s challenged by Ana – which she does quite frequently – he is confused and often reacts in his habitual ways. And some of those reactions are pretty crazy. BUT IF YOU READ MORE THAN THE FIRST FUCKING BOOK you’d see that his character starts to shift – he starts accepting and giving love and begins to transition into a more “normal” human being. But let’s not forget – Ana willingly submits to Christian. She makes a choice. Whether you agree with her choice or not, is your prerogative, but she MAKES A CHOICE. And they each affect and are affected by the other – they fall in love and make silly choices, which sometimes end poorly. I think the story is quite good. And apparently so did like 70 million other people.
The article suggests that parents and educators should speak with young people re: these topics and themes. I am wholeheartedly in favor of this type of communication and that relationship violence is bad. But I would hope that we analyze and discuss the types of issues in the Fifty Shades books the same way we analyze why Rosalind chose to dump Amory to marry for money. And, since I’m clearly on a Fitzgerald kick, I hope that we also talk about drunk driving, murder and adultery when we read about Jay Gatsby’s affair with Daisy.
Over all, let’s be clear minded, well read, smart women and just LET ME ENJOY MY MOTHERFUCKING NOVELS.