We’ve finished the first book, and now it’s time to look back. I’m going to keep this short, as it’s only the first book in the trilogy and I’m sure more infuriating things will get turned up once I’m done with all of them, so I’ll make one big post at the end, but for now I’d just like to talk about a few things.
I know that if you hate things, you’re supposed to just ignore them, especially when it comes to books and other kinds of media. I’ve had countless people ask me why I spend time reading these books if I hate them so much, why I can’t just leave them alone and let people like them if they want.
The answer is simple.
These books are dangerous.
I’m not saying we should burn them, because lord knows we don’t need book burnings in this day and age, and no one should ever be afraid to write a book because the public might not like it and might set fire to it.
What I am saying is that we should be very, very wary of them.
“But it’s just a book! It’s just for fun!”
If you really think that you can read a book and not have it directly affect the way you think and act in the real world, you’re lying. Or just sadly ignorant.
Books have the power to change the world. Books have the power to influence entire generations. Books can help prevent people from killing themselves, can help people feel less alone, can help people fall in love.
So no, this is not “just a book.” It’s a fucking Book. Capital B. And that is very scary.
This book tells you that if you love someone, you should try and change them, as well as fundamentally change who you are in order to be a better match for them.
This book tells you that it doesn’t matter what you want, if your partner wants something, you should just do it for them, even if it makes you uncomfortable or hurts you physically or emotionally.
This book tells you that men are better than women, that men should always pay for meals, should always drive.
This book tells you that women are property.
This book tells you that if you say no, to sex, to a date, to anything, it doesn’t mean anything.
This book tells you that women are weak. And often silly.
This book tells you that honesty and communication aren’t really necessary in a relationship, as long as you have great sex.
This book tells you that birth control is the sole province of the woman, and men can demand that their female partner take care of it because he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by condoms.
This book tells you that you should just accept gifts, even if you don’t want or need them.
This book tells you that stalking is okay, and is even romantic at times.
This book tells you that BDSM, and sometimes sex in general, is for the pleasure and benefit of the Dominant, not the submissive.
This book tells you that being intimidated and often terrified of the person you’re in a relationship with is okay, because you love them and you just have to deal with it.
I’m honestly trying to think of positive messages that this book is sending, and I can’t think of a single one.
I want to say that this book tells you that the Submissive in a BDSM relationship is the one with the power, but even though that’s stated explicitly, it is also contradicted so many times that I wonder why E.L. James even said it at all. It’s true that Ana has the power, but she refuses to use the power mostly because she’s so intimidated and scared of Christian, so it doesn’t even matter.
I guess this book tells you that love is…important? Or something? Which I guess is a kind of good message, but I hardly think love is more important than personal safety and happiness and ambition.
If you have an idea of a positive message that this book sends, please tell me, because I honestly can’t think of a single one, and I don’t like presenting completely one-sided opinions.
I will say that I was sucked into this book in some parts. When Christian rescued Ana when José was assaulting her, I was happy. Some parts of the sex scenes were exciting to read (although those parts were few and far between). I was sad about the break up at the end.
Is this book a fun, mindless thing to read? Sure.
Does that make it any less dangerous? No.
I’m not telling you to not read it. I’m not telling you that you’re a bad person if you enjoyed the book.
What I AM telling you is that regardless of your feelings towards the book, you should be aware of the extremely alarming and problematic elements that are scattered throughout this book like goose shit on a sidewalk (that is to say, it is everywhere and is really gross to step in).
Like I said, I will discuss this more at the end of Book Two, Fifty Shades Darker, and even more at the end of Book Three, Fifty Shades Freed.
Thanks for reading my liveblogs of this nightmare of a story. If you have any questions or comments, either leave them on this page, or use the Caitlin Liveblogs tumblr where you can ask questions either anonymously or through a tumblr account. If you disagree with me, please tell me! I would love to have a discussion with you. Or if you agree with me, also tell me!
Thank you to all my loyal readers who are awesome and comment and like all of these posts. Especially thanks to all the people who have followed me to this blog from Tumblr. You guys are awesome and it’s nice to know someone is out there reading my ramblings.
Be on the lookout for Fifty Shades Darker, Chapter 1 on Wednesday!
And now…I’m going to go have several beers. I think I earned them.