One of the things I am most grateful to have received during my education at Oklahoma State University is the honed skill of analyzing media–from music to books–in a deeper social context than I ever anticipated. What seems to be on the surface is often an entirely different thing on another layer. A perfect example? Fifty Shades of Grey.
When I first read the trilogy, I was like any other house wife. I gobbled up the pages, reveling in Ana’s ability to turn Christian around, fascinated with the story and hoping, above all, to see the two of them together for eternity. They were perfect for each other…right? It took me a long time and a very objective take on the books to realize that I didn’t want them together because they were actually perfect for each other. Rather, I wanted Ana to stay with him because it’s what I might have done.
If I am being honest with myself, it’s the doormat in me saying “These books are fine. Ana’s a strong woman who puts her input into the relationship and Christian, while flawed, overcomes and heals from it because Ana stays by his side.”
How many times did I tell myself he would change? He’d do better next time? I was over-dramatic to feel the humiliation I did? He loved me and I loved him and that’s what mattered? Too many abusive relationships (all, that I’m aware of) end opposite the Fifty Shades of Grey finishing line. He doesn’t change. The problem worsens. She continues to blind herself.
Ultimately, I would have much preferred Ana be strong enough that when she said no in the first book, she’d have never looked back or given him another second thought except to keep herself moving forward. Domestic abuse, whether physical or emotion (or both) is no laughing matter and certainly shouldn’t be the source of multi-million dollar entertainment for the masses to swallow. Christian Grey manages to do both, and fans love him for it.
This subject has been slapping me in the face since a discussion in one of my Facebook groups a week ago, and I’m finally getting it out there because, well, someone has to say it. Fifty Shades isn’t necessarily an example of terrible writing, although there are certainly those who say so. Rather, it’s a terrible example of what a real love story should be and how a relationship should be.
Don’t ever accept being abused. Do not tell yourself he loves you deep down, even if he doesn’t show it. You are better than that. You are worth more. Don’t waste years, like I did. Don’t feed into the lies your partner (and you) tell yourself. You will find your real love, like I did. If you need help getting out, there are resources.
And to everyone who reads this, shares this, or listens: thank you. I love you all.
~*~ H ~*~