Friday, August 24, 2012

Fifty Shades of Charity

I've not read Fifty Shades of Grey, but I was tempted, merely to see what the fuss is about, especially given Martin Robbins' review on twitter: “combines the literary skill of a Dan Brown novel with the erotic appeal of a Dan Brown novel”. (It should be known I wanted to watch Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus for similar reasons. It didn't disappoint, but then, my expectations were never that high).

As well as it's bad writing, through the magic of twitter I also found out the Fifty Shades is bad in its depiction of BDSM. The main protagonist makes rookie mistakes (for example he uses cable ties which can cause nerve damage, turns out soft, thick rope's what people use). On top of that the main character is depicted as being psychologically sick. However, to quote from the linked article:

"BDSM, played in a safe and consensual manner, is not proof of mental or physical illness, essential badness or emotional damage from trauma or abusive parenting, and that people cannot – and should not – be treated to cure it.

All the work that has been done to establish that BDSM is not a pathological symptom, but one of a wide range of normative human erotic interests, is in danger of being undermined by the success of Fifty Shades. Let's hope we do not return to the days when people were discriminated against – losing children, property, jobs – for their interest in BDSM."

However, time is precious, and I simply haven't had enough of it to read a book I'm otherwise not interested in. But part of me wishes I had now, as Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, a charity for victims of domestic violence, sees the book as about"...a domestic violence perpetrator, taking someone who is less powerful, inexperienced, not entirely confident about the area of life she is being led into, and then spinning her a yarn. Then he starts doing absolutely horrific sexual things to her … He gradually moves her boundaries, normalising the violence against her. It's the whole mythology that women want to be hurt."

I would like to read the book and make up my own mind. The publisher says that all of the sex involved is consensual. Given it's the best selling book in British history, I would hope that it isn't popularising domestic violence.

Clare Phillipson has a right to voice her objections, but she is also objecting to library funds being used to pay for copies of the book. This is where she is crossing a line - the libraries are buying the books to meet demand (which I think is a good thing, it shows the libraries are getting used). By all means voice concerns, but don't stop other people reading the material.

She's also calling for a public book burning. This strikes me as plain daft - people would have to buy the book so as to own a copy to burn. This only helps the popularity and sales of Fifty Shades of Grey. On top of that, what good does book burning do? A better idea would be for her to encourage people who would otherwise have bought the book to get it from the library, and donate the difference to Wearside Women in Need. Because domestic violence is an issue that needs to be stopped, and funds help that. They're not on JustGiving, but if you like that idea, donate to Refuge instead (yes, I know men are victims of domestic abuse too, but Clare's raising awareness for a charity for women, and I want to match the cause as closely as possible).

Hell, even if you don't like the idea of burning books, just chuck in two quid any way. (If you're in the UK just text "BURN50 £2" to 70070).

If people want to experiment with BDSM, or anything else, so long as everyone involved is consenting and nobody comes to any harm, that's ok. But book burning just strikes me as perverse.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...