Monday, February 20, 2017

Is This Real Life or is This Just Fantasy

I recently had the following exchange with a Facebook friend, because that stupid Trump/50 Shades of Grey meme is going around again (probably because of the release of Fifty Shades Darker in theaters if I had to guess.) The exchange really got under my skin (I took screenshots for crying out loud!) and I would like to talk about it, and exactly why I feel like the comparison between things Donald Trump has said and the things described in 50 Shades of Grey is complete and utter bullshit. 

Now before I really get started, I just want to clarify that this isn't really about Donald Trump, his words and prominence are merely the catalyst that brought this issue to the forefront of discussion. What this is about is the argument that reading about something in fiction, condones the actions in real life. And, well, that's just bullshit.

As I said in the exchange, the first problem with the comparison is that everything in 50 Shades is consensual. There is even a freaking contract involved, a contract that Ana was allowed to make changes to. That is written consent and she is free to leave at any point in time, and she does at the end of the first book. Now I realize that there are arguments for there being many issues with how healthy Christian and Ana's relationship is, but the fact of the matter is that she consents to everything they do because she wants to be with Christian. To argue that one persons consent (especially a fictional person) to those kinds of actions condones similar non-consensual actions is absurd and it borders on kink shaming. The Hunger Games was rather popular, but that doesn't mean we think it's okay to send eighteen kids into a dangerous arena to battle to the death simply for our entertainment, does it?

The second problem with my friend's argument is that it assumes that what one finds titillating in print or film, one would also be interested in experiencing in real life, and that's not always the case. I personally find FMF threesomes titillating, but have no interest in bringing another woman into the bedroom with my husband and me. It's fun to read about it, but I have no desire to experience it personally. And what woman hasn't at some point fantasized about a rich man or woman sweeping her off her feet to take care of her every need? Just because Christian adds whips and paddles to the equation doesn't change the overall fantasy all that much.

But the part of the argument that really grinds my gears is that it equates a character with no political aspirations with a man who represents all Americans as president. Let's be real here, if Christian Grey were to run for President, the likelihood of one of his former subs ignoring the NDA and telling her story to the press is pretty high. And the details of that story would likely give many people pause, make them reconsider whether or not Christian Grey is really president material. And even though many people would say that what consenting adults do behind closed doors doesn't matter, he'd probably lose the election, because that is not the kind of person we want representing us as a nation. But current Christian Grey isn't running for president. He's a private citizen engaging in consensual kink in the privacy of his own home. He also doesn't actually exist, in case you forgot.

So please, could we stop trotting this tired meme out every time there's a new 50 Shades of Grey movie release, acting as if the events in the books are at all comparable to the actions of a real life human being. - Katie 


  1. People are stupid.
    I'm glad you're around to tell them so.
    But in nicer words.

    1. I actually had to stop looking at my notifications for this discussion thread because if my friend turned around one more time to say that the consensual actions depicted in 50 Shades condone non-consensual actions from men in real life, I was going to flat out call her an idiot. I can't really stand arguing in circles like that. - Katie