That men just might be right.
You have heard this lament from men before. Normal, ordinary, "nice" guys complain that women always go for the wrong men. Women don't want men that will treat them well. They want very handsome men with money and it won't matter how those men treat them. In fact, they will come back for more even when men walk all over them.
Sound familiar? You know what it sounds like to me? Fifty Shades of Grey.
In Fifty Shades, Anastasia falls for a guy who really has no redeeming qualities other than his money, power, and good looks. Right from the beginning he is not kind to her. He does not appear to have anything in common with her. They seem to have no real basis of friendship upon which one might base a lasting relationship. What does he do to charm her? He does some male posturing. He buys her a first edition copy of her favorite book. He buys her a car. In other words, he throws his money around. He admits his attraction to her is because she's such a submissive little mouse, which would make her a perfect sub in his BDSM world. He is extremely controlling, trying to plan her life down to what she eats every day.
Christian Grey even warns Anastasia away. He tells her he's a messed up individual. He tells her not to fall for him. She still thinks she can make him love her. Rather than see his sociopathic tendencies from his bad childhood as something to avoid and be afraid of, she does the stereotypical female thing and tries to cure him with her love and sympathy.
I was so sure when I started the book that E.L. James must be a man.
This isn't even about the BDSM aspect of the relationship. If two consenting adults are into that, then it's no concern of mine. I suppose if there is anything to salvage in the erotic aspect of this book is that Ana does explore her sexuality a bit and is willing to test her limits of what she thinks is proper. She learns that she enjoys acts she would not have considered enjoyable. Dan Savage calls that being GGG - good giving and game. My problem is why Christian Grey is into this and why she submits. She doesn't have enough sense of self to know if BDSM is a kink she enjoys. She goes along with it because she can't say no to a guy who has serious mental issues and whose kink comes from a love of being abusive.
This book should be a warning sign for women to know what type of man to avoid. What scares me is that too many women - grown women who should know better - seem to idolize Christian Grey. They want him. They think he's the ultimate lover. Again, if you think that way because your kink is BDSM fine, but a guy can be into that and still be a decent person outside of the bedroom. Would you want to be with someone who couldn't even let you plan your own meals (and then force you to work out with a personal trainer) just because he was handsome and good in bed?
If that's what you think, you proved every misogynist in this world right. Women only care about looks and money and love it when men treat them badly. They will hang around and attempt to change even the most abusive of men.
I am told this book was based on some popular Twilight fanfiction. That sort of surprised me since I had thought that Twilight avoids sex due to having a Mormon author who is trying to fit some kind of Mormon morality code into a fantasy love story. It does make sense on some levels though. From all reviews I have read of Twilight, the vampire character is also manipulative and controlling. The female character is made to keep her place because if she rebels and tries to take any power, she just messes things up. What better way to be a jerk than to be able to suck all the blood from your body. "I will love you just because you're handsome and I'm grateful that you haven't bitten me." Yeah, that's a healthy relationship!
There is plenty of BDSM erotica on the market. The only reason Fifty Shades is so popular was because of the author's popularity as a fanfiction writer. If the book turns you on because you like this type of sex scene, please go out and read some books where the players are in a consensual, healthy, relationship.
Now please stop thinking of Christian Grey as your fantasy man and prove men wrong. We like men who treat us well, who have something real in common with us, and who let us be ourselves.