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Day: August 21, 2015

Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Friday, May 20, 2011 or “The Hero Portland Needs”

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Welcome, welcome, one and all, back to the nightmare tragedy that is this book.

Before we get started, I’ve got a link to share, courtesy of someone on Twitter who I’m so so sorry, I can’t remember your name. If you sent this to me, feel free to speak up in the comments and be like, “I SENT YOU THAT, YOU UNFEELING BITCH!”

In her article “Women, Know Your Place!”, writer Tracy Kuhn posits that criticism of E.L. James comes not from a place of rational thinking, but unbridled misogyny for misogyny’s sake:

Her books have turned everyone into a literary critic. Her readers (predominantly female) are called stupid or desperate. Her writing is picked apart, sentence by sentence. She’s torn apart on social media. It’s not bullying of course, it’s for our own good and it doesn’t count in this case because hey, most of us doing the attacking are women who are defending other women, so you can’t touch us. To do so would be to condone abuse, you animal!

Meanwhile we carry on going to see films and read books and watch television programmes that subliminally give out really damaging messages about women and use rape scenes again and again to move a plot forward, but again, who cares about those?

I’m sharing this article, this passage in particular, because it highlights a new resistance I’m seeing to criticism of media created and consumed by women. I’ve had a few vocal objectors on Twitter come to me with this very argument: how can you criticize Fifty Shades if you’re not criticizing everything else? Or if you’re consuming media that’s problematic in the first place? I find this attitude fairly comical; it’s like saying that you can’t know if you dislike broccoli until you’ve eaten every piece of broccoli ever grown. Or, you can’t say you dislike broccoli if you’re eating something that has broccoli in it, even if you pick it out and push it to the side.

All media is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages, because all life is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages. To suggest that E.L. James is being unfairly attacked simply because she wrote something women enjoy, and that her critics have no place in shaming her unless they somehow consume and dissect all media while at the same time shunning all media, leaves us with a catch-22 in which all criticism is effectively silenced in the name of haphazardly defined feminism.

This isn’t a new approach to silencing critics, and it came as no surprise to me that the last lines of the article read:

Have a look at yourselves before you make that next witty comment. And be nicer to each other.

Feminism Tip: your argument is fairly destroyed when you call upon other women to Be Nice, as the very concept of Be Nice is an ages old silencing technique brandished almost solely against women.

With that out of the way, onto the recap!

STATE OF THE TROUT: Links and Reminders and Stuff!

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Making a quick post here to let you know that another Grey recap is on the way. Summer is ending here in Michigan, and the fluctuating temperatures, combined with exhaustion from the conference last week, have made managing my Fibromyalgia symptoms a little more difficult. So thanks for being patient as you await recaps!

Call for your donations! A friend of a Trout Nation citizen has tragically lost her father. It was an unexpected death, so they’ve had no time to prepare for a burial or funeral or anything, and they need some help. If you’re the donating type, consider helping out if you can. 

Don’t forget your tissues! Tonight is #UglyCry with me, Bronwyn Green, and Jessica Jarman. We’re watching A Royal Affair starring Mads Mikkelsen. Fire that baby up at 9pm EST and weep along with us via the #UglyCry hashtag on Twitter. In the meantime, be sure to stay hydrated. You’re going to need it.